FORT HUACHUCA, Ariz. — Retired Col. Samuel L. Russell, with the Peacekeeping and Stability Operations Institute, Carlisle Barracks, Pa., visited Fort Huachuca and the U.S. Army Intelligence Center of Excellence (USAICoE), April 29-30.
A descendant of Brig. Gen. S. M. Whitside, Russell brought several personal items that belonged to his ancestor to include a pocket watch, photo album when Whitside was a commander in Cuba from 1901-1902, and personal letters that he shared with the Fort Huachuca museum.
He also sat down with Maj. Gen. Anthony R. Hale, Fort Huachuca and USAICoE commanding general.
“It’s important to remember the history of how Fort Huachuca came to be, and what better way to do that then to visit with the descendants of the installation’s founder,” said Hale. “We have to remember where we come from to know where we are going.”
During the office visit, Hale gave Russell copies of the letters on file that were sent from Camp Huachuca during the early years.
“Each Army post was required to maintain a copy of all the official letters sent from the post. Those records should have been sent to the National Archives in Washington DC. However, Camp Huachuca's "Letters Sent" disappeared and were never archived,” Russell said. “Somehow they had ended up in an officer's private collection of family papers, and about six years ago, were gifted back to the Fort Huachuca Museum.”
When the letters were gifted back to the museum, a digital copy was shared with Russell but he was elated to have the letters in hard copy.
“It was a great surprise to me when General Hale presented the books to me,” he said. “I regularly research on the frontier Army, and those letters will make a great addition to my library and aid materially in my research.”
Russell was named after Samuel Whitside, and his daughter was named after Samuel Whitside’s wife, Caroline McGavock Whitside. During this visit, he brought his daughter and uncle with him.
“I had visited once with my family in about 1972, and once as a captain in 1997. The museum was closed when I visited in 1997, so I was really looking forward to seeing the site,” he said. “It was neat to stop by and see some of the old family history.”