United States Army Center of Military History

The United States Army Center of Military History (CMH) is a directorate within TRADOC.[1] The Institute of Heraldry remains within the Office of the Administrative Assistant to the Secretary of the Army.[1] The center is responsible for the appropriate use of history and military records throughout the United States Army. Traditionally, this mission has meant recording the official history of the army in both peace and war, while advising the army staff on historical matters. CMH is the flagship organization leading the Army Historical Program.

CMH is also behind the National Museum of the U.S. Army, which is under construction at Fort Belvoir and projected to open in 2020.[1]

United States Army Center of Military History
The United States Army Center of Military History's seal
Agency overview
FormedJuly 1943
Jurisdiction United States Army
HeadquartersFort Lesley J. McNair, Washington, D.C., U.S.
Agency executives
  • Charles R. Bowery, Jr., Executive Director
  • Susan K. Springman, Deputy Director
Parent agencyOffice of the Administrative Assistant to the Secretary of the Army


The center traces its lineage back to historians under the Secretary of War who compiled the Official Records of the Rebellion, an extensive history of the American Civil War begun in 1874. A similar work on World War I was prepared by the Historical Section of the Army War College.

The modern organization of the army's historical efforts dates from the creation of the General Staff historical branch in July 1943 and the subsequent gathering of a team of historians, translators, editors, and cartographers to record the official history of World War II. They began publication of the United States Army in World War II series, which numbers 78 volumes, in 1946.[2] Since then, the Center has produced detailed series on the Army's role in the Korean and Vietnam Wars and has begun a series on the U.S. Army in the Cold War. These works are supplemented by monographs and other publications on a mix of topics.

The Organizational Chart for the OAA, and its subordinate units, including the United States Army Center of Military History

Since its formation, the center has provided historical support to the Army Secretariat and Staff, contributing background information for decision making, staff actions, command information programs, and public statements by army officials. It has expanded its role in the areas of military history education, the management of the army's museum system, and the introduction of automated data-retrieval systems. The center's work with army schools ensures that the study of history is a part of the training of officers and noncommissioned officers. Much of this educational work is performed at field historical offices and in army museums.

Historical activities

Under the direction of the chief of military history and his principal adviser, the army's chief historian, CMH's staff is involved in some 50 major writing projects. Many of these efforts involve new research that ranges from traditional studies in operational and administrative history to the examination of such areas as procurement, peacekeeping, and the global war on terror. Those works under way and projected are described in the Army Historical Program, an annual report to the Chief of Staff on the Army's historical activities. All center publications are listed in the catalog Publications of the United States Army Center of Military History, which explains how to access them.

In addition, army historians maintain the organizational history of army units, allowing the center to provide units of the Regular Army, the Army National Guard, and the Army Reserve with certificates of their lineage and honors and other historical material concerning their organizations. The center also determines the official designations for army units and works with the army staff during force reorganizations to preserve units with significant histories, as well as unit properties and related historical artifacts.

CMH also serves as a clearinghouse for the oral history programs in the army at all levels of command. It also conducts and preserves its own oral history collections, including those from the Vietnam War, Desert Storm, and the many recent contingency operations. In addition, the center's end-of-tour interviews within the Army Secretariat and Staff provide a basis for its annual histories of the Department of the Army.

As tangible representations of the service's mission, military artifacts and art enhance the soldier's understanding of the profession of arms. CMH manages a system of more than 120 army museums and their holdings, encompassing some 450,000 artifacts and 15,000 works of military art.[3] The Center also provides professional museum training, staff assistance visits, teams of combat artists such as those deployed under the Vietnam Combat Artists Program, and general museum support throughout the army. Current projects include the establishment of a National Museum of the United States Army at Fort Belvoir, Virginia, and a complementary Army Heritage and Educational Center at Carlisle Barracks, Pennsylvania.

Preserving and protecting Army history 120530-A-AJ780-005
Paintings by Adolf Hitler stored at the Center. The paintings were cited in Price v. United States.

The Chief of Military History is responsible for ensuring the appropriate use of military history in the teaching of strategy, tactics, logistics, and administration. This mission includes a requirement that military leaders at all levels be aware of the value of history in advancing military professionalism. To that end, the center holds a biennial history conference and workshop; publishes Army History, a professional bulletin devoted to informing the larger military history education community; and supplies readings for the army school system, including the ROTC community, and texts and other support for the army's staff ride program. In this effort, the chief of military history is assisted by a historical advisory committee that includes leading academic historians and representatives of the army school system.[4]

Staff rides enable military leaders to retrace the course of a battle on the ground, deepening their understanding of the recurring fundamentals of military operations. As one of the army's major teaching devices, staff rides are particularly dependent on a careful knowledge of military history. Center historians lead rides directed by the Secretary of the Army and the Chief of Staff and attended by senior members of the army Staff.

It administers the army's Command History Program, to provide historical support to army organizations worldwide. In addition, since the first Persian Gulf War, the center has coordinated the deployment of military history detachments and the collection of historical data during peacekeeping and wartime operations, including those in northern Iraq, Somalia, Haiti, Bosnia, Kosovo, Afghanistan, and Iraq.

Fellowships and publications

To stimulate interest in military history in the army and the nation, CMH sponsors professional programs.

  • Fellowships: To encourage and support dissertations in military history by graduate students, the center offers up to four dissertation fellowships each academic year. These fellowships carry a $9,000 stipend and access to the center's facilities and expertise. Although the fellowship program broadly defines the history of war on land, it selects winners with a preference for topics on the history of the U.S. Army.[4]
  • Publications: The Center has over 600 titles in its catalog. It is responsible for writing the official history of the U.S. Army. It is able to facilitate research, provide graphics and editorial support, and carry manuscripts through to publication.[5]
  • The Center also publishes a quarterly history journal, Army History, known from 1983-1988 (No. 1 - No. 12) as The Army Historian.[6] This award-winning magazine currently has a print run of over 10,000 copies and has been in circulation since 1983.[7]

Historical services to the public

CMH's art and documents collections, library, and reference services are available to private researchers.[8] Official priorities permitting, its historians, curators, and archivists advise researchers on military history and stand ready to share their expertise concerning the location of sources. The Collections Branch of the Museum Division arranges temporary loans of paintings and drawings from the Army Art Collection to private organizations that agree to display the art publicly in accordance with Army regulations. The army's museums and historical holdings throughout the country and abroad are generally open to the public, and their curators are available to answer reference questions. As a secured facility, as of 2016 requests for an appointment at Fort Lesley J. McNair must be made at least a week in advance.[8]

Image gallery


LANDING ZONE by John O. Wehrle, CAT I, 1966


SCOUT DOG by Augustine G. Acuna, CAT II, 1966–67


SKETCH OF SOLDIER II by Theodore E. Drendel, CAT II, 1966–67


AFTER THE BATTLE by Stephen H. Sheldon CAT III 1967




HURT by Philip V. Garner, CAT V, 1967–68


CAVALRY TROOPER by John D. Kurtz IV, CAT VI, 1968


SEARCH FOR AMMO CACHE (11th CAV) by Robert T. Coleman, CAT VI, 1968


CHOPPER PICK-UP by Brian H. Clark, CAT VII, 1968


S & D MISSION by William E. Flaherty Jr., CAT VII, 1968


NURSING by Robert C. Knight, CAT I, 1966


OLD VIETNAMESE MAN, Ink Wash, by James Pollock, CAT IV, 1967

See also


  •  This article incorporates public domain material from websites or documents of the United States Army Center of Military History.
  1. ^ a b c Sean Kimmons, Army News Service (March 4, 2019) TRADOC to take responsibility for Army Center of Military History
  2. ^ Adamczyk, Richard D. (1992). United States Army in World War II: Reader's Guide (PDF). Washington, DC: Center of Military History. p. 173. ISBN 978-0160378171. OCLC 813914147. CMH Pub 11-9
  3. ^ Directory of Active Army and National Guard Museums
  4. ^ a b "CMH Dissertation Fellowships: General Information". www.history.army.mil. Retrieved 12 January 2016.
  5. ^ "U.S. Army Center of Military History Publications Catalog". www.history.army.mil. Retrieved 4 August 2017.
  6. ^ "The Army Historian on JSTOR". JSTOR. Retrieved 9 May 2018.
  7. ^ "Army History Complete Collection". www.history.army.mil. Retrieved 4 August 2017.
  8. ^ a b "Inquiries to CMH". CMH. 1 April 2016. Retrieved 30 September 2016.

Further reading

The following publications provide additional information about the activities, services, and products of the Center of Military History:

External links

List of Medal of Honor recipients

The Medal of Honor was created during the American Civil War and is the highest military decoration presented by the United States government to a member of its armed forces. The recipient must have distinguished themselves at the risk of their own life above and beyond the call of duty in action against an enemy of the United States. Due to the nature of this medal, it is commonly presented posthumously.The President of the United States, in the name of the United States Congress, has awarded more than 3520 Medals of Honor including 19 second awards to the nation's soldiers, sailors, airmen, marines, and coast guardsmen since the decoration's creation in 1861.The citations highlighting acts of gallantry that received the Medal of Honor have been and continue to be regularly released by book publishers. After the Second World War both the Army and Navy produced hardbound Medal of Honor compilations. Between 1964 and 1979, the United States Senate Subcommittee on Veterans' Affairs of the Committee on Labor and Public Welfare and later the Committee on Veterans' Affairs produced a number of consolidated compilations of all Medal of Honor citations to date. Additions and changes to the list of recipients of the medal since the 1979 have been regularly published by the Congressional research Service.The first Army Medal of Honor was awarded to Private Jacob Parrott during the American Civil War for his role in the Great Locomotive Chase. The first African American recipient for this award was William Harvey Carney who, despite being shot in the face, shoulders, arms, and legs, refused to let the American flag touch the ground. The only female Medal of Honor recipient is Mary Edwards Walker, a Civil War surgeon. Her medal was rescinded in 1917 along with many other non-combat awards, but it was restored by President Jimmy Carter in 1977.While current law, (10 U.S.C. § 6241), beginning in 1918, explicitly states that recipients must be serving in the U.S. Armed Forces at the time of performing a valorous act that warrants the award, exceptions have been made. For example, Charles Lindbergh, while a reserve member of the U.S. Army Air Corps, received his Medal of Honor as a civilian pilot. Although Medals of Honor can only be awarded to members of the U.S. armed forces, being a U.S. citizen is not a prerequisite for eligibility to receive the medal. Sixty-one Canadians who were serving in the United States Armed Forces have received the Medal of Honor; most received it for actions in the American Civil War. Since 1900, only four have been awarded to Canadians. In the Vietnam War, Peter C. Lemon was the only Canadian born recipient of the Medal of Honor. However, he was a US citizen.

Operation Austin IV

Operation Austin IV was a search and destroy operation conducted by the 1st Brigade, 101st Airborne Division and the 173rd Airborne Brigade in western Quang Duc and Phước Long Provinces, from 1 to 18 May 1966.

Operation Bushmaster II

Operation Bushmaster II (also known as the Battle of Ap Nha Mat) was a US Army operation that took place in the Michelin Rubber Plantation, lasting from 1 to 6 December 1965.

Operation Coronado

Operation Coronado was a series of 11 operations conducted by the American Mobile Riverine Force in conjunction with various units of the Army of the Republic of Vietnam (South Vietnam) in the waterways of the Mekong Delta in the south of the country in an attempt to dismantle guerrilla forces and infrastructure of the Vietcong in the waterways of the Mekong, which had been a communist stronghold. The operations ran sequentially from June 1967 to July 1968.The series was named after Coronado Naval Base in California. There the American military had staged planning conference before adopting their riverine military strategy.

Operation Fillmore

Operation Fillmore was an operation conducted by the 1st Brigade, 101st Airborne Division in Phú Yên Province, lasting from 26 March to 21 July 1966.

Operation Gadsden

Operation Gadsden was an operation conducted by the 25th Infantry Division in Tây Ninh Province, lasting from 2 to 21 February 1967.

Operation Hood River

Operation Hood River was a joint U.S., South Korean and South Vietnamese operation conducted by in Quảng Ngãi Province, lasting from 2 to 13 August 1967.

Operation Manhattan

Operation Manhattan was an operation conducted by the 1st and 2nd Brigades, 25th Infantry Division and the 3rd Brigade, 4th Infantry Division in the Ho Bo Woods/Bến Củi area, lasting from 23 April to 7 June 1967.

Operation Mastiff

Operation Mastiff was an operation conducted by the U.S. 1st Infantry Division in the Dầu Tiếng District, lasting from 21 to 25 February 1966.

Operation Patrick

Operation Patrick was a security operation conducted during the Vietnam War by the U.S. 3rd Brigade, 4th Infantry Division in Bình Định Province, South Vietnam from 1-30 March 1968.

Operation Pershing

Operation Pershing was an operation conducted by the 1st Cavalry Division, the 3rd Brigade, 25th Infantry Division, the Army of the Republic of Vietnam (ARVN) 22nd Division and the South Korean Capital Division in Bình Định Province, lasting from 12 February 1967 to 19 January 1968.The operation concluded on 19 January 1968 with the 1st Cavalry Division being ordered to move 350km north from Landing Zone English in Bình Định Province to Camp Evans in Thừa Thiên Province as part of Operation Checkers, to increase the number of manoeveure battalions in I Corps in order to support the besieged Marines at Khe Sanh Combat Base and defeat any other People's Army of Vietnam (PAVN) attack across the DMZ.

Operation Pocahontas Forest

Operation Pocahontas Forest was a security operation conducted during the Vietnam War by the U.S. Americal Division and the Army of the Republic of Vietnam (ARVN) 2nd Division in the Quế Sơn Valley, South Vietnam from 6 to 31 July 1968.

Operation Seward

Operation Seward was an operation conducted by the 1st Brigade, 101st Airborne Division in Phú Yên Province, lasting from 5 to 25 September 1966.

Operation Shenandoah

Operation Shenandoah was an operation conducted by 1st Brigade, 1st Infantry Division in Bình Long Province, lasting from 16 October to 2 November 1966.

Operation Silver City

Operation Silver City was an operation conducted by the 1st Brigade, 1st Infantry Division and the 173rd Airborne Brigade in Biên Hòa Province, lasting from 7 to 23 March 1966.

Operation Somerset Plain

Operation Somerset Plain was a joint military operation conducted by the United States and the Army of the Republic of Vietnam (ARVN) in the A Sầu Valley from 4-20 August 1968.

Operation Wahiawa

Operation Wahiawa was an operation conducted by the 25th Infantry Division in Hậu Nghĩa Province, lasting from 16 to 30 May 1966.

Special designation

A special designation in the United States Army is a "nickname granted to a military organization" which has been authorized by the Center of Military History and recognized through a certificate signed by the Chief of Military History. Once approved, these designations may only be used by the officially recognized unit, or its recognized successor unit.

United States Army Art Program

The U.S. Army Art Program or United States Army Combat Art Program is a program brought about by the United States Army to create artwork documenting the U.S. Army in war and peacetime engagement. The art collection associated with the program is held by the United States Army Center of Military History.

Organization and history
Branches (official)
Post and unit museums
State and private museums
(affiliated with the
Army Museum System)
State and private
(not affiliated with the
Army Museum System)
Regional history
Uniforms and
History and
Operations and history

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