By Michael StrasserFebruary 9, 2018
FORT DRUM, N.Y. (Feb. 9, 2018) -- A new, monthly professional reading group will launch March 5 at Fort Drum to further discussion on military history, national security and the profession of arms among interested community members.
The Maj. Gen. Fox Conner Professional Reading Group is a monthly, informal forum for the reading and discussion those topics and more, and was developed by Sepp Scanlin, 10th Mountain Division (LI) Museum director.
Scanlin said that the idea - and also the name - for the reading group is modeled after another one that meets at the Army/Navy Club in Washington, D.C.
"I've kind of followed what they have studied there, and I saw this reading group as a way to offer that service here to the division and to the larger community," Scanlin said. "As a museum professional, I have attended different engagements on history and national security. In a couple of those venues the discussion about some sort of way to continue that conversation has come up. So those two things really are the genesis of this."
The reading requirements for the first meeting is a fairly light load - maybe a couple of hours at most to read three historical documents. One is an excerpt of "Grey Eminence: Fox Conner and the Art of Mentorship" by Edward Cox, that was published in the Institute of Land Warfare. The second, "A Message for Garcia," is a magazine article written in 1899 by Elbert Hubbard about the virtues of a young lieutenant who carried out a mission during the Spanish-American War. Lastly, an 18-page general study published in 1946 that documents the introduction of mountain and winter warfare in the U.S. Army.
"That one is about getting the people in touch with how the division was born, because that's where we get a lot of questions at the museum," Scanlin said. "People asking about how did we get a mountain division and what was the genesis. Using this almost first-hand account provides a perspective of that question that people today don't often get to see."
Scanlin said that he picked these three selections because they were digitally accessible and he thought it would be interesting to this community. He also wanted to offer something intellectually stimulating but nothing weighty in volume.
"I really hope the group that shows up takes ownership of this and directs how we move forward," Scanlin said. "So, I didn't want to predispose us to any one category of reading or subject for the first meeting."
Scanlin also said that members may suggest alternate meeting places that might draw more participants.
"I really want to get a sense of what the participants want to get out of this," Scanlin said. "Do we hold it off post and open it up to other civilians who can't get on post? Do we make this a more social function where the atmosphere may be more social even though the conversations are heavy?"
The group is open to all Soldiers, Family Members and Department of Defense Civilians. The first meeting is scheduled at 5:45 p.m. March 5 at Bldg. 10502, USO Heritage Center classroom.
Those who would like to attend will receive the readings in digital format via email by contacting Scanlon at firstname.lastname@example.org or (315) 774-0391.