CAPP 5 (E)1
Chapter 1Written Histories - Background1-1. Histories:
a. National, Region, and Wing histories are fully documentedhistorical narratives of significant events and actions which havetaken place during a calendar year.(1) The histories should emphasize a command's operationalactivities and should be prepared from primary and secondarysources obtained from a thorough search of key files of theheadquarters. Primary sources should predominate. Section andstaff histories and feeder reports should only be used as guides for research or filed as reference material. They will not be used todocument statements in the narrative.(2) The histories should consign, as much as possible,administrative detail such as statistics on personnel strength, rostersof key personnel, organizational changes, and so forth, toappendices, or to graphs, tables, and charts in the text.(3) Histories should avoid repeating unnecessary informationand data provided by lower echelon histories.(4) Lineage data (unit activation, organization, redesignation,inactivation, or discontinuance, and disbandment) are essential andmust be complete and accurate. Lineage data should be the firstappendix to all histories (Attachment 10).
A monograph is a separate narrative account of a particular issue, subject, or topic. Its coverage is not limited to anarbitrary period, as in the case of annual histories, but extendsacross a period of time appropriate to its subject and intended use.Supporting documents are desired. All manuscript topics must bereviewed and approved by CAP National Historian (NH), to avoid possible duplication and to ensure other commands are informed of projects with Civil Air Patrol-wide application.
Special studies are projects undertaken tomeet the specific requirements of an official or agency. Theyusually have a short suspense. Special studies may be narrative inform, a special collection of pertinent documents, or a combinationof the two. If published or distributed outside the immediateheadquarters of the originating historical office and subordinateunits, review and approval by CAP National Historian (NH) isrequired.
a. The narrative of the history should tell the story of theimportant happenings in an organized, interesting, and literatemanner. A narrative is not a series of statements of fact lacking incontinuity or central theme. Each topic must be treated according toits importance, especially its effect on the ability of the Unit toaccomplish its mission. b. Each history must be an original writing effort, not copiesfrom documents or previous histories with the exception of standarditems such as the mission statement (unless itchanges). A mere summary of dates, places, personnel, and acollection of statistics does not constitute a unit history, nor do merestatements of fact in outline form. This type of history should only be used when it is not possible to do a more complete one. Facts,reasons, background, discussion, interpretation, and analysis arevital to the history.c. Clarity and absolute accuracy of expression are critical. Usesimple, direct language, because no history is useful unless it can beunderstood. The active voice must predominate and the past tensemust be used. Special technical terms should be clearly explained.Avoid the use of CAP and military jargon. Continuity within thehistory, as well as between installments of the history, is essential.
Supporting documents substantiatestatement in the narrative. Supporting documents to a history shouldinclude:a. Copies of significant correspondence. b. Staff studies and reports.c. After-action reports for special missions.d. Organizational charts.e. Key personnel rosters.
Historical perspective determines whatmust be included and what can be omitted. Historians decide whichevents, on the basis of their importance and influence upon the lifeand progress of the unit are worthy of record. They make thesedecisions on the basis of their perspective, knowledge, andappreciation of what constitutes history.
The Importance of Impartiality.
The historian must be animpartial observer. A history-should never be distorted, by omissionor commission, to make a unit "look good". Unless a discussion isdetailed and frank, analyzing failures and deficiencies as well assuccesses, the history will not contribute to Civil Air Patrol.Moreover, presenting a distorted story of what happened couldactually harm the unit and the Civil Air Patrol.
The Importance of Facts.
Historians carefully andmethodically assemble, evaluate, and analyze facts. Then they prepare histories using those facts as the basis for their conclusionsand observations. Once facts have been determined to behistorically important, they must be evaluated to determine their relative importance. Each fact or event in a history has a certainrelative importance to all other facts or events. Similarly, eachactivity in the unit has relative importance to all other activities. Thehistory must emphasize those facts judged to be important on the basis of the units mission; for example, a unit's flying activities aremore important than its motor pool activities.