2017-11-10 / Front Page

Signal Corps vet checks off bucket list item

Laura Levering
Fort Gordon Public Affairs Office


Charles Schultz Charles Schultz Charles Schultz spent a fraction of his life at Fort Gordon, but the impact it had on him is immeasurable.

Schultz, 86, traveled from Wheeling, West Virginia, with his wife and two daughters, to see the place that harbors some of his fondest memories. It is where he spent his military career, married his wife and had his first child.

“My days here at Fort Gordon were some of the nicest of my life,” Schultz said.

The visit was his first return to the installation since he left in 1954. The former signal electronics instructor was drafted from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, in 1952, then sent to the Reception Center at Fort Meade, Maryland, where military officials decided he was industry trained.

“Basically it meant that I didn’t need any training other than by the Signal Corps,” Schultz said, “so they sent me to Fort Gordon where I went through ‘sissy training,’ we used to call it, because it was eight weeks instead of 16.”


Charles Schultz, a Signal Corps Veteran from Wheeling, West Virginia, takes in some of the sights and sounds of the Signal Corps Museum, recalling some experiences from his Army years. 
Bill Bengtson / Fort Gordon Public Affairs Office Charles Schultz, a Signal Corps Veteran from Wheeling, West Virginia, takes in some of the sights and sounds of the Signal Corps Museum, recalling some experiences from his Army years. Bill Bengtson / Fort Gordon Public Affairs Office He had no idea that he would emerge from training as an instructor. Nor did he mind. At the time, Schultz was concerned about being sent to Korea – in the midst of war – to set up communications systems atop mountains. He remembered seeing men volunteer for the mission. As for Schultz, he was in the process of getting married and therefore preferred to stay behind. He got lucky.

“When I went in, all my buddies were going in and they were foot Soldiers I heard, and two of them died over in Korea. One was my brother-in-law,” he said. I thought for sure I was going to climb up and down the mountains with the rest of them.”

Instead, he taught the theory of electronics and theory of AM/ FM radio to a group that was about 50/50 Soldiers and civil service.

His experience at Fort Gordon helped set him up for a lifetime of success and instilled a love for communications. Now semiretired, Schultz still does a lot of satellite work and commercial sound for a home appliance store in Wheeling.

“He just loves it,” said Carol Schwanenberger, Schultz’s daughter.

Schwanenberger, of Florence Kentucky, said her father had talked about wanting to take her and her sister, Cathy Spinetti, to Fort Gordon for the past few years. So they reached out to Fort Gordon officials who then placed them in touch with Anne Bowman,

Fort Gordon Public Affairs Community Engagements.

“We’re so fortunate that we were able to bring him down and that my husband was able to arrange everything with Anne,” Schwanenberger said. “We’re just so very grateful to her that she was able to coordinate for my father.”

Walking through the U.S. Army Signal Corps Museum, the sole place Schultz requested to visit, was an experience Spinetti said the family will not soon forget.

“It’s an education for us,” Spinetti said. “We really didn’t know much about what he did.”

“Believe it or not, some of this stuff is a lot older than me,” Schultz laughed.

Now the Signaleer has new memories to share.

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