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NEWS | March 7, 2017

The true story tellers of military history

By Airman 1st Class Tristan Biese 633rd Air Base Wing Public Affairs

“Those who don’t learn from history are doomed to repeat it,” said George Santayana, philosopher.

Historical events in the military such as World War I, World War II, the Cold War, Operation Desert Storm and many others hold remarkable stories within their past. Many of which would go untold without historians who worked day and night to capture every detail.

Without the meticulous work of the historians at Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Virginia, and historians across the U.S. Air Force these stories would never be taught to children as their teachers convey how the Air Force flew over 700,000 sorties during the Korean War.

“We’re contemporary historians,” said Mike Dugre, Air Combat Command historian. “We are capturing the Air Force’s history as its happening.”

The job of the ACC historian is to produce 300 to 400 pages of annual history with 2000 to 3000 supporting documents, capturing everything that happened that year within their assigned unit.

Inside those mounds of pages and documents include objective analysis of both good and bad decisions made by leadership, what the results were of those decisions and how it affected their respective units.

“We provide historical context and perspective to decision makers, so that they can make better informed decisions,” said Bill Butler, Air Combat Command deputy command historian.

While historians must capture their own unit’s history, they also work hand-in-hand with other historians across the military. If a decision or event affects more than one unit, historians collaborate and share information to capture the story, as a whole.

One of the alternate jobs the ACC historians performs, is keeping records of past logos and emblems of the units on base. If a unit wishes to revert back to a prior emblem the historians can help by recovering all the older emblems and assist in changing the current one.

While on deployment, the job of a historian is primarily the same, but instead of annual reports they are required to write monthly contingency reports. Those reports focus on the unit’s combat operations while at the deployed location.

Without the historians and the job they perform, we, as people and the U.S. Air Force, wouldn’t be who we are today.