The Salvation Army ALM Division Crafts Agreement with Amateur Radio Operators

February 20, 2014 - 1:31 PM EST
Thad Hicks
(601) 969-6868
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The Salvation Army ALM Division Crafts Agreement with Amateur Radio Operators

Jackson, MS (February 20, 2014) - As technology continues its meteoric rise, the tried-and-true methods for doing business are sometimes put on a back shelf or discarded altogether.  Research and our own experiences have taught us to be weary of this sort of thinking and be careful not to completely throw away something that worked so well at one point.  

During World War II, the U.S. government needed help in communicating secret messages between themselves, while making sure that these messages stayed secret.  While hundreds of scientists were working with the newest forms of technology to code their messages, someone thought to utilize a tested form of communication that had been around for hundreds of years, the language of the Native American Navajos.  While it was not overly technical, it was useful, and it remained secret throughout the war.  Had someone not looked to this form of communication, the outcome of the war might have been quite different.

Communication during a disaster event is very similar to the communications required during war time.  There must be multiple methods of interacting in place, assuring constant contact.  Whether it’s from person to person or location to location - everyone must stay in contact to know when and where the operations are happening.   If this message is interrupted by any means, it could be a life or death situation for a disaster victim. 

The Salvation Army is aware of this danger and has created partnerships between radio operators around the country.   The ALM division of The Salvation Army’s Emergency Disaster Services (EDS) has reached out to area radio operators.  According to Bill Feist, Southern Territorial SATERN Coordinator, “The EDS center in Jackson, is making its communications infrastructure available to other groups.  In addition, we are providing space at the center for them to set up and store their equipment on site." While we still rely heavily on today’s technology as the first line of defense, we also recognize that there will be times when a seemingly “outmoded” form of communication like the "Navajos Code Talkers" is the best approach. 

The Salvation Army stays prepared to deliver assistance to those in need during a disaster, and are actively taking steps to be even more prepared.  For more information of The Salvation Army Emergency Radio Network (SATERN) program in your area contact the Southern Territorial SATERN Coordinator, Bill Feist at:  or 601-969-6868.