Base historian ensures McChord’s accomplishments are not forgotten

  • Published
  • By Tyler Hemstreet
  • 62nd Airlift Wing Public Affairs
The base historian isn't someone you're likely to run into on a routine basis, since he spends most of his time by himself, poring over classified documents and writing a detailed history of McChord's activities.

"Most of the time I'm in my office with the door closed," said Tech. Sgt. Kevan Kipp, 62nd Airlift Wing, who has worked as McChord's base historian for about five years. "Some days I might not even see one person."

That's the nature of the beast, said Ray Jordan, curator of McChord's Flight Museum, who gathers base memorabilia for the museum.

"[Sergeant Kipp] is so busy all the time because he's only one person," Mr. Jordan said. "There's so much to cover."

The histories Sergeant Kipp churns out are a fact-based view of what the 62nd AW has accomplished, he said. Sergeant Kipp tracks how many sorties each squadron flies and the awards they win. He also talks with each wing commander to find out what their goals are and if they accomplished what they wanted to at the end of their tenure.

"I just try and hit on the highs and lows," he said.

While his deadlines are usually long-term, Sergeant Kipp works hard to keep a strong self-discipline, he said. For instance, when he was deployed in support of Operations Enduring and Iraqi Freedom, Sergeant Kipp spent most of his time looking through more than 100,000 pages of documents, which chronicled each squadron and sortie. He wrote nearly 1,000 pages each month detailing the action during his deployments.

Most of the history Sergeant Kipp writes goes to the Air Force, Air Mobility Command and the Air Force Historical Research Agency at Maxwell Air Force Base, Ala., he said.

Though Sergeant Kipp admits poring through pages of squadron histories can be monotonous, he finds certain aspects of his job, such as keeping a running tally on each squadron's accomplishments and interviewing people, interesting, he said.

"Those combat histories are fun to write," he said.

Sergeant Kipp also gets calls that keep things exciting, he said. The calls he has received range from long lost family members looking for people who were once stationed at McChord to calls asking him to settle bets.

"I'm usually blindsided by a lot of their questions," Sergeant Kipp said.