Members of the Fort Huachuca community have noticed more bugle calls and alert testing over the past few weeks. The reason behind that extra noise is a future integration of two systems – the mass notification alert system and the historical bugle calls.
According to Lorraine Griffin, Directorate of Plans, Training, Mobilization and Security, or DPTMS, operation officer, the poles with loudspeakers attached, were originally implemented about eight years ago for the emergency alert system.
“We enhanced the capability of that current system to accommodate playing the bugle calls,” Griffin said.
She explained that the bugle calls are only being added to the outdoor poles, meaning that military personnel would hear the mass notification alert system inside buildings in case of an emergency, but not the bugle calls.
One of the main benefits of the integration is the cost-saving aspect, due to only having the expense of one system instead of two. However, Griffin explained that the bigger advantage is creating a more efficient system, by combining both capabilities together.
“The system enhancements and testing took place in two phases; the first phase consisting of a software upgrade and testing of each individual pole sounding off one to three times as it was being worked on. The second phase was last week when we tested the total system over a two-and-a-half day period where we let the system run all of the bugle calls through its scheduling cycle,” Griffin said.
In all, the DPTMS Operation Branch spent two weeks installing and validating the new enhancements. “All of the testing objectives have been reached, and the system is fully functional,” Griffith said. “During the entire process we followed a systematic approach which included new enhanced software, sound cards, a calendar scheduling feature and user training.”
There are about 50 sites on post that will only sound the mass notification alert system. The outdoor poles with speakers can be found scattered throughout the post. Some are located within or around housing areas. Griffin explained it is important for residents to understand that many of the poles existed long before the developments or construction expanded neighborhoods around the poles.
“Keep this in mind – when those poles were installed, they weren’t necessarily in housing areas,” she said.
This future integrated system is only one part of Fort Huachuca’s emergency notification process. The goal is to make sure a majority of the population is reached in case of an emergency.
Bugle Calls have rich, military history
Bugle calls have a rich military history. Before electronics, the bugler was the main messenger of communication and Soldiers needed to learn the significance of each call. As many as 10 calls were played on an average day.
The bugle was first used by the American Army during the Revolutionary War, but the calls evolved from French and English army influences.
Army branches each developed their own “sound signals” post-war. The infantry used drum beats while the cavalry and artillery used bugle calls.
All three branches sounded bugle calls by the end of the Civil War. A standardized system of calls eliminated confusion among troops. In 1867, Maj. Truman Seymour, 5th U.S. Artillery, prepared the set system of calls which is still in use today.
This system regulated the life of enlisted Soldiers. The calls signify the following: breakfast, dinner, and supper calls; fatigue call, drill call, stable and water calls, sick call and taps. A church call would be heard on Sundays.
The present-day “Taps” is a variation of a call used from 1835 to 1860 known as the “Scott Tattoo.” It was arranged by Union Brig. Gen. Daniel Butterfield during the Civil War. In 1862, Butterfield wanted to replace the “lights out” signal, which at the time was a French bugle call. Within months, both Union and Confederate forces began playing “Taps,” and it was officially recognized by the United States Army in 1874. The playing of “Taps” at military funerals did not become a standard until 1891.
An additional call includes “To the Colors,” which is a call to render honors to the nation when a band is not available, or when a ceremony requires rendering honors to the nation more than once. There are also bugle calls that will sound troops to attention, to carry on, to fall under arms at designated places without delay and to charge at the opposition.
(The main source of the information about bugle calls came from http://www.fas.org/man/dod-101/sys/land/bugle.htm_.)