Wednesday, November 30, 2016

7 Questions with Lee Stuart, Army Aviation Heritage Foundation

Lee Stuart is a Native American Indian from the “Sappony” tribe in the North Carolina/Virginia area. He is a retired military officer with 30+ years of service. Drafted in 1967, he served in Vietnam and retired in June of 2002. He was an Airborne, Infantry, Ranger, Pathfinder, Master Scuba Diver, and Special Operations Aviator. During his career he was shot twice, grenaded once, accidentally bombed once and missed by the largest suicide bombers in Iraq, as a contractor, on 1 February 2004 when 114 people were killed, and 454 persons were wounded. “I survived all of those ordeals because of the strong prayers of my mother and grandmother.” He is now actively involved with the Army Aviation Heritage Foundation in Hampton Georgia.  For more information, see their website,

1. How and/or when did you get you hooked on history?  
I never really took an interest in studying history when I was in high school because everything seemed so far away, irrelevant and not part of my little personal Jonesboro Georgia world. When I got drafted in 1967 and knew I was going to Vietnam, so I began studying the history of Vietnam. From then on I started intensely studying the different countries I would be stationed in.

2. What role does history play or has it played in your personal life?  
As a young Native American who was not raised on a Indian Reservation/Community like some of my other family members I was taught a different, (Non-Native American Indian), perspective/version of the United States and the History of Native Americans. Whenever I would return to visit my own tribe I started hearing different stories of our Tribal History than what was not printed and taught in the Non-Native American schools I attended. Since my generation knew that the various historical facts that were being presented about our tribe did not seem to jive with what we personally knew we applied for a grant to study and trace our tribal history to correct what was being published and taught/not taught in our schools.

3. How is/How was history a part of your professional life/career?  
I learned very early on in my military career how important it was to understand the history of the region, country, culture and the people that I would be working with. This it made our abilities to accomplish our mission much easier.

4. Why is studying/knowing history important?  
In my own personal career it was very critical to know everything we could about the history, culture, beliefs, values and mindset of those we interacted with. It was also important that we knew our U.S. History as well because many of the other countries have a different historical perspective/version of the United States of America. Being able to ensure they had a better understanding of our own history was critical to interacting with them.

In my own Tribe, (Sappony), it was very crucial for us to get the Truth and Real Facts about our own history in order to be recognized by the Federal and State Governments. Our history got very distorted over the years because nothing was written down or recorded so it has been a very intense tasking to research and recover the True History of our Tribe.

5. What is your favorite period or aspect of history to learn about and why? 
No matter where I was assigned or stationed I found it very interesting to immerse myself into that’s country’s culture where I learned a much better historical perspective than what was taught to me in the schools. I was known as the officer who would “Go Native” no matter where I was stationed which helped me have a much better understanding of what makes that country/culture tick. Which in turn it helped earn the respect of the people of that country because we understood their history.

My most favorite period or aspect of history is studying my own Tribal History. I have learned a lot about my Tribe through the use of new technology that was not available to my parents and elders back in their days.

6. What is the mission of the Army Aviation Heritage Foundation and how did it start?  
The Army Aviation Heritage Foundation (AAHF) is a national, one-of-a-kind non-profit all-volunteer organization composed of Veterans, their families, and civilian supporters.  The AAHF is acting to connect the American soldier to the American public as an active, accepted, and admired member of the American family by presenting the story of Army Aviation and the American soldier.  The AAHF is providing America an opportunity to hear its Veterans share their stories and see its military legacy in flight and in action.

7. Why is it important to preserve this part of history? 
AAHF offers a unique one-of-a-kind opportunity to actually experience the feelings, sights, sounds and smell of what it was like to fly in vintage Army combat aircraft. Going to a museum or looking at an aircraft on top of a static pole cannot begin to compare with the experiential emotional feelings that one encounters flying in these unique aircraft. It almost defies description.

“Those who do not remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” George Santayana

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

7 Questions With Jamie Jeffers, creator of The British History Podcast

Jamie Jeffers has a Juris Doctorate and a BA in English.  You could say that his entire educational career has been focused upon researching and developing compelling narratives, and he makes use of that experience here. He was born in the United Kingdom, but he has lived in the United States for much of his live.  In spite of that, he grew up with an intense love of British history. The podcast’s website is

1. How and/or when did you get you hooked on history?
My grandfather got me started on history. While I was born in Britain, I was raised mostly in the US and so my grandfather took it upon himself to make sure that I knew the history of my ancestors. Luckily, he was a gifted storyteller and would bring history to life as he recounted it. The result of this was that I developed a deep love of history and of storytelling.

That approach to history... the attention to the human side of it and the dramatic story that's unfolding... is something that I've maintained throughout my life and is something that I certainly bring to bear upon The British History Podcast.

2. What role does history play or has it played in your personal life?
Communicating history is my profession. I live and breathe British history. It is almost the only thing I read, it dominates the vast majority of my day, and it is something that I'm always thinking about. As I walk to get coffee, I'm thinking about how events and individuals interact. As I'm cooking dinner, I'm thinking about the cultural incentives that influenced decisions and outcomes. When I'm at the pub with my partner, we're often talking about how best to tell a story so that the details are included but they are also presented in a way that will enable the audience to attach to the people involved. For me, history is an all-consuming passion.

3. What is the role of history in your professional life? career? 

It already is. I produce The British History Podcast full time. It's the best job I've ever had.

4. Why is studying/knowing history important?
Knowing history gives us a sense of place, which I feel is important. But I also think it's vital to know the complexity and nuance of history. All too often people prefer to get the mythological version of history. Many history outlets like to tell simple stories of good and bad people. It's clear why they do this... it's easy. However, I think that's dangerous and leads people to strange notions about the past and present.

For example, if you don't have a nuanced understanding of the cultures and events of the past, then you might be tempted to believe that the way things are perceived today are natural and timeless. That the common sense of today is exactly the same as the common sense of the past. That your culture is the same as the culture of your ancestors, and that your views are the same.

But the truth is that the past is a foreign country and there is no such thing as true "Englishness" any more than there is a universal "common sense" and I think it's important for us to always remember that.

Learning proper deep history, with all its complexity, reminds us that no monolithic explanation of any group of people. Not now, and not in the past. Moreover, it shows us that the truths that we feel are timeless and certain are anything but I would say that proper history teaches critical thinking, and I believe that's absolutely vital for society.

5. What is your favorite period or aspect of history to learn about and why?
I'm a sucker for cultural history. I like to know how people saw things, how they did things, and why. I like to study the sociological reasons behind the dry events that are chronicled in books, so as to provide them context and better understand the people of the time. The where and when of history is important... but not nearly as important as the how and why. And often times, the answers to how and why can be found in culture.

6. What is The British History Podcast and how did it start?
The British History Podcast is a chronological telling of the story of Britain. I started in the Ice Age, and I've been steadily moving forward ever since.

There are several reasons for why I started it....

The first is because far too many people think they hate history, and instead what they hate is the way it was taught to them when they were young. Almost everyone loves stories, and our earliest histories came in the form of stories retold in social settings. The Podcasting environment allows us to reconnect to that ancient tradition of oral histories.

Second, something I'm rather passionate about is the democratization of knowledge. There tend to be a great deal of barriers between information and the people who seek it, often those barriers are economic, social, or geographic. The internet allows us to break through some of those barriers. And since history belongs to all of us, I think it's important that we make this information available.

And finally, this is the best creative outlet I've ever had. I absolutely love doing it!

7. What kinds of stories can listeners expect when they listen to your podcasts? What stories have stood out in your mind so far?
So far, we have covered the history of Britain from the last ice age up to the crowning of King Alfred the Great. Listeners will hear of the time when the island was once dominated by giant deer, they will hear of the invasions by Julius Caesar, they will hear of the rebellions of the Britons including the rebellion lead by the famous Boudica, and they will hear of the fall of the Western Roman Empire and the rise of Anglo Saxon Britain.

It is with Anglo Saxon Britain that the show really gets its stride. The Anglo Saxons are a group of people that most people are only vaguely aware of but they are an absolutely fascinating culture. You will learn about kings who were chastised by the pope for sleeping with nuns, threatened mighty Charlemagne, and who took part in some of the greatest comeback stories of all time. You'll hear about Queens who have changed the course of history and who refused to be confined to mere window dressing.

You'll also hear about the culture of the times. Have you ever wondered what daily life was like for the Anglo Saxons? What their medicine looked like? How much alcohol they drank? How their military was organized? How they handled trade? What their economy looked like? How their houses were built? If you listen to the British History Podcast, you'll have all of these questions answered... and more.