Dr Michael E. Lynch
Senior historian and assistant professor at the U.S. Army Heritage and Education Cente
This lecture is held in the multipurpose rooms of the U.S. Army Heritage and Education Center, 950 Soldiers Drive, Carlisle, Pennsylvania. The building opens at 6:30 p.m.; the talk begins at 7:15 p.m., and the question period concludes around 8:30 p.m. All are welcome! For further information, please call (717) 245-3972. February 6, 2020 (Thursday) Brooks E. Kleber Memorial Reading in Military History with Dr. Michael E. Lynch.
Title: Edward M. Almond and the U.S. Army: From the 92nd Infantry Division to the X Corps
Lt. Gen. Edward M. Almond was one of the more controversial leaders in US Army history, but his story is more nuanced than the legends indicate. He commanded the 92nd Infantry Division—one of only two complete African American divisions formed during World War II—and led it through two years of training. He did so in a time when both the Army and American society were segregated, which presented training and stationing challenges. Almond lived by the adage that “units don’t fail, leaders do,” but when the 92nd performed poorly in Italy in February 1945, he asserted that it was due to their inferiority as a race. The Almond legends highlight his shortcomings as a leader, but don’t address the maltreatment of all African American Soldiers by a separate but unequal society, and how those cultural mores affected Almond’s perspective. On Thursday, February 6, 2020, at 7:15 PM, the U.S. Army Heritage and Education Center will host their very own Senior Historian Dr. Michael Lynch to speak about his new book, Edward M. Almond and the U.S. Army.
The Korean War brought more command opportunity and controversy for Almond. He led the X Corps during the Inchon landing, and successfully attacked into North Korea, but the Chinese counteroffensive in November 1950 changed the nature of the war. The Almond legends address his tactical mistakes and heavy casualties at the Chosin Reservoir, but generally omit his successful evacuation of 100,000 American and Korean Soldiers and Marines, as well as 100,000 civilian refugees from Hungnam. Though he enjoyed more success after the evacuation, his abrasive personality and previous tactical mistakes overshadowed his accomplishments. Since his death, Almond’s bigoted views have come to dominate his place in history and overshadow his military achievements. Lynch offers a thorough assessment of this flawed man, yet talented officer, by setting him in the context of his time, showing that he garnered respect for his aggressive leadership, courage in combat, and skill as a trainer.
Dr. Michael E. Lynch is a senior historian and assistant professor at the U.S. Army Heritage and Education Center, US Army War College, Carlisle, Pennsylvania. His personal publications in addition to the present book include “The American Way of Post-War: Drawdowns and their Effects on Readiness” in Drawdown: The Liberty Dilemma (2016) and “‘Not Due to Vicious Habits’: Local Black Veterans’ Struggle for Civil War Pensions” in Black History of Shippensburg, Pennsylvania, 1860-1936 (2005). He holds a PhD (History) from Temple University, a Graduate Certificate (Public History) from Shippensburg University, an MA (History) from Virginia Commonwealth University, and a BA (English) from East Tennessee State University. He is also a retired U.S. Army officer and two-time Ironman triathlete. He lives in Boiling Springs, Pennsylvania, with his wife Machele, son Joseph (17), and daughter Elizabeth, who attends Penn State University-Harrisburg. His other daughter, 2LT Catherine Lynch, is an Engineer Officer at Fort Hood, Texas.