LAUGHLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Texas --
Robert Marcell, the 47th Flying Training Wing historian, was chosen by wing leadership to be the “XLer of the week” for the week of August 5, 2019 at Laughlin Air Force Base, Texas.
The “XLer of the Week” award, presented by Col. Todd Dyer, the 47th Flying Training Wing vice commander, and Chief Master Sgt. Ronald Harper, the 47 Mission Support Group superintendent, is given to those who consistently make outstanding contributions to their unit and the Laughlin mission.
Marcell wrote an article on protecting cultural resources, which was published in the Air Force History newsletter, highlighting Laughlin on the Air Force level.
“I used to work as a historian for the National Parks Service, and a big part of what we did there was protecting historical artifacts and sites through a law called the ‘National Historic Preservation act of 1966’ which is about what federal agencies have to do in order to ensure compliance,” Marcell said. “The article I wrote for the Air Force History and Museums Program covered this process that historians and federal agencies are going to use on a daily basis. It was a great opportunity to both put our name out there in an Air Force publication and share some professional development with fellow historians and museum professionals.”
Another item Marcell worked with was developing a base static display refurbishment plan, appointing new custodians and coordinating a Colors, Markings and Insignia package with Air Education and Training Command to protect the 11 static display aircraft in the Ribas-Dominicci Plaza roundabout at Circle Drive and on Liberty Drive at Laughlin.
“This is very much a group effort with the Historical Property Custodians Rick Arneson and Chris Heinrich, along with the sheet metal and corrosion shops,” Marcell said. “There’s a lot of moving parts and hands on this one. I want to make sure the people who are actually sweating out in the sun and making it happen are given the lion’s share of the credit, they’re all such a big part of the static renovations.”
Marcell also spearheaded complete unit emblem updates and coordinated 18 emblem packages with units and Headquarters Air Force to help stage the 47th FTW for full transition to the Operational Camouflage Pattern uniform on April 1st, 2021.
“As part of the uniform conversion we needed to update the color scheme of the unit emblems but this is a great opportunity for any units who wanted to adjust their emblems a little bit,” Marcell said. “We’ve done the finishing touches and put the memorandums in place, which go from the unit commanders all the way to the U.S. Army Institute of Heraldry, where they do all the design work and the adjustments on the color schemes, and send the designs back to us so we are able to get those patches for the OCPs. It’s a great opportunity to think about the history of our units.”
In addition, Marcell has aggressively reinvigorated the 47th wing historian program, briefing at 14 wing and squadron meetings and four wing events, educating wing personnel and renewing the vacant historian program.
“History is something I’m really passionate about, and I think it connects people both to each other and to the past” Marcell said. “An issue we’re facing right now is housing, but that was an issue back in the 60’s when we were spinning up pilot training and we still had U-2 Dragon Lady fliers here with the 4080th Strategic Wing. We had too many people on a small base. Most problems we face today have a facsimile or an echo in the story of our organization. History is the story of all of us and that’s a story that’s impossible not to get excited about.”
Marcell has earned this week’s “XLer of the Week” thanks to his dedication and hard work on revitalizing the Laughlin Air Force Base historian position, assisting emblem updates for OCP patches, coordinating static display aircraft accuracy and highlighting Laughlin on Air Force level publications.