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More than history

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Robert Hicks
  • 36th Wing Public Affairs
Growing up in Green Bay, Wis., with a passion of revisiting the past through history, Team Andersen's historian now spends his days gazing at the Hindu Kush Mountains as many ancient historical warriors saw, including Cyrus the Great, Genghis Khan and Alexander the Great.

Jeffrey Meyer, 36th Wing historian, currently spends his days deployed at Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan, starting each day ready to document Air Force history in Southwest Asia, but his path of recording history started more than three decades ago with sunken ships.

As an adolescent, he started to build model ships like the RMS Titanic, KMS Bismarck, USS Arizona and USS Missouri, which peaked his interest to find out the history of those ships.

"The one single event that got me most interested into researching history was the loss of the Great Lakes ore freighter Edmond Fitzgerald when it sank in a storm on Nov. 9, 1975," Meyer said. "As a preteen, the mystery surrounding the incident steered me to public and school libraries to find books on the history of Great Lakes ships and their legacies. As a teenager, that maritime interest evolved into Naval and World War II history research until I joined the U.S. Navy."

Once Meyer separated from the Navy, he taught history to students grades six through 12 at St. John's School, Guam, before getting the opportunity to become the historian for Team Andersen two years ago.

"I never thought that I would be on this end of the history books," he said. "I've always enjoyed reading about history and visiting museums, but never thought I would be the one to be writing it."

While on Andersen, Meyers collects information and writes an annual history report and spends time preserving and sharing the heritage of the 36th Wing and U.S. Air Force history of the Mariana Islands.

His deployed mission isn't that much different, though it is faster paced. He is required to collect thousands of documents and write monthly wartime wing history reports, detailing various aspects of the 455th Air Expeditionary Wing's mission.

He said if there was a historically significant event that happened, authors would use parts of the wing's history as a source to publish their books. Since there is such a tremendous amount of heritage written about Andersen and other WWII Army Air Force Bases in the Mariana Islands many authors have used wing and group histories to gain factual information to write their books.

"An Air Force historian's job is preserving documents and accurately writing most of what a wing does so researchers today and tomorrow can use the information to make predictions for future operations, construction and manning," Meyers said.

He went on to say he views the lifestyle of a wartime Air Force Historian as similar to the people he read about in military history books throughout his life.

"I like my job," Meyer said. "I've always liked researching and learning about history. Now, I'm working in a job where future historians and researchers will be able to interpret the history that I'm collecting, writing and experiencing today."

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