Conference Program


85th Annual Meeting of the Society for Military History

 Landscapes of War and Peace

April 5 - 8, 2018, Louisville, Kentucky


Title: Young Scholars Panel - Military History at the Service Academies: Three Cadet Perspectives
Abstract: As a successor to last year's well-attended session, this panel affords cadets from United States Military Academy, United States Naval Academy, and United States Air Force Academy an opportunity to present the latest research as prepared as part of their course requirements. Each panel represents an effort by service academy cadets to present on some aspect of the history of their respective branch of service.
 
Robert Wettemann, United States Air Force Academy
Steve Waddell, United States Military Academy
Robert Mahoney, United States Air Force Academy
Participant's Paper Title: An American Air War over San Mihiel
Participant's Paper Abstract: This paper seeks to explore the origins of America's first major aerial offensive during the First World War, and how this offensive shaped the development of American airpower and the United States Army Air Service. Command of the aerial offensive found itself in the hands of Colonel William "Billy" Mitchell, a name which later became synonymous with the movement for an independent United States Air Force during the 1920's. St. Mihiel was a testing ground for American airpower with the idea of a coordinated air and ground offensive to bring the full might of the newly arrived American Expeditionary Force upon the German-held St. Mihiel salient. If the offensive failed to impress the general officers both in France and back home in the United States, the future of the U.S. Army Air Service would be in jeopardy. However, the offensive did not fail and met Mitchell's expectations, leading to further incorporation of American airpower into future offensives and a valid fight for an independent United States Air Force. This paper tells the story of Colonel Mitchell's bold strategy to use airpower to support America's first offensive of the war, the methods of employment of airpower and the development of specialized aircraft for their respective roles, and the Army Air Service solidified a future for itself as part of the United States Armed Forces.
Kai Starmer, United States Naval Academy
Participant's Paper Title: John Ericsson: Naval Pioneer
Participant's Paper Abstract: This essay aims to demonstrate the innovative prowess of the Swedish-American inventor, John Ericsson, as well as the merits of his many nautical-themed inventions. The most solidly based and well-known arguments that will support this demonstration of his contributions are Ericsson's advancement of propulsion screw technology, as well as his implementation of this and other new technologies on the development of the USS Monitor. Specific examples of Ericsson's other contributions will also be included, such as the advancements he made on the designs of boilers, caloric engines, and rotating turrets. The essay will also, however, cover the trials and tribulations that Ericsson had to wade through in order to reach the success he did as an innovator, including the bad publicity he received from the hubris of Captain Robert Stockton causing the fiasco on the Princeton. The overall layout of the paper will be following Ericsson chronologically through his inventing history, with the main points of his nautical inventions being the highlights of the essay. In sum, the essay's aim is to tell the story of John Ericsson and convince the reader that he is an important contributor to American naval innovation along the way.
Karol Wegrzyn, United States Military Academy
Participant's Paper Title: Pointe du Hoc: An Augmented Reality
Participant's Paper Abstract: The proposed paper details the work of Cadets Karol Wegrzyn and Peter Worrall as part of an interdisciplinary team of West Point undergraduates. The project team will produce an augmented reality application that enables the viewer to undertake a staff ride of Pointe du Hoc on D-Day, 6 June 1944. The interactive nature of the project will appeal to a diverse audience, engaging West Point cadets and the public alike. The extensive use of primary documents such as radio logs, historic photographs, film, and battlefield reports not only provide valuable research opportunities, they also give the completed augmented reality application an authentic feel. This project uses modern technology to present history in a new medium that breaks away from the typical written work. The challenge to our group consists of coordinating with several different organizations under a tight timeline to create a final product useful to both cadets and the general public.
The cadets researched documents during their week at the National Archives and Records Administration in College Park, Maryland, and used primary and secondary sources from elsewhere to create a new narrative of the 2nd Ranger Battalion at Pointe du Hoc. The viewer will follow the entire force as well as small groups and individuals through their preparation for the operation, the assault on D-Day, and their eventual relief.
The proposed paper will detail what we learned as military historians working as part of an interdisciplinary team, what we learned about Lieutenant Colonel Rudder and the 2nd Ranger Battalion's actions on D-day, and how one presents public and digital history in a way that most clearly and concisely conveys historical information. We look forward to the opportunity to share what we have learned with other military historians as part of this proposed Society for Military History panel.
Peter Worrall, United States Military Academy
Participant's Paper Title: Pointe du Hoc: An Augmented Reality
Participant's Paper Abstract: The proposed paper details the work of Cadets Karol Wegrzyn and Peter Worrall as part of an interdisciplinary team of West Point undergraduates. The project team will produce an augmented reality application that enables the viewer to undertake a staff ride of Pointe du Hoc on D-Day, 6 June 1944. The interactive nature of the project will appeal to a diverse audience, engaging West Point cadets and the public alike. The extensive use of primary documents such as radio logs, historic photographs, film, and battlefield reports not only provide valuable research opportunities, they also give the completed augmented reality application an authentic feel. This project uses modern technology to present history in a new medium that breaks away from the typical written work. The challenge to our group consists of coordinating with several different organizations under a tight timeline to create a final product useful to both cadets and the general public.
The cadets researched documents during their week at the National Archives and Records Administration in College Park, Maryland, and used primary and secondary sources from elsewhere to create a new narrative of the 2nd Ranger Battalion at Pointe du Hoc. The viewer will follow the entire force as well as small groups and individuals through their preparation for the operation, the assault on D-Day, and their eventual relief.
The proposed paper will detail what we learned as military historians working as part of an interdisciplinary team, what we learned about Lieutenant Colonel Rudder and the 2nd Ranger Battalion's actions on D-day, and how one presents public and digital history in a way that most clearly and concisely conveys historical information. We look forward to the opportunity to share what we have learned with other military historians as part of this proposed Society for Military History panel.



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