On August 10, 2022, Kevin Greene and Andrew Wiest presented “The National Guard and the War on Terror: Transformation and Opportunity” as part of the History Is Lunch series.
Greene and Wiest are overseeing a project at the University of Southern Mississippi collecting the documents and oral histories of the Mississippi National Guard.
“Unlike the Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marines, and despite its 300-year history of service in every U.S. conflict, the National Guard has no archive and research center,” said Wiest, who is founding director of the Dale Center for the Study of War and Society at USM. “We hope this will become the national model for preserving this important—and disappearing—history.”
In the twenty-first century the U.S. National Guard has transformed from a group of weekend warriors serving as first responders to disasters into a kinetic battlefield force whose units often deploy multiple times to combat zones. “This change in the role of the Guard has formed a quiet revolution in the way the country fights its wars,” said Greene, a fellow at the Dale Center. “Written large, this story needs to be understood as a matter of international strategy and warfighting for leaders who still make decisions about deploying the Guard overseas. Written small, it needs to be understood to place the history of our brave National Guard men and women into the epic of America at war.”
Andrew Wiest is University Distinguished Professor of History at USM. He has served as a visiting professor at both the United States Air Force Air War College and the Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst. His bestselling book The Boys of '67: Charlie Company's War in Vietnam, was made into an Emmy-nominated documentary for National Geographic Channel titled Brothers in War. Wiest won the Society for Military History's Distinguished Book Award for his Vietnam's Forgotten Army: Heroism and Betrayal in the ARVN and a New York Festivals International Gold Medal Award for the documentary Vietnam in HD. He holds a BA and an MA from USM and a PhD from the University of Illinois, Chicago.
Kevin Greene is associate professor of history in the School of Humanities at USM, where he is the director of the Center for Oral History and Cultural Heritage. Through the Dale Center, Greene is principal investigator for the Mississippi Oral History Project, a research initiative funded by the Mississippi state legislature to document Mississippi’s culture and heritage in the 20th and 21st centuries. He is the author of The Invention and Reinvention of Big Bill Broonzy, and has published in the Journal of Urban History, The Journal of Southern History, the Journal of American Ethnic History, the Journal of Mississippi History, and The New York Times.
History Is Lunch is sponsored by the John and Lucy Shackelford Charitable Fund of the Community Foundation for Mississippi. The hour-long programs are held in the Craig H. Neilsen Auditorium of the Museum of Mississippi History and Mississippi Civil Rights Museum.