Nov
30

Why I Wrote the Book

FORT MYER front cover cropp 150x150 Why I Wrote the Book“Images of America – Fort Myer” became a reality on 13 JUN 2011, one day before the US Army’s birthday – very appropriately mind you. As the FIRST BOOK ever about this historic US Army Post with origins back to the US Civil War when it was known as Fort Whipple and part of the nearly 70 forts which surrounded and defended the US Capital – “The Defenses of Washington”. Fort Myer continues that duty uninterrupted until today from the heights of Arlington.  What’s on the acres has changed.  There’s no more drill field where the thundering hooves of the nearly 1,500 horses carried their Cavalry troopers or pulled their cassions with field artillery.   There’s no more trolley line.  Instead it’s the home of the elite units of the US Army.

The reason I wrote the book? Besides breaking new ground, which has become my hallmark, especially within the last decade, it needed to be done. This fort has been the site of many events which have molded or changed the world around us, and no one is aware of it and those milestones and contributions, until now. With over two years of research based on a foundation of working and walking among the US military since 2000, the result is over 200 historical photographs which cover from the 1860s to the 1960s.   The book also fills a void in the US Army story and as one of those who bought the book said “You set the bar high and you jumped over it.”   -  a nice critique for a first work.

Thanks to General Albert J. Myer and his visionary initiatives, the fort continued to be used after the War Between the States as the home for the Signal Corps School.   It was later General of the Army Philip H.  Sheridan upon a petition to the US Congress turned it into a military reservation and showcase for the US Cavalry -  The Remount Service begun in 1909 and the Front Royal Depot from 1911 provided Fort Myer with a fresh source of horses to keep the Army moving. The US Army Remount Service also had depots at Fort Keogh in Montana, Fort Reno in Oklahoma and later Fort Robinson in Nebraska which was the largest – 22,000 acres!

 

THE Key item in the book is a note from Abraham Lincoln which I discovered during my research. Until I found it at the National Archives sandwiched between two photographs, no one, not even the Fort Myer historian knew of its existence. It opens up another branch of the Lincoln Legacy Tree and published for the first time in my book.

Highlights of some of the milestones at Fort Myer include:

  • Birthplace of military aviation,
  • Birthplace of the National Weather Service,
  • Home of the US Army Signal Corps School,
  • The JEEP was tested and approved on Fort Myer,
  • Home of the US Army Band since 1942,
  • Home of The Old Guard since 1948
  • Society Circus (which I believe evolved into “Spirit of America”) 

The impact that General George S. Patton had with his four tours on Post is amazing.   The book helps remember South Post Fort Myer which served strongly as where the WACS and 12th Infantry were located during World War II.   South Post also is where the MP School was established and a chapel was built that would be replicated over 500 times across the US Army (many of which are still providing a place of worship for the Soldiers, their family and friends.)

(*The Soldiers of the  US Army’s 3d Infantry Regiment who’s dual mission includes defending the Capital and performing the ceremonial work in Arlington National Cemetery and around the Capital region including White House, Pentagon, Andrews AFB, etc.)

The real treat are the over 200 historical photographs which chronicle over time the first one hundred years of this historic US Army Post.   Many of which have never been seen before or published.

John Michael
“Preserving the memories so others will remember…” ™

2 Comments to “Why I Wrote the Book”

  • Congratulations on publishing your book on Fort Myer!

    Unfortunately, this is the first I heard of your book.

    We recently (2009) published The Illustrated History of American Military Commissaries, and we used several photos of the Fort Myer stores… there’s quite a remarkable collection in the National Archives of photos taken at the Fort Myer new store grand opening in 1943. (One showed a WAC getting her ID checked; another showed Mrs. George C. Marshall cutting the opening-day ribbon.

    There also used to be shots of the store prior to that, but last time I was at the Archives, I couldn’t locate them (actually I should say the pages couldn’t locate them for me)…. wondering if you used any of those in your book, since commissaries have been a pretty important part of garrison life esp. since 1867.

    • Thank you for your fine words of congratulations. I also considered the commissaries as key part of the Post. There are only two photographs which I included since my book covers the first 100 years and was limited to the number of photographs in the book.

      I’d encourage you to consider obtaining an author autographed copy for your collection as it is the FIRST book about Fort Myer.

      Sincerely,

      John Michael
      “Preserving the memories so others will remember…” ™
      http://www.John-Michael.net

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