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Army Nurse Corps History:
Preserving Our Past to Guide Our Future

A Guide to Historical Data Collection


History provides a basis for the present and a direction for the future. The Army Nurse Corps has a truly rich and proud history. All Army Nurse Corps Officers have a professional responsibility to collect, document and preserve events that occur within the Corps. The following outline provides guidelines and resources regarding the collection of historical data during deployments.

Journal: A chronological record of events pertaining to a unit or a staff section during agiven period.

A. Journals are among the most important organizational records of an operationalor historical nature. Journals may be recorded manually with pen and paper orelectronically with computer. Journals and journal files are designed to do thefollowing:

1. Assist in a more efficient conduct of operations.

2. Provide a ready reference for the commander and staff and for higher and lowerheadquarters.

3. Serve as a record for historical research, training matters, and operationalreviews.

4. A ready reference from which an accurate and detailed after action may bewritten.

B. Guidelines for maintaining a journal:

1. The amount of detail recorded in the journal will vary according tothe quality of available personnel and the type of operations. Entries should bemade daily as events occur and contain the date (to include year) and the timeof event. A journal entry should not be altered except to correct typographicalor similar errors. The officer who keeps the journal will initial all corrections (in the same manner as nursingnotes are corrected). If an entry is incorrect, confusing or incomplete, acorrection or addition in a later entry may be made with a cross-reference tothe original entry. The documents (if applicable) that authorize theorganizational or operational changes should be cited. The name and title of theindividual maintaining the journal should appear on the journal. The unit,command or organization to which the journal pertains should be clearlyidentified.

2. Documentation should begin with notification of deployment. The firstentry should note the mission of the deployment. The last entry should cover thedebriefing at the end of the mission.

3. All important incidents should be recorded, as follows:

a. The time of receipt or transmission of important messages, orders, and reports.
b. Visits of higher commanders and staff officers and actions takenbecause of their visits.
c. Absence of commanders or section chiefs fromthe command post, their destination, time of departure and time of return.
d. Conferences.
e. Start and finish of troop movements and the attachment and detachment of units.
f. Military operations or training exercises.

4. A brief synopsis of written messages or orders should be included inthe journal, and file copies of the originals included in the journal file. Itis especially important that verbal messages or orders be entered in full.

5. The following items could also be included in the journal:

a. Notes on conversations.
b. Observations on weather conditions.
c. Observations on other factors that influence the outcome of anoperation.
d. Discussions of liaison activities.
e. Morale and factors affecting it.
f. How staff spend their time when not performing their primaryjobs/duties.
g. Stressors present that affect staff or mission accomplishment.
h. Lessons learned: nursing issues, equipment issues, communicationissues, etc.
i. Humorous anecdotes.

Journal File: A filecontaining material that supports entries in the journal. The journal fileshould include the information listed below:

A. Copies of orders.
B. Periodic reports of the unit and its subordinate and attached units.
C. Available periodic reports of higher and adjacent units.
D. Messages.
E. Memorandums
F. Conference/staff meeting notes.
G. Personnel reports.
H. Other statistics and data considered appropriate.
I. Graphic materials including photographs, slides, maps, organization and flowcharts, sketches, briefing charts or slides and overlays.


Generally speaking, most journals and journal files developed by the Chief Nurse will notneed to be classified. However, this is an area that must be addressed. Indetermining if a security classification is needed, consideration should begiven to the overall picture/story presented by the journal as well as thehighest classification of any item contained therein. The overall classificationof a document or group of physically connected documents shall be at least ashigh as that of the most highly classified component (AR 380-5). If, in the opinion of the Chief Nurse, the unit journal needs to beclassified, she/he will mark the material with the appropriate classificationand safeguard that journal. The next step is to transmit the journal underappropriate safeguards to a classification authority in the Chain of Command forevaluation. FORSCOM units would forward the journal to the FORSCOMCommander, ATTN: FORSCOM Chief Nurse. She would then forward the journal on tothe Office of Medical History.


Staff members should be encouraged to keep their own journals. Personal journalrecords provide the historian with fresh insights into the unit, mission andpeople that make up the unit. Additionally, personal journals provide staff withsomething to share with the folks back home.


Slides,photographs and digital images taken during the deployment are especiallywelcomed at the Office of Medical History as well. On request, the HistoryOffice will make copies and return original photographs and slides to theirowner. When sending slides and photographs, please identify the location and thepeople in the pictures.


Oral history activities, an integral part of the Army Historical Program, focus onpersons, events, and topics of historical interest to the Army. The after-action interview or combat after-action interview is normallyconducted by military history detachments or official historians during wartime,operations other than war, and military exercises as part of their mission tocollect and preserve historical documentation on U.S. Operations. The after-action interview is conducted as soon as possible following anevent.


At the conclusion of the deployment the original of the journal and journal fileshould be maintained with the unit and filed in an 870-S file (see AR 340-18 forfurther guidance on filing system). A copy of the journal and journal fileshould be forwarded to the Army Nurse Corps at the following address:

Office of Medical History
Army Nurse Corps Historian
2748 Worth Rd, Ste 28
Fort Sam Houston, TX 78234-6028

This official unit journal becomes the property of the United States Army. If anyonewishes to publish the journal or contents thereof, they must obtain permissionfrom the Army.


If you have questions about journals or donations to the Army Nurse CorpsHistorical Collection or would like to complete an oral history call: (703)681-2849 or DSN 761-2849.


Army Regulation 220-15, Field Organizations, Journals and Journal Files, DAHQ,effective 1 January 1984.
Army Regulation 870-5, Military History: Responsibilities, Policies, and Procedures,DAHQ, effective 1 November 1982.