Missouri National Guard Releases Deployment Records
JEFFERSON CITY - After 10 years of deployments overseas and mobilizations at home, the Missouri National Guard is releasing a history of its units' activities. According to Captain Alan Brown, the deployment history report is a compilation of concise histories of Missouri National Guard unit mobilizations. It was brought on by the events of September 11, 2001. Brown is the Missouri National Guard's command historian.
"In the past decade, Missouri's Soldiers and Airmen have made significant contributions both to the war effort abroad and our security at home," Brown said. "Whether they were flying security patrols in the days after 9/11, hunting for insurgents in Iraq or spearheading new initiatives like the Agribusiness Development Team program in Afghanistan, our state should be proud of its troops."
Brown compiled the report with help from the state's senior commands. When taken as a whole, the report shows the incredible efforts Citizen-Soldiers and Airmen have made in the service of their country, Brown said.
"This compilation has been created not only to record history, but to honor those Missouri National Guardsmen who were part of that history," Brown said. "What's amazing about this document is that this history is still going on - today, we've got hundreds of Missouri Soldiers and Airmen serving in Afghanistan, Qatar, Egypt and at other locations across the world."
The project was spearheaded nearly six years ago by Jim Ray, a retired Missouri National Guardsman. In recent years the continued collection effort has been carried on by Brown and his predecessor, Captain Marie Orlando.
Overseas contingency operations mark the biggest overseas effort by the Missouri National Guard in its history, Brown said. More than 11,000 Soldiers and Airmen have deployed in that 10 year period.
While advances in technology have made some aspects of the collection project easier, there have also been some major pitfalls, Brown said.
"The ability to wipe away information with a single keystroke is detrimental to a historian's efforts to gather history," Brown said. "In the past written military records were available to compile and record history at a future point in time. Modern day military historians do not have this luxury. Historians must be pro-active in gathering the needed information to preserve history; otherwise it may be lost forever."
As overseas deployments continue, Brown said he and fellow historian Charles Machon will continue to fill in gaps in the history and add current deployments.
"We hope that when our Veterans and commanders see the report, they step up and give us any information they might have to fill in the gaps," Brown said. "We're living in history right now - it's up to us to make sure we preserve that history for our children and children's children." The report can be found on the Missouri National Guard's website.