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Cable Splicing School, 40th Signal Battalion, 160th Signal Group, 1st Signal Brigade, Vietnam

This is my 4th article on my experience in Vietnam. I have heard from some of you and I thank you for the email. I have added my home email address on the bottom of this article.Mike Massey and I flew from Qui Nhon to Long Binh to attend splicing school and earn the MOS 36E. On the flight to Tan Son Nhut AFB the C130 lost one engine so the plane landed at Cam Ranh Bay. We slept outside of the air terminal all night and made it to Long Binh the following day. This was a bit of excitement for 2 guys that had been in country for about 2 or 3 days.

The splicing school was good for what it was. The Army was behind Ma Bell in current splicing techniques but the instructors did well with what they had. I remember two instructors, Hurt and Raney. Sergeant Partain ran the school. I knew him for Fort Gordon. In 1977 I ran into him at Fort Gordon. He had retired from the Army and was a civilian splicer on that post.

The school lasted three weeks and nothing too eventful happened. I still remember the color code. I did go into Saigon with the duty driver for an afternoon. I had a good time just looking around. I think the driver's name was Bennet from Detroit.

The Army would remain short of cable splicers for the entire war. The Army had decided to install modern telephone switching offices but left in place an out of date outside plant doctrine. The Soldiers who would pay for this failure were by and large the cable splicers. More on this in future articles.

With splicing school over Mike Massey and I flew back to Company D, 40th Signal Battalion, in Qui Nhon.

Dr. Mike Copper retired from the U.S. Army in 1994. Dr. Copper has a Master's Degree in Data Communications and a Ph.D. in Computer Information Systems. Dr. Copper currently lives in Delray Beach, Florida. He can be reached at He has posted some pictures from this era at