"One Soldier at a Time"
December 10, 2009
- "There are five things a soldier should never be without--his musket, his ammunition, his knapsack, his provisions, and his intreching tool." Military Dicitonary, 1864.
Through 144 articles published in the "This Week in Army History" series we have told the story of the Army, "One Soldier at a time." These stories cut across the full breadth of United States Army history. Among our presentations we've read of inventors, actors, film directors, musicians, poets, rocket scientists, and librarians. All of which represent jobs and careers that we do not normally associate with the military and the Army. Yet, each was part of a tale somehow intertwined with the history of the Army.
Among these tales one feature remains constant; the Soldier. These stories from our past have introduced us to Generals, junior officers, Sergeants and Privates. We've read of Continental Soldiers in the Carolinas (1780), military explorers traversing the great expanses of the Louisiana Purchase (1806), and Army camel drivers in the arid regions of the southwest (1856). Great figures from the Army's first century of service have appeared: Washington, Scott, Grant, and Lee. Renowned leaders from the great wars such as Pershing, Marshall, Eisenhower, and Patton are reflected upon among the lines.
The Army story is not solely represented by the great and famous among those who have served. It is the story of all American Soldiers; the Militia and the Continentals, Doughboys and Flyboys, Infantrymen and Cavalry troopers, Engineers and Airborne, WAC's and GI's. Called by some, the "common soldier," yet each an individual who led anything but a common life. We have journeyed with those in the first wave at Omaha Beach on June 6, 1944. We followed others who trained under the tough hand of a Prussian Baron at a place called Valley Forge. We have read of the uncommon gallantry of recipients of the Medal of Honor and the Distinguished Service Cross. We learned of uncommon devotion to duty through the stories of career Soldiers. Appearing in the stories have been MPs, tankers, cadets, gunners, pilots, troopers, and WACs; all Soldiers, and all citizens, and all "uncommon."
As we enter the New Year we will still "tell the Army story, one soldier at a time." Our feature articles will continue to cover the full range of the past 237 years of the existence of the United States Army. We will look at lessons learned, lessons long lost, gallantry in action, and devotion in the ranks. There will be stories of battles, equipment, weapons, long marches, cold winters, and hot days. Most of all, there will be the history of the American Soldier!
ABOUT THIS STORY: Many of the sources presented in this article are among 400,000 books, 1.7 million photos and 12.5 million manuscripts available for study through the U.S. Army Military History Institute (MHI). The artifacts shown are among nearly 50,000 items of the Army Heritage Museum (AHM) collections. MHI and AHM are part of the: Army Heritage and Education Center, 950 Soldiers Drive, Carlisle, PA, 17013-5021.