USAF EC historian helps secure two Air Force awards

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  • By U.S. Air Force Expeditionary Center Public Affairs
  • U.S. Air Force Expeditionary Center Public Affairs

The U.S. Air Force Expeditionary Center History and Heritage Office received the Department of the Air Force’s Excellence in History Program Award for a Numbered Air Force, Center or Laboratory for 2021.

The award recognizes the best primary or field command history office for outstanding history and heritage programs leadership that provided exemplary historical services to improve organizational effectiveness, esprit de corps and combat capability.

According to Thomas Lauria, USAF EC historian, the USAF EC contributions included duties as an Air Mobility Command Functional Manager for the five enterprise historians at the wings under the center, bringing a defunct history program to an annual reporting cycle by writing over 40 years of history in just six years.  Also helping the 423d Training Squadron, 435th Training Squadron and 43d Air Mobility Operations Group with their lineage and honors and emblem processes during their unit redesignations, squadron stand-ups and realignments.

Air Force historians are responsible for documenting and safekeeping the corporate memory of the unit they are assigned to. The main way they do this is through writing a comprehensive annual history report capturing all the major events the unit experienced for that year.

Lauria has been in the USAF History & Museums Program since 1999, and officially became the USAF EC historian in 2016.

“I've always been interested in military history since I was young, mainly inspired by my grandfather's experiences as a U.S. Army Combat Engineer in the Pacific Theatre during World War II,” Lauria said. “I never knew there were enlisted USAF historians until I was faced with possible retraining due to military personnel cuts in the late 1990's. While looking for a new job to cross-train into, I discovered the enlisted historian AFSC. I applied, and the rest is history.”

The USAF EC, 87th Air Base Wing, 621st Contingency Response Wing and 521st Air Mobility Operations Wing historians all played a vital role in Air Mobility Command winning the Excellence in Wartime or Contingency History Award.

“I feel very proud about both awards, but especially the Excellence in Wartime or Contingency History Award,” Lauria said. “I was part of an amazing team that authored the AMC study on Operation Allies Refuge. I wrote two chapters; one on Task Force Liberty here at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, New Jersey, and the other on AMC Raven utilization during the Afghan evacuation. I was humbled to be able to capture the events that unfolded and cover what our team did during both missions.”