From Afghanistan to the offices of the Pentagon: U.S. Army historical documents to be accessible anywhere, anytime

Thanks to a large-scale digitization project now underway, the U.S. Army Heritage and Education Center will make its important, immense historical collection available instantly and easily to Army leaders, educators, veterans, students, and researchers anywhere in the world.

In the first year of the multi-year USAHEC project, newly digitized material is putting at anyone’s fingertips the historical materials that enhance understanding of the past and guide thinking about current and future national security issues. USAHEC will select material for digitization that will enable historically informed thinking about modernization, nuclear weapons, homeland security experiences, recruiting, social change, among others. Now available —

  • The papers of Army Gen. Donn A. Starry, who wrote about his experience as senior USA observer to the October 1973 War battlefield, and as the commander of US Army Training and Doctrine command as it led the 1980s modernization projects that resulted in Air Land Battle doctrine and the ‘Big Five’ weapons systems.
  • The Hurricane Andrew 1992 Papers hold the response planning documents, reports of activities, lessons learned and include a fully indexed smart book that covers Army planning documents for emergency relief and recovery efforts.
  • In addition to archival material, 98 percent of our artifact collection can be searched online, including items such as Brigadier General Benjamin O. Davis, Sr.’s the Distinguished Service Medal. The United States was a segregated nation during World War II. Benjamin O. Davis, Sr., the Regular Army’s first African American general officer, was the senior leader dealing with issues pertaining to African American Soldiers. General Davis was awarded the Army Distinguished Service Medal in 1945 for his contributions. His Distinguished Service Medal serves as a representation of how a good leader, despite the limitations of segregation in the Army and the Nation, can rise above the political and cultural turmoil to do his duty for the Army. His work is directly linked to President Harry S. Truman’s Executive Order 9981 of 26 July 1948 that desegregated the American military.

“This is one of the largest single undertakings to digitize historical materials ever attempted,” said USAHEC Director Geoffrey Mangelsdorf. “Over the next five years, new material will be uploaded daily into the online search interface system. This will be a radical change in how military leaders, military students, and scholars can leverage our extraordinary collection. General officer papers, battlefield reports, Soldiers’ journals and letters, and 33 million images will be accessible anywhere, anytime.”

U.S. Army Soldiers’ personal historical materials, such as diaries, letters, artifacts and audiovisual items, are among the truly unique elements of the USAHEC collection. For 52 years, USAHEC has collected and preserved the personal historical materials of Soldiers from five-star General Omar N. Bradley to the most junior Soldiers. When digitization makes these accessible anywhere, anytime, their thoughts, observations, and emotions will inform both the Army and the public.

Access the keyword searchable online system, by visiting and clicking on “Explore.” Please note: As a component of the project, we introduced a new content management hosted system, and we are soliciting feedback for the interface and search functions. We are still developing the interface of the search engine, and we want user input! This is one of the reasons we built in a Search Tips component in the menus, why we placed “Ask us a Question” right up front, and why we included a User Survey. The input we receive from users will help us refine the system, and make our materials more accessible.

The USAHEC is the U.S. Army’s preeminent archive, academic library, museum and research complex with extensive historical resources for Soldiers, researchers and visitors. As an organization deeply involved with both the Army and the public, USAHEC is dedicated to preserving the legacy of the men and women who have served their nation as Soldiers and to educating the military and the public on the important role of the Army in U.S. history.

Visit the U.S. Army Heritage and Education Center’s archives and public museum at 950 Soldiers Drive, Carlisle, PA 17013. Point Of Contact: Lindsay Strehl, 717-245-4427,