Tags: army history
By Jim Dolbow
Q: The Army Reserve is making history every day. What are you doing to capture and preserve it for future generations?
A: Not as much as we should. You know, that’s part of the challenge we’ve got is, you know, you’re so focused on the day-today operational tempo and everything, a lot of times you fail to capture the history for posterity. But I do have a — I’ve got a historical directorate in the Army Reserve. I’ve got an Army Reserve historian, a Ph.D. civilian that is my point man to say we’ve got to capture the history of the Army Reserve, all the great accomplishments and lessons learned, and mostly importantly, the people. You know, that’s really the thing that I say.
And a lot of people have said, you know, you ought to write a book. I say, I don’t have time to write a book. But I will go to Iraq, Afghanistan, Horn of Africa, Kosovo, and I’ll come back and I say, I’ve got enough speeches for the rest of the year, because all I want to do is talk about the people that I met that are Army Reserve soldiers — and not just Army Reserve, National Guard, whatever, but Reserve component soldiers serving their country that have a great story to tell, in terms of their civilian occupation and their military occupation.
And, you know, when you take a gentleman that’s a sergeant first class in civil affairs, who owns a bar back in Green Bay, Wisconsin and likes to play music; and I’m with him in Kosovo, and he’s taking me to the music school he started in this little town, where he’s got Serbs and Albanians that can’t go to school together, that can’t live together, but they’re in a music school together; and they’re playing “Ave Maria” for me in concert — I mean, those are the kind of stories that I say, gosh, we got to, we got to capture these for posterity because people really don’t understand how much America is doing in other parts of the world to leave a little bit of America everywhere we go.
So, my challenge to my historian is, yeah, we’ve got to capture all those stories and maintain the record. And so we do have a historian. My fear is we probably get 10 percent of what’s out there just because we don’t either see it — and the thing is that our soldiers don’t sing their own praises. You find out about it and you say, why didn’t you tell me about this? And the soldiers’ first comment is, “I’m just doing my job, I’m not looking for any kind of notoriety.” But, good point. We’ve got to do more to capture history.
I fully agree with LTG Stultz that the U.S. Army Reserve needs to do more to capture it’s history. What do you do to preserve and capture your service’s proud history?