Skip to main content

William Beverly Buschgen

CPT in 3133rd Signal Service Co : Officer


Born 1916 in MO, Died 1977

County of residence at enlistment: Union County, NJ
Other residence(s): Watertown, NY; New York, NY; Detroit, MI; Chicago, IL; Minneapolis, MN
United States Army, European Theatre of Operations
Occupation before the war: clerks, general office
College education before the war: Lafayette 4 years
Notes: Rank changed from 1LT on GA records to CPT per US Army Special Operations Command articles
Source: 3133rd Program, 15 Sept 1944; 3133rd roster from 10th Mountain Division Museum at Fort Drum; photo from Ancestry® (1934 high school yearbook)

Bill (aka "Bev") Buschgen was born on May 2, 1916 in Kansas City, MO, the only child of a Presbyterian minister and his Latin professor wife. The family moved to New Jersey when he was a child. He graduated from The Stony Brook School, a private school in Stony Brook, NY, where he played the cornet, and served as director of the orchestra, editor of the yearbook, and president of the Glee Club. His high school yearbook says of him: "Blessed with a unique sense of humour, 'Busch' pulled through Stony Brook with flying colors."

He went on to study pre-med and mechanical engineering at Lafayette College in Easton, PA where he sang bass in the celebrated college choir and played the trumpet in the Lafayette brass choir. He also did a radio show called "Your College Reporter" on the local Easton station, WEST, and found the experience so stimulating that he revised his career plans to focus on broadcasting.

After graduation, in 1938, he headed to New York City and got a job as a page in the Guest Relations department at NBC (which was exclusively a radio network in those days). He had hoped to be an announcer, but after several auditions admitted that "I was awful." But by that time he had become a guide and enjoyed the experience of being with and talking to guests—that spurred his interest in the sales side of the business.

In 1939 he married Mary Jane Houston Cloud, but the marriage was short-lived, dissolving within a year or two. Meanwhile, he worked his way up in Guest Relations at NBC, from guide, to guide trainer, to control desk clerk. In July of 1940 he was transferred to Research to work on the all-county survey and later to do reports and estimates for Sales Traffic.

Bill registered for the draft on October 16, 1940; at the time he was living in Manhattan, just a couple of blocks from his office at Rockefeller Center. Two weeks after Pearl Harbor, he enlisted in the Army. Nine months later he had been promoted to 1st SGT and was assigned to Officer Candidate School at Fort Monmouth. He eventually found his way into the 3133 Signal Service Company, and trained at Pine Camp in Watertown, NY. On September 30, 1944 he married Isobel Dennison Barrett, a young woman who had grown up in a small town just south of Watertown but was living at the time in Bethlehem, PA.

He went overseas with the 3133rd, earning a promotion from 1LT to CPT before his discharge in February, 1946.

After returning to NBC with significant leadership and administrative experience, Bill spent five months as a statistician in Research before an opening appeared in his chosen field—a vacancy in National Spot Sales. "Now I want to stick with Spot Sales and see how far I can climb," he stated in a 1951 interview.

Meanwhile Bill and Isobel became the parents of two children: Jane Frances, born in 1948, and William D., born in 1949.

Bill was also busy resuming his military career in the Army Reserves. David Sarnoff, Chairman of the Board of RCA and founder of NBC, had petitioned the Army to activate the 406th MRBC (Mobile Radio Broadcasting Company) in the Reserves, which it did on November 15, 1948. Bill became commander of the 406th MRBC, and, with other volunteer employees from NBC, drilled monthly in New York City. The bulk of the men in the unit were specialists in some phase of broadcast communications or programming, and their mission was intended to be mobile radio broadcasting for psychological warfare purposes.

By 1950 the family was living in Queens; Bill was still in sales at NBC and Isobel worked as a beautician, the profession she had pursued before her marriage. Bill's mother, Ruth, had moved in with them after the death of Bill's father in 1948; this undoubtedly had enabled Isobel to pursue her career.

With the increasing pressure of the Korean War, and mounting concern in the early years of the Cold War, the 406th MRBC reserve unit was federalized on May 1, 1951, and Bill assumed the rank of CPT in the regular Army once again. The unit went to Germany in November, 1951, and was absorbed into the 301st Radio Broadcasting and Leaflet Group, a psychological warfare group. Bill took over command of the S-4 unit which handled the group's supply and logistical requirements. After a year in Germany, he was able to earn his second Army discharge and headed back to New York to his family and NBC.

In 1954, Bill became radio manager in the Detroit Office for NBC Spot Sales. Sometime in the 1950s or 60s his second marriage came to an end; Isobel relocated to Florida.

Later, Bill left NBC and went to work for Avery-Knodel, an advertising agency whose clients were primarily TV stations. He worked as an account executive in the Chicago office, and on September 1, 1976 he opened an office for the company in Minneapolis, MN, which he headed.

Sadly, he would die in Minneapolis only seven months later, on April 2, 1977. He is buried at Fort Snelling National Cemetery in Minneapolis.


1934 high school yearbook (see link below)


1930 census

1934 high school yearbook

1935 article in the Allentown PA Morning Call about his singing in college choir

1936 article in the Allentown PA Morning Call about his appearing in the brass choir

1938 article in the Allentown PA Morning Call about his college graduation

1939 first marriage record

1940 draft card

1941 enlistment record

1944 second marriage record

1946 article in the Newark Star-Ledger (NJ) about his being discharged from the Army

1947 (Mar) Issue of Chimes: News and Views of NBC Personnel in New York [scroll down to March issue, page 2]; biographical and work info (includes photo)

1950 census

1951 Audio Engineering Society newsletter about the MRBC,%20section-meeting-reports.pdf

1955 (Jan/Feb) Issue of Chimes [scroll down to Jan/Feb issue, page 3, "Organization Changes"]

1961 mother's obituary in New York Times

1967 article in the Watertown Daily Times (NY) indicating that his wife was from the Watertown area

1976 article in the Chicago Tribune (IL) about his promotion to head the Minneapolis office of Avery Knodel

1977 Social Security applications and claims index

1977 VA death record

1977 US Veterans' Gravesites

1977 Minnesota death index

1977 death notice in Minneapolis Star (MN)

1977 Find a Grave record*aes5tc*_ga*MjA3MDI0NTI3MS4xNjY4MTY5NDE5*_ga_4QT8FMEX30*MTY2ODE5ODEyNC4yLjEuMTY2ODE5OTc0MS4zLjAuMA..

2011 article from Veritas, US Army Special Operations Command, entitled "Rebuilding Psywar: The Psychological Warfare Division, the Office of the Chief of Psychological Warfare, and the PsyWar School at Fort Riley, 1950-1951."

2014 article from Veritas, US Army Special Operations Command, entitled "Psyche: The 301st Radio Broadcasting and Leaflet Group, Part 1."

2015 (?) article from Veritas, US Army Special Operations Command, entitled "Psyche: The 301st Radio Broadcasting and Leaflet Group, Part 2."

Please Support Our Ongoing Efforts

The soldiers of The Ghost Army used inflatable tanks, sound effects, and imagination to fool the Germans on the battlefields of Europe. The Ghost Army Legacy Project is ensuring that these men and their accomplishments are never forgotten.

Give via credit card by clicking the yellow “Donate” button.

Or, send a check to:

Ghost Army Legacy Project
1305 S. Michigan Ave. #1104
Chicago, IL 60605

All donations are tax-deductible!