Wing historian offers information to leaders, public

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Jarrod Grammel
  • 23rd Wing Public Affairs
The long and rich history of the 23rd Wing fills the file cabinets in the dimly lit office of a single unique person.

This is the workplace of Jennifer Blankinship who is the one and only 23rd Wing historian.

"It is my primary job to write the annual history of the wing," said Blankinship. "I document what different units do on a daily basis and what goes on around base. I also deal with information requests. Civilian and military members can call and ask for information about units or statistics."

Blankinship has been at Moody since May, and actively attends events that happen around base.

"It is rare to have such an active historian that goes to meetings and interacts with the commanders," said Lt. Col. Cory Jeffers, 23rd WG director of staff. "She is exceptional and is redefining how a wing historian does their job."

The historian position requires a degree in history and completion of the Basic Historian and Contingency Historian courses.

"I have a bachelor's and master's in history," said Blankinship. "When I was in college I was interested in history. I also came from an Air Force family so I was familiar with the historian position. In 2008, I became an intern at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base and from there I came here to Moody. "

The historian, who many people know little about, has valuable information that commanders may use to help solve and handle current issues.

"A lot of people think that she just collects the artifacts and history that are around base," said Jeffers. "But that is only a very small part of what she does. Her primary job is to record the current history of the wing and how we are solving problems today. She takes everything from staff meetings to information on commanders, and compiles all that into a comprehensive annual history that usually ends up being a few hundred pages.

"She does all of this so that maybe ten years from now when we see a problem that we think is new and are unsure of how to solve, we can go to the historian and ask for information on how it was handled in the past," he added.

Because of the information they record and keep, historians also deploy on a regular rotation. Blankinship is scheduled to deploy in January.

"This is probably one of the smallest career fields in the Air Force, and it is made up of only civilians," said Blankinship. "What makes us so unique is that we are civilians and we deploy on a regular rotation. When deployed, we write a monthly instead of annual history, and it is written chronologically instead of as a narrative like we do at our home base."

The mission of the 23rd Wing keeps Blankinship busy and brings some challenges, she says.

"This is a two person office, and it's only half staffed," she said. "Because we have a fighter and a rescue mission it's a big task to keep up with everything that goes on. But I feel satisfied keeping the annual history knowing people may use it later to write books or other accounts."

When she is not attending events or meetings, Blankinship can be found in her office working on the annual history that may one day be used to help make important decisions.