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Archive for the ‘History’ Category

The GUHOR Stick!

Saturday, February 16th, 2019

GUHOR Stick? What the heck is a GUHOR Stick and what does it have to do with SSD? Well, as some of you may know, I spent the first half of my career in the Army MI business, primarily as a SIGINTer. Since the Army in its infinite wisdom decided to dismantle and then stovepipe its IW capability over the past 25 years, I feel it’s important to revisit the history of the SIGINT business as it is recreated in the form of Cyber Electro Magnetic Activities, or CEMA.

The GUHOR Stick is one of the most important tool ever invented for the traffic analyst (TA). Solutions to the most intricate communications networks often began with this simple device.

No self-respecting TA was ever without one close at hand. Like the six-shooter of the old West, the analyst kept it at his or her side, always ready to draw- circles, boxes, and lines.

The GUHOR Stick, in its most recent and best known iteration, is merely a 6? by 1.5? clear plastic template. Its prime purpose is to facilitate the drawing of communications diagrams, although its secondary uses are endless. It comes equipped with a large circle at one end to draw control terminals, a smaller circle at the other end for outstations, and a small rectangle in the center for communications relays and collective (CQ) calls. The straight edges are used to connect these stations and show communications paths. With this tool, a #2 pencil (with extra erasers), some graph paper, and several pencils of various colored leads, the analyst of old was fully prepared to face any communications adversary.

GUHOR Stick! But where did this strange name come from? Putting my analytical skills to work, I set out to research the issue. To my surprise, there was a higher than expected number of individuals who had heard the name. Most were seasoned veterans from a mixture of professions, including linguists, reporters, managers, executives, and, naturally, traffic analysts. But there was more than a little discussion about what this device was and where its name originated.

The early returns were mixed, however. I was still searching for the definitive word. It was at this point when I began to get responses from members of a Communications Analysis Association (CAA) interest group.  A number of seasoned veterans recounted their GUHOR experiences and, in a number of colorful responses, gave me what I believe to be the true scoop.

GUHOR Sticks as traffic analysis tools have been around for decades. Some CAA respondents remembered seeing or using them in one form or another from at least the early 1960s. Even so, a couple of questions remain unanswered. Who invented it?  Why was it given this curious name? Someone out there knows. If you can solve the mystery, we (Station HYPO) are ready to hear a good story.

All this discussion about GUHOR Sticks may be moot. These devices are few and far between these days. The GUHOR Stick does not have a federal stock number. They were made in batches at NSA by special order; however, they are fast becoming collector items. With the advent software, many analysts are using computer graphics to diagram their targets. The traditional circles and lines on paper are becoming passé. Most GUHOR Sticks that are found are being employed for many a sundry task-not for crafting the intricate networks of old, but for drawing nondescript lines and symbols unrelated to the trade of traffic analysis.

Those on field duty in the Pacific used a similar device which they called a “pooka-maker.” Pooka is a Hawaiian word for “hole.”

Source: NSA CRYTPOLOG July, 1994 (MDR Case #54778)

Edited by Mario Vulcano

To read more history, visit Station HYPO.

1981 Army Clothing History

Sunday, February 3rd, 2019

From the official US Army History Of 1981.

Clothing and Personal Equipment

The Army took several initiatives in fiscal year 1981 involving uniforms. Black shoulder marks were approved for wear by enlisted personnel in grade of corporal and higher; a maroon beret was authorized for wear by soldiers in airborne units; black braid was added to female officers’ green slacks; a black pullover wool sweater, approved last year, was fielded; a maternity uniform shirt was approved; and washable Army-green trousers with washable braid were approved.

The Army terminated the policy of granting exceptions to appearance standards based on religious beliefs for wearing beards, unshorn hair, turbans, or religious jewelry. This change followed a review of the effect of these exceptions on the soldier’s mission, health, and safety. Soldiers already in the Army may continue to enjoy the previously granted exceptions as long as they are otherwise eligible for service.

The temperate camouflage battle dress uniform (BDU) will be introduced as the Army’s field-garrison uniform on 1 October 1981. The BDU has a wood (forest like) color pattern, is infrared reflective, has reinforced elbows, knees, and seat, and is made with fabric that is 50-percent cotton and 50-percent nylon. The BDU includes a coat, hat, and trousers and represents the second phase of a multistage transition to all-camouflaged individual clothing and equipment. The first stage was the introduction of the desert camouflage BDU as an organizational item. It will be used mainly by the Rapid Deployment Force (RDF) in a desert environment. During fiscal year 1981 the RDF was completely outfitted in both day and night editions of the desert BDU.

Both the temperate and desert BDUs are part of the Army’s Battle Dress System (BDS). This system includes three camouflage uniforms which will allow the Army to operate in temperate, desert, and arctic environments. Conversion to this system will require the modification of many existing items of individual clothing and equipment as well as the introduction of new items.

C.A.C.I. Inc.-Federal received a contract in September 1981 to examine existing Army personal-organizational clothing and individual equipment management procedures and to recommend a more cost-effective way of doing business. The study should be completed by mid-1982. A study advisory group has been established to monitor the contractor’s progress, clarify requirements, and supply guidance.

Heraldic Activities

The Institute of Heraldry continued to provide heraldic services for the armed forces and other government agencies during fiscal year 1981. The emphasis of this year’s work, however, was on Army items. These included the design and development of the Army Achievement Medal, Noncommissioned Officers Professional Development Ribbon, Army Service Ribbon, and Overseas Service Ribbon. To meet the needs of Army units, 158 distinctive unit insignia and 28 shoulder-sleeve insignia were designed and developed during this period. In the area of research, the institute is continuing its program of evaluating various materials and methods of manufacturing flags in order to provide alternative, less costly items and to broaden the procurement base. The following statistics reflect, in part, the accomplishments of the institute: design of 510 items; completion of 1830 paintings and drawings and 174 sculptured items (molds, models, and casts); development of 130 items-some new and some modified which were placed in the procurement system; and inspection of 134,508 items under the optional-purchase quality-control system during visits to fifty-five posts and base exchanges. In addition the institute performed 1,750 research and engineering support actions to assist the Defense Personnel Support Center.

The V-42

Sunday, February 3rd, 2019

US Army Histories – Special Forces In Vietnam

Friday, February 1st, 2019

Although written in 1973 by former 5th Group commander COL Francis J Kelly, this edition of this title in the US Army’s Vietnam Studies series was most recently published in 2004.

Download your copy at

SCUBAPRO SUNDAY – WW2 Salvage Divers

Sunday, January 27th, 2019

Not enough can be said for the men and women who fought in WW2. Right after the attack on Pearl Harbor, salvage divers started to rescue as many people as they could and raise as many ships as they could, so they could be put back into the fight.  

19 ships were sunk or damaged on December 7, by the Japanese; the efforts of the greatest generation raised all but three (the Arizona, the Utah, and the Oklahoma).

Here are a couple of good articles about the salvage diver efforts.




SHOT Show 19 – Magpul Celebrates 20th Anniversary With Special Edition Magpul

Tuesday, January 22nd, 2019

Magpul is rolling out their history, displaying artifacts like the original injection mold for their first product, the Magpul. Designed as a durable solution to go on the bottom of rifle magazines, it facilitates its removal from a Pouch.

In honor of their 20th anniversary, they are handing out these gold versions, only available at SHOT Show.

Cody Firearms Museum Seeks Veterans to Be a Part of History at CFM Veteran VIP Experience

Saturday, January 19th, 2019

Cody Firearms Museum to host US Veterans and record their histories as they make their way across America at the CFM Veteran VIP Experience in Cody, WY

CODY — January 17, 2019— Today, the Cody Firearms Museum (CFM) revealed a teaser for one of its new premier exhibits to be launched at its grand re-opening the weekend of July 5, 2019. Among the many exhibits to be unveiled this summer, the Military Area will incorporate first-hand accounts from U.S. veterans. The CFM seeks U.S. veterans to relay testimonials of their service and experiences at the CFM Veteran VIP Experience.

The CFM Veteran VIP Experience is an invitation to veterans and active military to be the very first to record personal accounts, offering museum-goers a glimpse into the complexity of their jobs and the magnitude of their bravery. “The CFM Veteran VIP Experience will capture a living history that we are proud to curate at our museum,” said Ashley Hlebinsky, Curator at the Cody Firearms Museum. “The testimonials from our veterans will provide insight for generations to come as well as create a community-centric model for our museum.”

The CFM Veteran VIP Experience will take place on July 5, the day before the CFM opens to the public. Participating veterans will have a first glance at the exhibit and are invited the following day to the public opening along with their families. “We want to offer our veterans a VIP experience while becoming the first to contribute to this recorded legacy,” continued Hlebinsky. “The interactive component is user-friendly and will be on display for our 200,000 annual visitors. We’re calling on vets and vet organizations to join us during our grand re-opening in July.”

The CFM is seeking veteran organizations to partner with them in promoting and/or sponsoring the special event. The CFM Veteran VIP Experience requires an RSVP to the event and is exclusive to veterans and active military personnel. Inquires may be directed to

Additionally, you can meet Ashley Hlebinsky – Curator at the CFM. Her level of knowledge is amazing. She will be at the CFM booth #2428 on Thursday, January 24th from 2pm – 3:30pm.

Meet JOE

Monday, January 14th, 2019

Yesterday, I found out why the Parachute Regiment refers to its troops as “Joe.”

Meet JOE.

In 1942 the PARAs were formed from soldiers already in the Army. The volunteers on transfer had their documents stamped with the letters J.O.E, standing for ‘joined on enlistment’. New members of the Regiment today are still refered to in this way.

It helps to place everyone on the same footing, building a cohesive team and family. Joe is genderless, doesn’t have a sexuality, finacial history, race, religion or come from a certain background. Joe is equal.