Every Veteran and Family Member
Is A Military Historian
Your military-issued documents, books, letters, diaries and photographs makes you a military historian. Each and every item you preserved from your military service is a precious piece of military history. Some of your presevered documents may even be unique.
Because many veteran's documents and photos have been lost over time, and because many documents were destroyed in the 1973 National Records Center fire, you may be in possession of the only copy of a document or photo.
Your items are important because they are not just part of your personal history they are, literally, American history. Copies of one or more of your documents may be needed by a military history writer to fill a missing gap in the record of an invent. Other veterans may need a copy of a document you own to satisfy their application for a service-related award or benefit. A family member of a deceased veteran may need a copy from your inventory to anwwer a question or two about their military relative. There are countless reasons that makes your military items important.
Making an Inventory Index of your military items is very simple. All you need is paper and pen to list (and briefly describe) each military item you own. You should also assign a Reference Number to each item so that they can be retrieved easily from their storage box or shelf.
For example, an Order promoting you in rank can be Indexed as: "(Document Number) D-001, Box #2. Promotion Order to Corporal, 15 July 1961. Other names listed". If you wish you can also include the name of your unit or military installation.
Another example... a photo can be listed as: "P-001, Box #1. Camp Casey, Korea. Company area.".
Your completed Inventory Index list can be stored in a folder or book with your boxed items so that you can quickly know what items are in which box.
If you used your computer to compile your list you have the option of placing your list on your website or publishing your list in a veteran's forum.
You can also send a copy of your Inventory Index list to the National Records and Personnel Center to be placed in your military file (201 Jacket)... or send copies to the Military Historians at the National Archives, Smithsonian Institute, The American War Library, and of course, your local library(s).
If you have opted to place your Inventory Index list online you should inform anyone who desires a copy or a photo from you to send their request by mail that includes an SASE (Self-Addressed, Stamped Envelope). (If you do not own a photocopier you should ask requestors to please include a buck to cover your photocopy expense.)
Far too often the passing of a veteran results in most if not of his or her military documents being trashed. Veterans must educate their immediate survivors that although a military document may never be important to them personally, it could have the greatest importance to a future descendant. Veterans should also make it as easy as possible for survivors to retain military items by storing them in a manner and location that would never become inconvenient, but so that if and when a stored item is desired it can eaily be recovered from your well-prepared Inventory Index list.
Valuable and important history that is lost is almost always unrecoverable and ultimately forgotten. Americans have served continuously since our Revolutionary War either in war or in deterrence of war. Every military service period is of the utmost importance regardless of where or when a veteran served. Veterans should help their families preserve the histories of all past and present military family members by ensuring that all military documents and items are known to all and preserved safely.
Creation of this website was inspired by Corporal Philip Godfrey Le Donne because of his tireless work to locate and preserve many missing documents from the Korean War.
Where to mail or ship books you want to donate to veteran historians
Phone and Fax 1-562-422-4100 -- http://www.amervets.com
Contact Person for this posting: Roger Simpson, PIO
Public Information Office: http://www.15624224100.com
The American War Library: http://www.amervets.com
817 East Via Carmelitos, Suite 319
Long Beach Califorinia 90805-7549
Phone and Fax 1-562-422-4100
Email The American War Library