THE ORAL HISTORY PROGRAM

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Abstract:

The MORS Oral History Program has its origin in an Army program started in the mid-1980s. Shortly after he had retired from federal civil service, Dr. Wilbur B. Payne, FS, a highly-respected and well-known military operations analyst, was asked by Walter W. Hollis, FS, Deputy Under Secretary of the Army (Operations Research) and long-time Army sponsor of MORS, to undertake an oral history project for the Army. The project was to conduct interviews of people who had initiated operations research for the Army or who were early practitioners of operations research for the Army. When Dr. Payne passed away, Mr. Hollis designated Eugene P. Visco, FS, then an analyst in the Office of the Deputy Under Secretary of the Army (Operations Research), to continue the Army's oral history of the origins and early days of operations research. Collaborating with Dr. James Williams, then a historian at the Army Military History Institute and now Curator, Army Air Museum, eight interviews were carried out: four jointly by Dr. Williams and Mr. Visco, three by Mr. Visco alone, and the last by LTC Lawrence S. Epstein, an Army Reserve officer. One of the joint interviews could not be reviewed by the interviewed person and hence was not prepared for publication. Two other interviews had been conducted by Dr. Payne; the tapes were found in his files after his death. The nine interviews are in the process of production by the US Army Center of Military History, under the austhe process of production by the US Army Center of Military History, under the auspices of the Deputy Under Secretary of the Army (Operations Research). Various members of MORS saw the value of an oral history program for the Society, recognizing that the Society could cover all branches of the Services thus expanding the program started by the Army. In June 1998, the MORS Board of Directors approved an oral history program to be carried out under the direction of the Heritage Committee, chaired during the 199899 program year by Edward A. Smyth. The interview with Clayton J. Thomas, FS, one of the most distinguished members of MORS and longtime Air Force Sponsor's Representative, presented in this issue of Military Operations Research, is the first of what is planned to be a large collection of the thoughts and remembrances of early contributors to military operations research in the US. Members interested in participating in the oral history program as interviewers or who have suggestions of early practitioners who should be interviewed for the program should contact either Mr. Smyth () or Mr. Visco ().

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5711/morj.4.2.5

Publication date: March 1, 1999

More about this publication?
  • Military Operations Research is the leading peer-reviewed journal publishing articles in the fields that describe operations research (OR) methodologies and theories used in key military applications.

    MOR specifically invites papers that are significant military OR applications. Of particular interest are papers that present case studies showing innovative OR applications, apply OR to major policy issues, introduce interesting new problem areas, highlight educational issues, and document the history of military OR.
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