Eric L. Zancanella highlights the role played by radio amateurs in wartime through the MARS program, Amateur/Ham Radio Operators provided morale and welfare service to the military.
Before PCs, and other instant communicators, there was the USPS, delivering APO mail to southeast Asia routinely in five days, every day throughout the conflict. Whilst a valuable source of communication, MARS was the quickest way for overseas GIs to connect with “the world” back home.
MARS, known today as Military Auxiliary Radio Systems, dates from 1925. It is a Department of Defense-sponsored program of licensed civilian Ham operators assisting the U.S. military. Their slogan: “Proudly Serving Those Who Serve.” From the Korean War to the Gulf War, MARS was important for morale, providing GIs “phone patches” to the family.