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Dead medium: Military Pigeoneers of World War Two: Qualifications
From: bruces@well.com (Bruce Sterling)

Source(s): War Department Technical Manual TM-11-410, "The Homing Pigeon." War Department, U. S. Government Printing Office, January 1945

(((bruces remarks: I have come into lucky possession of a vintage 82-page training manual for United States military pigeoneers. The pigeon post has long been a Necronaut's darling (see Working Notes 04.1, 04.2, 04.3, 04.4, 04.5, 04.6, 06.2, 31.9, 34.2, 35.0, 35.2, 35.3, 35.4, 35.5, 35.6, and 36.0). The following five part series, excerpted from this manual, will reveal the inner workings of military pigeonry in unprecedented technical detail.)))

Page 1.

"SECTION 1. GENERAL

"1. Purpose

"This manual provides instruction for proper breeding, care, and training of the homing pigeon, and for the selection and training of enlisted pigeoneers. With certain modifications this information can be used by all pigeon units serving field forces, both in theaters of operations and in the zone of the interior. Instructions in FM 24-5 for units using the homing pigeon in communications have not been repeated. The mission, function, and operation of a special pigeon company and the tactical employment of pigeons are described in FM 11- 80."

(((bruces remarks: any news about the location of Field Manuals 24-5 and 11-80 will be gratefully received.)))

page 45

"32. Qualifications for Pigeoneers

"a. GENERAL. Minimum specifications required for a pigeoneer are ===

"(1) *Skill.* That required for a basic private, plus the ability to care for, feed properly, catch, and hold pigeons; to attach messages; and to train birds for messenger service.

"(2) *Knowledge.* That required for a basic private, plus a thorough knowledge of capabilities, limitations, and habits of homing pigeons.

"(3) *Personal traits.* A pigeoneer who is boisterous and of a turbulent nature tends to frighten and upset pigeons and thus reduce their effectiveness. The successful pigeoneer should possess ==

"(a) *Dependability.* To perform all his duties regularly and promptly.

"(b) *Kindness.* To obtain confidence of the pigeons.

"(c) *Patience.* To spend much time and repeated effort required for training pigeons.

"(d) *Neatness.* To maintain a sanitary and attractive loft for the pigeons.

"(e) *Firmness.* To enforce control over pigeons.

"(f) *Power of accurate observation.* To note and learn characteristics of individual pigeons in the loft by observing details readily and accurately.

"b. BASIC TRAINING. Only qualified basic privates are selected for pigeoneer training. Skill and knowledge to be attained in this course may be based on this manual."

Bruce Sterling (bruces@well.com)