The History of the
Army MARS Program
The Army Amateur Radio System (AARS) began in
November, 1925, led by United States Army Signal Corps Captain Thomas C.
Rives. Needing to train new recruits in radio technology and with an eye
on research and development to improve radio equipment within the United
States Army, Rives enlisted the talents of volunteer Amateur Radio
From 1925 through 1942, the AARS functioned as
an extra curricular activity of the U. S. Army Signal Corps, its scope
being limited by the meager budget of the pre-World War II years. As of
the 7th of December, 1941, there were approximately 60,000 FCC licensed
Amateurs within the United States and its possessions. Of those, 5600
Amateurs were members of the AARS. About 20% of the AARS members entered
the service of their country either in the Army or in a civilian
capacity. The activities of AARS were suspended during World War II until
1946 along with all other amateur radio usage in the United States.
Recognizing the importance of the AARS to train vitally needed
communications personnel at a relatively inexpensive direct cost to the
U.S. government, the U. S. Army reactivated AARS in 1946. 1948 saw the
creation of the Military Amateur Radio System, later renamed the Military
Affiliate Radio System (MARS) with Army MARS and the newly formed Air
Force MARS. In early 1963, the Navy-Marine Corps MARS was established.