WASHINGTON, D.C.— The Army’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic saw several Military History Detachment’s or MHDs travel to different regions of the United States.
The 126th MHD, from Concord, Massachusetts, and the 315th MHD, from Annville, Pennsylvania, expanded their focus to document the storming of the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, the National Guard’s response to that incident, and the 59th Presidential Inauguration, amid a global pandemic. These two teams have the daunting task of gathering artifacts, documents and interviews while 25,000 guardsmen from other states and territories are here supporting the inaugural event.
MHDs carry out directed collection of historical material during combat and contingency operations for later use in writing the official history. That collected history gives all of our service members and civilians insights into past events to help inform future operations. While history does not give a blueprint for solving future problems it enables our leaders to ask the right questions based on past experience to inform our response to current challenges.
“We are here to document the D.C. National Guard’s response to COVID-19 dating back to March 2020 to current date. We are also here to document other influences that are related to COVID-19 such as civil unrest,” said Maj. Eric Charette, team leader of the 126th MHD
While reflecting on the importance of their work, Cpt. Julian Woodhouse, team leader of the 315th MHD said, “History is the storytelling, the study of the past synthesized into wisdom. I really enjoy the impact of my work because at the end of the day you can't repeat the same mistake if you recognize what contributed to it and make adjustments.”
“History is the totality of events occurring all around us. The Army needs to capture history as it unfolds in order to have data to fall back on in the future. We cannot predict the future, we can only rely on our past to be recorded accurately,” added Staff Sgt. Dmitriy Arkannikov, a member of the 126th MHD.
These MHD Soldiers have worked tirelessly in support of the COVID-19 response always remaining flexible and adapting to anything they may be tasked to do. Within the first three days in Washington, D.C., they conducted 13 interviews, gathered three artifacts and captured 2,434 photographs.
“The only way for us to evolve and change is by learning from past experiences,” said Arkannikov.