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Data Collection During Deployment

Army Nurse Corps History Home

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

A Guide to Historical Data Collection

DATA COLLECTION DURING DEPLOYMENT

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 a given period.

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

1. Assist in a more efficient conduct of operations.

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

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

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

B. Guidelines for maintaining a journal:

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

2. Documentation should begin with notification of deployment. The first entry should note the mission of the deployment. The last entry should cover the debriefing 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 taken because of their visits.
c. Absence of commanders or section chiefs from the 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 in the journal, and file copies of the originals included in the journal file. It is 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 an operation.
d. Discussions of liaison activities.
e. Morale and factors affecting it.
f. How staff spend their time when not performing their primary jobs/duties.
g. Stressors present that affect staff or mission accomplishment.
h. Lessons learned: nursing issues, equipment issues, communication issues, etc.
i. Humorous anecdotes.

Journal File: A file containing material that supports entries in the journal. The journal file should 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 flow charts, sketches, briefing charts or slides and overlays.

SECURITY CLASSIFICATION OF JOURNAL AND JOURNAL FILES

Generally speaking, most journals and journal files developed by the Chief Nurse will not need to be classified. However, this is an area that must be addressed. In determining if a security classification is needed, consideration should be given to the overall picture/story presented by the journal as well as the highest classification of any item contained therein. The overall classification of a document or group of physically connected documents shall be at least as high as that of the most highly classified component (AR 380-5). If, in the opinion of the Chief Nurse, the unit journal needs to be classified, she/he will mark the material with the appropriate classification and safeguard that journal. The next step is to transmit the journal under appropriate safeguards to a classification authority in the Chain of Command for evaluation. FORSCOM units would forward the journal to the FORSCOM Commander, ATTN: FORSCOM Chief Nurse. She would then forward the journal on to the Office of Medical History.

PERSONAL JOURNALS

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

PHOTOGRAPHS, SLIDES, DIGITAL IMAGES

Slides, photographs and digital images taken during the deployment are especially welcomed at the Office of Medical History as well. On request, the History Office will make copies and return original photographs and slides to their owner. When sending slides and photographs, please identify the location and the people in the pictures.

ORAL HISTORY

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

DISPOSITION OF JOURNAL AND JOURNAL FILES

At the conclusion of the deployment the original of the journal and journal file should be maintained with the unit and filed in an 870-S file (see AR 340-18 for further guidance on filing system). A copy of the journal and journal file should 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 anyone wishes to publish the journal or contents thereof, they must obtain permission from the Army.

QUESTIONS

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

REFERENCES

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.