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Books in Review October 2018

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Sky-Cops and Peacekeepers: Uniforms, Equipment and a History of the USAF Air Police and Security Police, by Chris Armold. (ISBN 978-0-9977766-0-7 Published by Chris Armold, Chris Armold, 33 West Dayton Street, West Alexandria, OH 45381; Soft bound, 6”x9”, 465 pages, approximately 1,400 photos.Available from the author for $50 plus $7 US shipping).

When the National Security Act of 1947 created the United States Air Force, all members of the Army Air Forces were transferred into the new branch — including the military police who had been attached to the Army Air Forces. In 1948, those military police personnel were reformed into the Air Police and established the Air Provost Marshal. Immediately, twenty-two military police companies were predesignated as Air Police squadrons.

During their time in Korea and the early part of the Vietnam War, the Air Police found themselves in a number of ground combat roles, some of which more accurately reflected an infantry-type role than that of the military police. In 1966, the Air Police were redesignated the Security Police, in an effort to more accurately reflect the security and combat aspect of their mission.

By January 1971, the Security Police career field was split into two separate functions: Law Enforcement Specialist and Security Specialist. In response to the Khobar Towers Bombing, the Air Force reorganized the Security Police on October 31, 1997, into the Security Forces with all individual specialties being merged into one Security Forces specialist: AFSC. Between 1947 and that reclassification, the Security Force had grown be the largest US Air Force enlisted career field.

Sky Cops and Peacekeepers tells the story of the force through the eyes of the people who did the job. Author Chris Armold, himself a veteran Security Policeman, consulted with Air Police and Security Police veterans from around the world to compile this artifact-rich history.

A collector, as well, Armold is a professional photographer with a long list of credits. It is a combination of those credentials that has enabled him to write, compile, illustrate, and self-publish this 465-page definitive history of the uniforms, insignia, and gear of the Air Police and Security Police.

Beginning with the two most obvious pieces of distinctive gear: The Air Police Brassard and Shield, Armold proceeds chronologically to show the evolution of the role of Air Police and Security Police, as well as the uniforms and equipment they used. Each chapter is written and illustrated with the collector in mind. Where needed, Armold illustrates the backs of badges, labels in uniforms, and methods of wear or display. All of the images are bright, clear, and large enough to make Sky Cops a sumptuous feast for the material culture enthusiast.

Limited to a printing of just 1,000 copies, any serious collector of material from the Korean War, Vietnam War, Cold War, or the early part of the War on Terror must add this book to their library. It is a one-stop reference covering the history and material culture of the Air Police, Security Police, and Dog Handlers who protected the USAF assets and personnel for nearly entire second half of the twentieth century. The historic photos, vintage uniforms, shields, brassards, berets, crests, and equipment that Armold has melded with the recollections of the veterans, makes Sky Cops a stand-out reference in the field of military collecting. — JAG

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Forgotten Soldiers of Wold War I: America’s Immigrant Doughboys, by Alexander F. Barnes & Peter L. Belmonte (ISBN 9780764355479, Schiffer Publishing, Ltd., 4880 Lower Valley Road, Atglen, PA 19310. 610-593-1777;; Hardcover, 6” x 9”, 192 pp, 135 color and b/w images, 2018, $29.99)

The United States would not have been able to rapidly deploy an expeditionary force to fight in the European War in 1917 and 1918 if it wasn’t able to draft into service tens of thousands of foreign-bornmen. Most of these draftees were sent to National Army divisions preparing to deploy overseas. With minimal training, they landed in France, ready to fight for their adopted homeland.

This book covers the entire spectrum of military service during World War I. It gives examples, including many photographs, from almost every ethnic and national group in the United States during this time. Including draft registration, induction and training, stateside service, overseas service, combat, return home, and discharge, learn the history of America’s foreign-born soldiers during World War I and how they adapted to military service to become part of the successful American Expeditionary Forces.

Authors Barnes and Belmonte have produced the perfect book for students of World War I who have a penchant for the relics associated with the soldiers who served. The narrative is enlivened with the voices of those “immigrant soldiers” who served in the American Expeditionary Force. Complementing these first-hand accounts are more than 135 photos of the uniforms, helmets, and equipment that has passed through time to be preserved by museums and collectors. Historic images of the soldiers give faces to the accounts and relics, reminding readers that these soldiers were individuals who had families, wives, and children. In this way, Barnes and Belmonte have done what every collector attempts: Use the artifacts and first-hand accounts to reconstruct and preserve the memory of the soldiers. Forgotten Soldiers does that in a dignified, engaging package. — JAG

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