BAGRAM, Afghanistan — Servicemembers from the U.S. Army and Navy conducted a joint history training mission at Bagram Air Field June 4-5, 2012.
Navy Captain Teresa Fairbanks, the Command Historian and Commander James R. Sposato, the Deputy Command Historian from United States Forces-Afghanistan, received military history operations training from the Massachusetts Army National Guard’s 126th Military History Detachment.
The 126th MHD is currently conducting military history operations in support of Operation Enduring Freedom XII and XIII in Regional Command-East, Afghanistan, which extends from the Bamyan Province in the west to the Pakistan Border in the East. The two-day training covered an overview of the MHD’s mission, data collection training, historical collection plan training and historical oral interview training. The primary mission of the 126th MHD in OEF is to collect and preserve operational documents, conduct oral historical interviews with soldiers, assist and advise the 1st Infantry Division Headquarters, and assist the division headquarters with the Unit Historical Officer program. The training focused on the data collection process, organizing and preserving operational documents and also on how to conduct historical oral interviews with soldiers, leaders and operational staff at division, brigades, and battalions and company level.
Lt. Col. Mark Brewster, the 126th MHD commander, explained why this training is so important for the Army: “Right now, the 126th MHD is the only history detachment serving in Afghanistan or in any theater of operations. Under the direction of Captain Fairbanks, USFOR-A will be able to collect and preserve the historical data for a number of Army task forces that nobody else is collecting. This training served as a great opportunity for the Massachusetts Army National Guard to work with a sister service.”
The history collected will be codified by the U.S. Army’s Center of Military History for use in publications such as, The Tip of the Spear and Vanguard of Valor and will be used by other Army historians to write the official history of the U.S. Army in OEF. Moreover, the history captured today by the 126th MHD and the USN will serve future generations of students and educators at West Point, the Combat Studies Institute, Command and General Staff College, and the U.S. Army Historical Education Center.