460th Space Wing members make history each day
By Shawn Riem, 460th Space Wing Historian
/ Published September 08, 2010
BUCKLEY AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- British historian and journalist E.H. Carr once said, "The function of the historian is neither to love the past nor emancipate himself from the past, but to master and understand it as the key to the understanding of the present."
Carr saw the historian's role as that of a facilitator, someone who can make history accessible. As the 460th Space Wing Historian, I couldn't agree more. My personal mission as your historian is to capture your exciting history and heritage and make them readily accessible to all members of the wing.
The main product of the wing historian is an annual history. This document covers the mission, organization, and operations of the wing, as well as any notable events that occurred within that year and preserves the supporting documentation. You, as members of the wing, are a vital part of this process. You produce the documents, participate in exercises, and make the decisions that determine how objectives are met.
As my primary source material for the annual history, you can expect to see and hear from me from time to time as I gather together the pieces of information needed to compose your history. As you look at that pile of paperwork on your desk (or all those files on your computer) and contemplate just tossing all of it in the circular file, keep in mind the words of John W. Gardner, former Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare:
"History never looks like history when you are living through it." We can't always know today what will be significant tomorrow so documents pertaining to exercises, operations, equipment, and wing events are excellent source materials for the annual history. That after action report you're thinking of tossing just might prevent future leaders from making a grave misstep.
In addition to the annual history, you'll likely also see other products from me: heritage displays, oral history interviews, and historical studies. Heritage displays, like the one in Building 1030, both in the lobby and on the second floor, offer visual examples of the Wing's history and heritage. Oral history interviews of key leaders and participants in significant events capture not only a first-hand account of an event, but also the emotions felt by the interviewees, something that is impossible to convey in a written document. Historical studies offer an in-depth discussion of a topic, often not available in an annual history. Additionally, I am always available to answer questions about the wing's history and heritage and offer this to not just members of the wing but also to the general public. Preserving and promoting Air Force heritage is just as important to me as documenting the wing's history.
You, as members of the 460th Space Wing, make history daily and I am the careful custodian of that history. So the next time you're in the neighborhood, come see the heritage display and make sure you stop in to say hello. I'm at the top of the stairs and my door is always open.