"History is the last thing we care about during operations and the first thing we want afterwards. Then it is too late." 

- Colonel William Ganoe, Chief Historian-Europe, World War II

Military historians have existed since the time of ancient Greece. American efforts to gather and preserve battle details originated during World War II, and have flourished since 1945. This proud tradition of documenting Army operations is carried on by today's Combat Historians.
The Combat Historian's mission is to create a historical collection for use by future writers of the Army's history. These field historians gather historically significant data and materials from the battlefield concurrent with military operations.

Christopher Ruff, curator of the National Museum of the Army Reserve, installs signs on historical uniform displays at the U.S. Army Forces Command and U.S. Army Reserve Command headquarters on Friday, July 29, 2011 at Fort Bragg, N.C. The building will be dedicated in honor of former Army Chief of Staff Gen. George C. Marshall on Monday, Aug. 1 along with the uncasing of both command's colors. Monday's ceremony will mark the completion of the Congressionally mandated 2005 Base Realignment and Closure action moving both headquarters from Fort McPherson in Atlanta, Ga.

Sgt. 1st Class Lamont Bradford, noncommissioned officer in charge of the 315th Military History Detachment, Fort Indiantown Gap, Penn., documents the 54th Mortuary Affairs company in Brooklyn. Bradford, a U.S. Army Historian, is part of the team of U.S. Army historians documenting COVID-19 operations for the U.S. Army. (Photo by Capt. Julian Woodhouse)


The Office of Army Reserve History is the proponent agency for the Military History Detachment (MHD) Course. 

The MHD Course (MHDC) is a two phase course. MHDC Phase 1 is a Distance Learning (DL) course available online with the Joint Knowledge Online (JKO) website. The MHD Course Phase 2 is conducted at the Army Reserve Readiness Training Center (ARRTC), Fort Knox, Kentucky. The Center for Military History (CMH) and ARRTC are responsible for Army MHD and unit historian training, which is battle-focused and uses METL-based standards from Army doctrine and real world experiences from subject matter experts (SMEs) that have been in a contingency operation.

The MHDC Phase 1 is a five (5) hour self-paced course that provides a broad overview of military terminology, tactics, graphics, and types of operations. This is a prerequisite to the MHDC Phase 2.

The MHDC Phase 2 is an forty (40) hour in-person interactive course that provides a thorough coverage of the basic concepts and techniques involved in collecting military history on the modern battlefield (historical methodology, oral history, and historical documents, artifacts, and photographic collection). Through a hands-on systematic approach personnel from all military service branches (Active, Reserve, and National Guard), as well as Department of Defense (DOD) civilians receive training on the critical skills required to perform their duties as a Combat Historian.

Upon successful completion of the course, graduates of the MHDC will receive a certificate of graduation and will be fully qualified to execute the critical duties required for conducting military history collection missions both as an individual and as a member of a unit. In addition, the course will be reflected in the officer and enlisted iPerms as well as their Officer/Enlisted Records Brief. Officers that have over ## college accredited hours in History will be granted the 5X Skill Identifier. Enlisted that have over ## college accredited hours of History will receive the 6W Skill Identifier.

Combat Historians that are assigned to MHD’s will be scheduled and required to participate as a unit in a Combat Training Center (CTC) rotation and, or, at a US Army Reserve Warrior Exercise prior to being deployed as an MHD or as a Unit Historian.

Personnel attending the MHDC must have a “SECRET” or higher clearance.
Students are required to be familiar with the following references prior to attendance:

1.   FM 1-02.1: Operational Terms and Graphics (09 Mar 2021)
2.   ATP 1-20:   Military History Operations (09 Jun 2014)
3.   ADP 3-0:    Operations (31 Jul 2019)
4.   ADP 3-90:  Offense and Defense (31 Jul 2019)
5.   AR 870-5:   Military History: Responsibilities, Policies, and Procedures (16 Sep 2021)
6.   AR 870-20: Army Museums Enterprise and Army Artifact Collection (27 Jun 2022)

Note: References 1-6 are available at the Army Electronic Publications and Forms website at
The MHD Course evolved from the Combat Historian School and was accredited by the U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC) in June 2008.
For more information, please contact the SRC manager at 910-570-9954.