A History of Excellence

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Michael Charles
  • 99th Air Base Wing Public Affairs Office
History is what helps us as a people learn from mistakes and shape our future in a way that improves society. The gatekeepers of this vast amount of knowledge are knows as historians. 

In the military, historians act as the record-keepers and the authorities on major event, involving units or equipment. Because these individuals provide direct feedback when requested to commanders and top military officials, it is important that they are well-versed in the history of their specific units. Air Force individuals who display an above average knowledge and dedication to maintaining the records of their specific areas of study are nominated for the Albert F. Smith award. 

Mr. Richard Morris, U.S. Air Force Warfare Center historian, received the Air Force History and Museum's 2009 Albert F. Smith Award, for his hard work supporting the Warfare Center and the historian needs of Nellis. The award was presented by Gen. Norton A. Schwartz, Air Force Chief of Staff, at the Air Force History and Museum Program's award dinner held in the Air Force Museum at Wright-Patterson AFB, Dayton, Ohio. As the honoree Mr. Morris is entitled to wear the Air Force Recognition Lapel Pin and have the achievement entered into his personnel record. 

This award recognizes the USAFWC as having the best Air Force history office above wing level. This award marks the second time in three years that Mr. Morris has received the award. 

"I think this award is a great reflection on how the Warfare Center operates," Mr. Morris said. "It's the men and women here who make history every single day. I'm merely documenting what they have accomplished. Being a successful historian ultimately depends on the people you work with and for." 

Mr. Morris won the Air Combat Command annual award based on the quality and timeliness of his documentation of history as determined by the Air Combat Command Office of History. He then competed against other annual winners from every MAJCOM and other higher headquarters nominees for the Air Force level award. 

"Winning the Air Force award for the second time in three years gives me a pride in what I do," said Mr. Morris. "I get great support from my commander and staff here at the Warfare Center and I'm thankful to them and my wife for contributing to the success that I've been able to have doing what I love to do." 

As historian, he writes periodic histories, heritage pamphlets and studies by collecting, organizing, analyzing and interpreting primary source documents; maintains a collection of historical documents and references, including a complete file of the organization's periodic histories; provides historical services that meet the needs of the USAFWC commander and staff, answers historical questions and queries; coordinates on unit emblems, lineage, honors, and organizational flags and keeps the senior leadership in the organization informed about the USAF History and Museums Program's purpose and primary services.