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The Combat Historian Training and Education

The Combat Historian Training and Education

Command Historian

Military historians have existed since the time of ancient Greece. American efforts to gather and preserve battle details originated during World War II, and have flourished since 1945. This proud tradition of documenting Army operations is carried on by today’s Combat Historians.
The Combat Historian’s mission is to create a historical collection for use by future writers of the Army’s history. These field historians gather historically significant data and materials from the battlefield concurrent with military operations.

About the Military History Detachment Course

The Office of Army Reserve History is the proponent agency for the Military History Detachment (MHD) Course. The MHD Course is conducted at the Army Reserve Readiness Training Center (ARRTC), Fort Knox, Kentucky. The Center for Military History (CMH) and ARRTC are responsible for Army MHD and unit historian training, which is battle-focused and uses METL-based standards from Army doctrine and real world experiences from subject matter experts (SMEs) that have been in a contingency.

The MHD Course provides a thorough coverage of the basic concepts and techniques involved in collecting military history on the modern battlefield (historical methodology, oral history, and historical documents, artifacts, and photographic collection). Through a hands-on systematic approach personnel from all military service branches (Active, Reserve, and National Guard), as well as Department of Defense (DOD) civilians receive training on the critical skills required to perform their duties as a Combat Historian.

Upon successful completion of the course, graduates of the MHDC will receive a certificate of graduation and will be fully qualified to execute the critical duties required for conducting military history collection missions both as an individual and as a member of a unit.

Combat Historians that are assigned to MHD’s will be scheduled and required to participate as a unit in a Combat Training Center (CTC) rotation and, or, at a US Army Reserve Warrior Exercise prior to being deployed as an MHD or as a Unit Historian.



Personnel attending the MHDC must have a “SECRET” or higher clearance.

Students are required to be familiar with the following references prior to attendance:

  1. FM 1-02: Operational Terms and Graphics (Feb 2007)
  2. FM 1-20: Military History Operations (Feb 2003)
  3. FM 3-0:   Operations (June 2001)
  4. FM 3-90: Tactics (April 2001)
  5. AR 870-5: Military History: Responsibilities, Policies, and Procedures (29 Jan 1999)
  6. AR 870-20: Army Museums, Historical Artifacts, and Art
  7. “Tactics 101”:  www.armchairgeneral.com/articles
Note: References 1-6 are available at the Army Electronic Publications and Forms website at,  http://armypubs.army.mil/doctrine/
The MHD Course evolved from the Combat Historian School and was accredited by the U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC) in June 2008.
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