The Army birthday is a time when Soldiers, Army civilians and families reflect on the rich heritage and legacy of the first established service branch. For Army Materiel Command, one of four Army Commands, the organization’s legacy is cemented through its historians.
AMC was established on Aug. 1, 1962, to provide logistical support to the warfighter, and since then, Army historians have been recording what is today regarded as the rich history AMC prides itself on.
In its first decade of existence, AMC Soldiers and civilians established an exceptional record of achievements, including supplying and supporting the most advanced radios, switches, teletypewriters and telephones the Army had ever seen up to that time, said AMC Historian Russ Rodgers.
“It is important to reflect on the legacy of the Army’s logistical side because logistical support is often neglected for the more fashionable and seemingly exciting world of the combat force,” explained Rodgers. “While these, as the tip of the spear, are certainly critical to victory in the field, it is the element that forms the shaft of that spear that finalizes our victory.”
An Army historian’s role is two-fold: preserving history and documenting it in the making. After historians gather the data or someone delivers it to them, the documents, oral interviews, visual images and other materials are then safeguarded and preserved within the history office’s research collection.
While AMC’s historical collections are preserved primarily for the command’s use, it can sometimes go to higher organizations or the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), which sets the standard for documents and collections.
Amidst the backdrop of COVID-19, and with an upcoming 4-star Change of Command ceremony, AMC historians are documenting unprecedented times as the Army approaches its 245th birthday. Today, historians are not only recording the Army’s efforts to combat the virus, but filtering through the archives to learn what was done in the past regarding similar pandemics.
Although the COVID-19 virus continues to pose a threat as an invisible enemy, the Army remains focused on its first line of defense, its people, as a top priority and theme of this year’s Army birthday recognition. AMC has supported the Army’s priorities for decades, including extensive humanitarian efforts and peacekeeping activities in Somalia, Haiti, Rwanda, Bosnia and Kosovo in the 1990s. From logistics assistance, aviation readiness, weapons and ammunition, AMC has taken to heart its role in this year’s Army birthday tagline: When we are needed, we are there.
AMC’s legacy is marked by its achievements, and over the past several years, the command has met record milestones. As the command responsible for the Strategic Support Area in Multi-Domain Operations, AMC charted a path to improve and maintain readiness in seven focus areas: Soldier, Civilian and Families; Installations; Industrial Base; Munitions; Strategic Power Projection; Supply Availability and Equipment; and Logistics Information.
“Whether it’s supporting prepositioned stocks of equipment around the world, or pushing massive quantities of equipment into a combat theater such as Southwest Asia, Army Materiel Command has been in the forefront of providing the combat Soldier the essentials to fight and prevail,” said Rodgers.
While it’s important to reflect on AMC’s legacy, we also celebrate the future of the command and the story that is currently being written.
“The world is changing. The enemy is changing. We have to change,” said Gen. Gus Perna, AMC commanding general. “We have to change to ensure our output is not process-oriented, but about what is best for the battlefield.”
For more information on the history of Army Materiel Command, visit https://www.amc.army.mil/Organization/History/.