Meteorological Observation

By Paul A. Roales

The Following Linked pages (see "My Additional Pages" near the bottom of this page) have been updated since January 1, 2011: On Feb. 15, 2011 I added a photo from a 1954 graduate (see #1A below) and an email & photo from a 1980 graduate (see #1D below). On March 3, 2011 I added an email from a June, 1975 Ft. Sill graduate. (see #1D below), on March 20, 2011 I added an email and picture from a 1969 Ft. Monmouth graduate (see #1C below), and some information on the "Viet Nam Mystery" (see #8 below). On November 15, 2011 I added an email and a photo from a 1955 graduate (see #1A below), an email from a 1981 graduate (see #1D below); and information on the closing of Fort Monmouth (below on this page). On December 1, 2011 I added two 1955 magazine pictures (see #1A below); and an email and picture from a Oct. 1957 graduate (see #1A below). On December 24, 2012 I added 2 emails from a Oct. 1952 and Nov. 1957 graduates. (see #1A below). On Feb. 11, 2013 I added two photos and an email from amother 1955 graduate. (see #1A below). On July 11, 2013 I added an email from a August, 1969 graduate. (see #1C below). On August 6, 2013 I added an email and photos from a Feb.-March, 1968 graduate. (see #1C below). On Nov. 10, 2013 I posted a 1959 class photo (see#1B below) and more Vietnam photos (see#8 below). On Jan 16, 2015 I posted a new message from a August, 1969 graduate (see #1C below). On Jan. 29, 2015 I posted a short note on the Vietnam page (see#8 below). On Jan. 29, 2015 I post a death notice (see #1B below).


On these pages I will document, to the best of my records and memory, the information I have on the now defunct US Army MOS of Meteorological Observer 93 E as offered at USASCS, Ft. Monmouth, NJ at the start of the Vietnam War. Since this is partly based upon memories there may be errors in it. I would appreciate hearing from anyone who can provide more information on the school, the instructors, or the classes. If you have any information you are willing to share or want to contact me for any reason please use this link: Paul Roales. (If your web browser is not configured to send E-mail, contact me via your regular E-mail program at
Be sure to check the links listed in "Additional Pages" near the bottom of this page. They are part of this study and will take you to information I have gathered on other students, postcards of the base, weather equiptment in use at that time, Army meteorologists during War (including the Indian Wars, World War 1, and Vietnam) and a detailed history of the Meteorology Schools in the Signal Corps.


In 1870, the Signal Corps established a congressionally mandated national weather service on November 1. And on November 8, the first "cautionary storm signal" is issued for Great Lakes shipping. Some Meteorology functions were removed from Signal Corps jurisdiction when the responsibility for civilian weather forecasts was transfered to the Weather Bureau (renamed the US Weather Bureau) when it was created in 1891 in the Department of Agriculture. The Signal Corps retained responsibility for military meteorology. In July 1937 the U.S. Army's weather support function was transferred from the Signal Corps to the Army Air Corps. But the Signal Corps retained R&D responsibility in Meteorology. In subsequent years the responsibility for military Meteorology gradually shifted to the Army Air Corps (later to become the USAF), the Navy and other civilian organizations. But the Signal Corps continued to have a Meteorological Observation School up until 1969. The MOS 93E school I attended and taught at Ft. Monmouth, NJ from 1963-1966 was the last link between the Signal Corps and Meteorology. After 100 years that link was finally broken when the school was moved to the Meteorology Division, Target Acquisition Department (TAD), US Army Field Artillery School (USAFAS) at Ft. Sill, OK in August, 1969 and reopened there in 1970.

According to John Fuller in "Thor's Legions" (American Meteorological Society, 1990, p. 374): "Through more than three decades following World War II, there flickered a faint flame of hope within certain elements and echelons of the Army, that the Army could furnish all the meteorological service it needed, not just that provided for in the (1937) joint resolution -- i.e., artillery, research and development, and soil trafficability and flood forecasting. That school of thought centered on the Department of the Army Staff and certain highly placed people in the Signal Corps. Indeed, the Army had a nucleus of people working in meteorology—more than twice as many as AWS (USAF Air Weather Service) had devoted exclusively to Army support! In 1968 approximately 3,000 men and women furnished weather support to the Army—some 1,100 Army people in 68 artillery meteorological sections, 900 from AWS, and the balance on staffs at various Army echelons devoted to training, combat studies, and research and development."

I believe that the "1,100 Army people in 68 artillery meteorological sections" mentioned above by Fuller were MOS 93F and the 1000 "balance on staffs at various Army echelons devoted to training, combat studies, and research and development" were MOS 93E. Most of the graduates of MOS 93E school at Ft. Monmouth were sent to R&D posts like Aberdeen Proving Grounds, Maryland; Dugway Proving Grounds, Utah; Ft. Huachuca, Az; White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico and etc.


Ft. Myer, VA: 1882-1886,
Camp McArthur, TX: 1918,
Texas A&M at College Station, TX: 1918,
Ft. Monmouth, NJ: 1920-1937 & 1950-1969.
For a more complete story of the US Army Signal Corps Meteorology Schools follow this LINK to my compilation history page.

The 1967 map on the left shows Meyer Hall, classrooms and barracks (in solid black) of the US Army Signal School at Fort Monmouth, New Jersey. The arrow points to the Upper Atmosphere classroom (Bldg. 200) and its three Radiosonde domes.


I enlisted in the US Army at the end of May, 1963 right out of High School. I was sent to Ft. Knox, KY for Basic Training and graduated from there on Aug, 2, 1963. I was then sent to the Meteorological Observer School (MOS 905.1) at Ft. Monmouth, NJ. I graduated first in my class at that school on Jan. 16, 1964. I was promoted to Pfc and sent to the The Instructor Training Course at Ft. Monmouth and graduated on May, 15, 1964. I was then assigned as an Instructor at the Meteorological Observer School with the MOS of 905.18 (when the Army changed the MOS's in early 1965 this became 93E2H). I instructed all phases of that school until I received an early discharge (with the Good Conduct Medal and the National Defense Service Medal) as a SP-5 on March 13, 1966 to attend college. I earned a BS and MS in Geology and went on to have a successful career in Oil and Gas Exploration. The image on the right shows me in March of 1964 during my Instructor training school.


The Meteorological Observation school was 19 weeks long. The first 6 weeks were on "Surface Observations", then 3 weeks of "Micro-meteorology" and finally 10 weeks of "High altitude Observations".
Surface Observations delt with the gathering and reporting of the normal measurments that all weathermen collect: Cloud type and cover; maximum, minimum and near-surface Temperature; Wind speed and direction; Relative Humidity; Barometric Pressure; Precipitation type and ammount; etc.
Micro-meteorology delt with the electronic measurment of those same parameters plus Incoming Solar Radiation at a very detailed scale in a local environment.
High altitude observations delt with the recording and reporting of high altitude wind speed and direction, temperature, humidity and barometric pressure by using PIBAL ballons and theodolites or RAWIN Radiosonde balloons and large dish radio direction finding receviers.

In the image below left my Mother and I stand between two of the surface observation instrument shelters and the portable tower used in Micro-meteorology is located behind us. This image was taken when my parents visited me at Ft. Monmouth in 1964. The image on the right below was taken when my sister visited me in 1965. It shows a weather instrument shelter and one of the Radiosonde "bubbles".

In the image on the left my Father and I stand next to the fiberglass bubble which housed the large dish radio direction finding recevier for tracking Radiosonde Balloons. In the background on the far right is the tent we occasionally used for generating hydrogen to inflate the balloons (most often we used tanks of helium). The image was taken in 1964.


I still have the Graduation Excercises Program from my class graduation on Jan. 16, 1964. It lists the "Meteorological Observation Course" graduates as: SP-4 Richard H. Mildenstein, Pfc. Roberta J. Loyd, Pvt. Larry J. Ehlers, Pvt. Roger D. Forbord, Pvt. Michael S. Kramer, Pvt. Thomas H. Miles Jr., Pvt. William G. Moss, Pvt. Paul A. Roales, Pvt. James O. Stivers Jr., and Pvt. Diana M. Winden.
Notice there were 2 women in a class of 10 graduates. Where are they now? Does anybody recognize a name?

On my postcard page (see link in "Additional Pages" below) I show the Main Gate, but we seldom used the Main gate. Instead we used the West gate next to the Signal School complex. Below are two photos of my parents and myself at the West gate of Ft. Monmouth taken in 1963.


Here are a few random things I remember about the school and events that occurred while I was at Ft. Monmouth, NJ.

During the High Altitude Observation part of the course we had night launch excersises. Normally a small battery powered light is attached to the PIBAL balloons to make them visible at night, but on occasion we would launch several PIBAL balloons tied together with a string and place three or four of those light on the string. In the air this showed up as 3 or 4 lights flying in formation. Often the prevailing winds would take this over heavily populated areas. When that happened we would always get reports of "flying saucers" seen flying in formation. We also put the lights inside the PIBAL balloons and created a very large glowing light "flying saucer".

Once the Micro-meteorology tower collapsed into a twisted broken mass (I don't remember why) and we had to get a replacement before we could teach that part of the school.

This was at the start of the Vietnam War, but all my military duties were in meteorology. However, once I was required to stand guard duty in dress uniform (with a loaded .45 automatic) at the door of a meeting room where a conference was being held for Government VIP's on the Vietnam War. I guess I was the only one they could find with a Secret clearance.

In August 1964 I was sent TDY to the Army Pictorial Center in Astoria, Long Island City, Queens, New York for 3 weeks to star in a training film on how to install charts, change ink cartridges, pens etc. on the Minneapolis-Honeywell electronic recorders we used in the Micro-meteorology phase of the course. The training films were released in June, 1965 and were called: "Meteorological Instruments, PT I--Potentiometer Type Recorders: TF 11-3533" and "Meteorological Instruments, PT II--Calibration Check of Potentiometer Type Rec: TF 11-3534". The Army declaired them obsolete in May 1993 after using them for 28 years. I never saw the finished training film, but the experience stuck with me. I had to put on make-up every morning for filming and follow direction very carefully in the repeated "takes". I also remember meeting Garry Moore (a TV show host from the 50's to the 70's) who was filming something for the Army while I was there. The Army Pictorial Center was moved in 1970 to Redstone Arsenal in Alabama. The old building in New York is still a studio and Sesame Street has been filmed there for the past seven seasons.

I remember taking several trips with the civilian Instructors on our days off. We went to the New York Worlds Fair in September 1964 (image on left shows the Unisphere from the Eastman Kodak Pavilion shortly after sunset) and to the Monmouth Horse Racing track another time.

The criminal Joe Valachi was held at Ft. Monmouth for protection when he turned states evidence against the mob before a Senate SubCommittee in September 1963. I remember taking a wrong turn on the base one day and coming across a sandbag bunker with soldiers with machine guns manning it. I had stumbled into the area where Valachi was being held.

When JFK was assassinated on Nov. 22, 1963, we were all put on Alert status, issued weapons and ammo and assigned to units. I was designated as a radio operater in my unit, even though I was being trained as a Meteorologist and knew very little about Radio receivers. There was a small cannon near the Main Gate. They fired that cannon once for each state, honoring the slain President.

The "in" spot to take friends and family visiting you from out of town was Asbury Park, NJ. It was quite a resort area right on the ocean. On the right is a photo of the pier and ocean at Asbury Park taken in 1963.

I was in New York City on the night of the great blackout (Nov. 9, 1965). I was in the Port-Authority Bus Terminal trying to get back to Ft. Monmouth. Everyone took it very well and you found yourself talking to other stranded travelers (something you seldom did in NY City).


Fort Monmouth was deactivated and offically closed on September 15, 2011. Below are a couple photos from the closing ceremony.


1) These pages contains most of the emails I have received from other graduates of the MOS 93E School. They discuss the school, other students and the instructors. There are several photos. The emails are on four pages.
A) This page covers those graduating in the first class through 1958.
B) This page covers those graduating in 1959 until my class (January, 1964).
C) To view the emails from people who graduated after my class go here.
D) To view the emails from people who graduated after the school left Ft. Monmouth go here.
2) I have a collection of Fort Monmouth vintage postcards and a few other photographs posted here.
3) For some information and pictures of the weather instruments of the Meteorology School follow this link to my equiptment page.
4) For a more complete story of the US Army Signal Corps Meteorology Schools follow this link to my compilation history page.
5) For my page on the Signal Corps meteorologists in World War 1 go here.
6) I have posted a page with 1920's school photos and information on TM-30 here.
7) Here is the story of a Signal Corps Meteorologist Medal of Honor winner.
8) And here is a page on Army Meteorologists and Vietnam.
9) Here is a page on Signal Corps Weather Observers in the Korean War.


1) Here is a web page for the US Army Signal Corps Museum at Fort Gordon, GA.
2) Robert Fulwiler's Holoman "metro rangers" web pages with several Ft. Monmouth photos can be accessed here.
3) A very detailed history of early Signal Corps meteorology is on this page from the National Weather Service.
4) If you want a description of the US Army MOS 93F (Field Artillery Meteorological Crew Member) currently being offered, go here .
5) Here is the Official US Army Field Artillery School Meteorological Branch Web Page. It has lots of military weather related links.
6) If you want a list of military Technical Manuals on Meteorology up to 1959, go here .


1) Air Weather Association (Air Force organization whose membership may include Army Weather Observers with service prior to 1948) is here .
2) Naval Weather Service Association (Navy) is here .
3) National Weather Association (Civilians) is here .

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I hope you have enjoyed my efforts. I want to extend thanks to everyone who provided information for this page. Feel free to email me with suggestions for improvements using the link in the center of the page. You can return to my HOMEPAGE HERE. You can access my other web pages from there.
Page and all contents copyright 2001 to 2015 by Paul A. Roales

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