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Airmen at war: Reservists helping compile history of Global War on Terrorism.


Air Force Reservists deploying and working with the Air Force History and Museums Program are writing and providing information for an encompassing study of the Air Force's efforts in the Global War on Terrorism.

Dick Anderegg, Air Force History Office director, launched the study, titled Airmen at War, in October 2007. According to planning documents, the study will produce a history of Air Force participation in the new century including strategic, national, political, operational and tactical aspects of the Air Force.

When completed, the project will consist of seven volumes covering the time period from Desert Storm to Operations Noble Eagle, Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom. Air Force Reserve Command historian individual mobilization augmentees are directly responsible for organizing and writing two of the volumes: a chronology and a statistical digest.

While civilian historians are the primary writers and supervisors of the project, key IMAs have been identified to write and support these two volumes under the direction of Dr. Charles O'Connell, director of the Air Force Historical Research Agency at Maxwell Air Force Base, Ala. Dr. O'Connell formerly served as AFRC director of Historical Services.

Air Force History Office IMAs Lt. Cols. Ken Tilley and Joel Irvin are writing the chronology volume, focusing on key Air Force events occurring after 9/11 for each major operation.

"The chronology is essentially a timeline of significant events that allows researchers to formulate an idea of what was going on in a specific timeframe," Colonel Irvin said. "They'll be able to identify dates and sources of information to conduct in-depth research from Air Force records and histories of detailed operations."

Capt. Nicole Dubnicay and Master Sgt. Craig Mackey are compiling statistical information from historical reports to produce a consolidated statistical digest of Air Force operations, personnel, equipment and support functions.

"When researchers are looking for summarized numerical data for Air Force operations, they will be able to go to our volume and find them," Sergeant Mackey said.

History office IMAs are not the only Reservists working on the Airman at War study. Additional people are on loan from their home units on military personnel appropriation orders to provide research and writing support to the project. Senior Airman Matthew Dearth of the 908th Airlift Wing at Maxwell AFB is assisting with the statistical digest volume after Master Johnny Montgomery, also from the 908th AW, finished an extended MPA tour.

"Working as a historian has been a smooth transition from my origins as a loadmaster," Airman Dearth said. "I enjoy working here because it gives me the opportunity to examine bigger Air Force issues through the historical documents and statistics."

Additionally, Air Force Reserve historians play a vital role in the collection of information and data related to Air Force efforts. Deployed historian duties include writing unit chronologies and historical records, collecting historical data, and conducting oral history interviews of deployed Air Force personnel.

"For the past three years, Air Force Reserve IMA and traditional historians have consistently exceeded the AOR deployment goal set by the Air Force History Office and have done so by volunteering," said Betty Kennedy, AFRC director of Historical Services.

"Some of the locations that Reserve historians have deployed to in support of the GWOT are Qatar, Afghanistan, Iraq, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, Kyrgyzstan, and CENTCOM (U.S. Central Command) headquarters at MacDill AFB, Fla.," said Michael Dugre, ACC historian functional area manager. "A majority of the deployments last 120 days."

The information collected from civilian and Reserve historians during deployments is the fundamental source of information used to write the Airmen at War study. The volumes focusing on Operations Enduring and Iraqi Freedom pull significant amounts of data from histories written at deployed locations.

In conjunction with the Airmen at War study, AFRC Historical Services is providing the Air Force Reserve portions as well as writing "The Air Force Reserve Command's Contribution to the Global War on Terrorism."

"AFRC IMAs assigned to the other major and joint commands are either supporting the writing of the Airmen at War study or their own commands' specific GWOT contributions," Ms. Kennedy said. "For example, Master Sgt. Joanne Therriault at Air Force Space Command has written their ONE and OEF chronology, which became part of the Airmen at War project, and Senior Master Sgt. Charles Newell and Master Sgt. Jennifer Gordon at U.S. Central Command have been recording events there since 2001."

Additional Reservists assigned to the Air Force History Support Office at Anacostia Naval Station in Washington, D.C., such as Master Sgt. Albert Garver, provide research and writing support to the civilian writing teams assigned to the other five volumes of the study. IMA members who can't serve extended MPA tours provide support as needed during annual tours and individual inactive duty training days.

"Reserve unit historians and IMAs have provided outstanding support to the Air Force History and Museums Program as it collects contemporary historical documents at deployed locations, and the program uses those documents to build the Airmen at War study," Dr. O'Connell said.

(Information for this article provided by the Air Force Historical Research Agency at Maxwell AFB and the Air Force History Office at the Pentagon.)
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Publication:Citizen Airman
Date:Feb 1, 2009
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