THE U.S. ARMY COMBAT HISTORIAN AND COMBAT HISTORY OPERATIONS: World War I to the Vietnam War
This study focuses on U.S. Army historical programs during combat operations from World War I to the Vietnam War with particular attention on the combat historians, those individuals deployed to a theater of war with the mission of documenting the actions of that theater for current and future historical use. Extensive discussions about TO&Es and where such historical units were to be inserted within Army TO&Es, difficulties in convincing front-line commanders of worth of adding historians to immediately record viewpoints from command to enlisted, and profiles of the army and civilian personnel assigned to the units.
In World War I, Major General Pershing proposed the idea of establishing a historical office within the AEF headquarters. The War Department reorganized the General Staff to include a Historical Branch. By World War II, combat historians were behind and on the front lines with a notebook in one hand and their carbine in the other hand, ever ready to collect battlefield information. Eight historical service detachments were deployed to Korea.
After the Korean War, the duties of the combat historian further evolved as what became the Center of Military History published doctrine about military history detachments (MHDs). As America's immersion in Vietnam escalated, there was concern regarding historical coverage. Chief of Military History Brigadier General Hal Pattison established a network of historical teams to collect information on the U.S Army in the war. A major development in the history program and in deploying MHDs came with the establishment of Headquarters, U.S. Army Vietnam (USARV) under General William C. Westmoreland's command.
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