• CGSC profs earn writing awards

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  • Harry Sarles | Army University Public Affairs
    Two Command and General Staff College history professors were among those recognized as winners of the 2017 Army Historical Foundation Distinguished Writing Awards that were announced June 13 in Washington, D.C.
    Dr. Ethan S. Rafuse received the award for academic journals for his article “‘Little Phil,’ a ‘Bad Old Man,’ and the ‘Gray Ghost’: Hybrid Warfare and the Fight for the Shenandoah Valley, August-November 1864” published in The Journal of Military History, July 2017.
    Dr. Richard S. (Shawn) Faulkner received the award for institutional/functional history for his book “Pershing’s Crusaders: The American Soldier in World War I,” published by the University Press of Kansas.
    Rafuse said his article uses the Shenandoah Valley Campaign of 1864 to consider the challenges of hybrid warfare in the past in ways that are useful to those who will face them in current and future operating environments.
    “In addition to offering a fresh way of thinking about the problems Union military leaders faced in the Shenandoah Valley in particular and in dealing with the rebellion in general, it offers an example of how history can inform thinking about the enduring challenges Western armies face when dealing with belligerents that employ a mixture of conventional and unconventional methods,” Rafuse said.
    “It also underlines the need for academic historians and the professional military to get comfortable with the language and frameworks employed by each other in their approach to problems and seeks to demonstrate how this can be done effectively,” he said.
    In researching his article, Rafuse said he was surprised that despite the compelling importance of the concept of hybrid warfare, the body of scholarship that employs it effectively in analyzing historic campaigns is quite limited.
    Faulkner said his book comprehensively examines the day-to-day life and experiences of the American soldier in World War I. It takes the reader chronologically through the doughboys’ time in the service, taking the reader through the soldiers and Marines’ induction, training, travel overseas, time in battle, to their return home, while also including topical chapters that delve into the Americans’ food, clothing, shelter, morale, discipline, interaction with the Europeans, religious beliefs, reasons for serving, and other experiences.
    The second thing that “Pershing’s Crusaders” offers the reader is a deeper appreciation for the challenges that the nation had to overcome in raising a military of over four million men (and sending two million of them to France) in less than 19 months, while simultaneously learning how to wage modern war during one of the most revolutionary periods of military change in human history.
    “Despite the 100 years that separate the doughboys from the American soldiers of today, the two groups still have much in common when it comes to experiencing what Carl von Clausewitz termed ‘The climate of war: danger, exertion, uncertainty and chance,’ and the factors that continue to motivate Americans to serve in the military,” Faulkner said.
    Page 2 of 3 - Rafuse and Faulkner have both been widely recognized for their excellence and prolific written works.
    “I am driven by a desire to add to the body of knowledge about the American Army in the Great War and to encourage my students to study military history in depth, breath, and context to hone their critical thinking skills to better prepare them for the challenges that they will face in the future,” Faulkner said.
    “Obviously, the importance of publication to a particular professor depends to a great degree on the subject matter they are responsible for teaching,” Rafuse said. “I consider it important for professors in my field to seek out and take advantage of opportunities to publish. We want our students to be able to seek out information, develop subject matter expertise, frame and support analysis based on their findings, and clearly and effectively present all of this in writing,” he said.
    Faulkner concurred with his fellow historian saying, “Publishing aids instructors in honing their writing, researching and thinking expertise, which in turn, enables us to better assist our students in improving these same skills while attending the course.”
    “For the school, obviously, publication advances CGSC’s and Army University’s reputation in the world beyond Fort Leavenworth,” Rafuse said. “It also, along with our extensive engagement with a wide range of audiences both inside and outside the professional military education system, reinforces the deservedly high reputation that the Department of Military History in particular has earned not just with our students, but in the history field,” he said.
    The awards were announced by retired Gen. Gordon R. Sullivan, chairman of the Army Historical Foundation, at the foundation’s 21st Annual Members’ Meeting June 13 at the Association of the United States Army Building in Arlington, Va. The foundation recognized six books and three articles as outstanding achievements in writing on U.S. Army history.
    In addition to the two CGSC instructors, Gregory Fontenot, former director of the School of Advanced Military Studies and the University of Foreign Military and Cultural Studies, was honored for his book “The 1st Infantry Division and the US Army Transformed: Road to Victory in Desert Storm, 1970-1991,” published by the University of Missouri Press.
    The AHF Distinguished Writing Awards program was established in 1997 to recognize authors who make a significant contribution to the literature on U.S. Army history. Each year nominations are submitted to the awards committee by publishers and journal editors. A small group of finalists are selected and a final judging is made. The winners are announced at the annual AHF Members’ Meeting.
    The Army Historical Foundation, a non-profit, tax-exempt organization, is dedicated to preserving the history and heritage of the American soldier. Its goal is to promote greater public appreciation for the contributions that America’s Army — active, Reserve, and National Guard — has made to the nation in 242 years of service. The foundation is the principal fundraiser to build the National Museum of the United States Army, which will open in 2020 at Fort Belvoir, Va.
    Page 3 of 3 - For more information on the foundation and its activities, visit the AHF website at www.armyhistory.org.
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