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Chief Signal Officer, U.S. Army

George Owen Squier
George Owen Squier.jpg
Major General George Owen Squier
Born (1865-03-21)March 21, 1865
Dryden, Michigan, US
Died March 24, 1934(1934-03-24) (aged 69)
Washington, D.C., US
Allegiance  United States of America
Service/branch United States Department of the Army Seal.svg United States Army
Years of service 1887–1923
Rank US-O8 insignia.svg Major General
Commands held Chief Signal Officer
Battles/wars Spanish–American War
World War I
Awards Distinguished Service Medal
Honorary Knight Commander of the Order of St Michael and St George
Order of the Crown of Italy
Legion of Honor
Elliott Cresson Medal
John Scott Medal
Franklin Medal
Other work businessman, scientist

Major General George Owen Squier (March 21, 1865 – March 24, 1934) was born in Dryden, Michigan, United States. He graduated from the United States Military Academy in the Class of 1887 and received a Ph.D. from Johns Hopkins University in 1893.

He was famous both in the United States and in Europe as a soldier, a scientist and as an inventor. He is known for what today is called Muzak.

Life and military career

Portrait of George Owen Squier
Portrait of George Owen Squier, by Harris & Ewing, c. 1911.

George Squier wrote and edited many books and articles on the subject of radio and electricity. An inventor, he and Dartmouth professor Albert Cushing Crehore developed a magneto-optical streak camera "The Polarizing Photo-chronograph" in 1896 to measure the speed of projectiles both inside a cannon and directly after they left the cannon barrel. This was one of the earliest photonic programs. They also worked to develop synchronous AC telegraphic systems. His biggest contribution was that of telephone carrier multiplexing in 1910 for which he was elected to the National Academy of Science in 1919.

As executive officer to the Chief Signal Officer, U.S. Signal Corps in 1907, Squier was instrumental in the establishment of the Aeronautical Division, U.S. Signal Corps, the first organizational ancestor of the US Air Force. He also was the first military passenger in an airplane on September 12, 1908 and, working with the Wright Brothers, was responsible for the purchase of the first airplanes by the US Army in 1909.

From May 1916 to February 1917, he was Chief of the Aviation Section, U.S. Signal Corps, the first successor of the Aeronautical Division, before being promoted to major general and appointed Chief Signal Officer during World War I.

In 1922, he created Wired Radio, a service which piped music to businesses and subscribers over wires. In 1934, he changed the service's name to 'Muzak'.

Asked how to say his name, he told The Literary Digest it was pronounced like the word square.

He was a member of the Sons of the American Revolution.


He died in Washington, D.C., at George Washington Hospital on March 24, 1934 of pneumonia, and was buried in Arlington National Cemetery.


Dates of rank

No Insignia Cadet, United States Military Academy: 1 July 1883
No Insignia in 1886 Second Lieutenant, Regular Army: 12 June 1887
First Lieutenant, Regular Army: 30 June 1893
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Captain, Volunteer Army: 1 June 1898
(Date of rank was 20 May 1898.)
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Lieutenant Colonel, Volunteer Army: 20 July 1898
First Lieutenant, Regular Army: 7 December 1898
(Reverted to permanent rank.)
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Captain, Volunteer Army: 17 April 1899
US-O3 insignia.svg
Captain, Regular Army: 1 July 1901
(Date of rank was 2 February 1901.)
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Major, Regular Army: 2 March 1903
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Lieutenant Colonel, Regular Army: 17 March 1913
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Brigadier General, Temporary: 14 February 1917
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Colonel, Regular Army: 12 April 1917
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Major General, Temporary: 8 October 1917
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Colonel, Regular Army: 14 February 1921
(Reverted to permanent rank.)
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Major General, Temporary: 28 March 1921
(Date of rank was 6 October 1917.)
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Major General, Retired list: 31 December 1923


USS General G.O. Squier (AP-130)
USS General G.O. Squier (AP-130)

In 1943, the U.S. Navy named troopship USS General G. O. Squier (AP-130) in his honor. It was the lead ship of its class, which was known as General G. O. Squier class of transport ships.

General Squier Park, a historic district and waterpark in his hometown of Dryden, Michigan, is named in his honor.

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