DVIDS – News – History of the Air Force: more than just a heritage
FE WARREN AIR FORCE BASE, Wyo. —
When most Airmen are asked about what a Wing History Office does, the answers tend to fall into one general category: they are the ones who should know all about the origin of the units.
They’re partially right, says 90th Missile Wing historian Jeremiah Foster, and that heritage aspect is a major function of the job, but not the only one.
“The way Air Force history offices are designed has two main elements – a historical side and a heritage side,” Foster said. “The heritage side is largely what you can see and the lineage. For example, we are the 90th Missile Wing and our name comes from the 90th Heavy Bombardment Group in World War II, so we have a common lineage meant to instill a sense of pride and esprit de corps in the unit.
Still, he cautions against the idea that being guardians of the wing’s collective heritage is their primary responsibility, saying the historical side of their role serves a much more important purpose.
“The History Office, from the wing to the grand air force, is designed to be the institutional memory of the unit, the custodians of all the records and collective knowledge of the organization “, said Foster. “Most records are kept for a limited period, and for the most part, much of it is temporary and disappears over time. This is where the story desk feature comes in to capture these things, take them, combine them, and then put them somewhere where they will always be available.
Maintaining this institutional memory is a responsibility that can pay dividends and this reality has been made clear with the upcoming installation of the Sentinel weapon system.
“The 90th has been chosen to align the next era of ICBMs, a task force has been put together, they’re taking the first steps, and they’re asking a lot of relevant questions about what we’ve done in the past,” Foster said. “So I go to all the working groups and try to be an active member trying to both document their efforts and inform their decision-making, highlighting where we’ve done this before, and that’s how we handled it.”
These questions are behind one of the biggest projects he leads in light of Sentinel.
“Based on research by James Mesco, who was the Wing Historian for the 90th in the 1980s, I wrote a study for the Wing on the deployment of the Peacekeeper system at FE Warren, as c ‘is the most similar and relevant missile fielding experience to what we’re doing now,” Foster said. “As then, we’re keeping our current Minuteman III system online, but we’re also trying to replace those weapons by it. There are many lessons we learned in this process that are very relevant and applicable to what we are doing now.
Another type of project that Foster works on is intimately related to this real purpose of the history office.
“One thing I hope to accomplish is to help create a relevant history desk that leaders use – a well-oiled machine that aids Wing operations by providing the information and documents our leaders need. when they need it,” Foster said. . “But I also want to do everything I can to show units how they can use that history, that institutional memory, and that knowledge.”
However, achieving this goal can be a challenge due to the transient nature of military service.
“It’s a relationship-building project that takes a lot of time and can be difficult because the military has people coming in and out all the time, especially those in uniform and in positions of command,” Foster said.
Although it is difficult to show this value, Foster and other historians continue to chronicle current events as they unfold, so that in the future the leaders of the military can consult the repositories of information created by the history office for guidance on how they might move forward in a difficult future situation. Moreover, while heritage and consequent morale is an important aspect of the historian’s position, history offers much more than that to leaders who seek the lessons of the past to guide their decisions.
“If you ask the larger question of why history matters in general, a lot of people just see it as a set of dates and facts, but it’s so much more than that,” Foster said. “It’s more about knowing and remembering who you are and what you’re a part of. It orients us to the world and provides us with the knowledge we need to navigate it – that’s the power of story.
*This article was originally published on the FE Warren Base website on November 7, 2022.
|Date posted:||23.11.2022 09:43|
|Location:||FE WARREN AIR FORCE BASE, WY, USA|
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