Ohio National Guard News

Preserving the past with 'Sgt. History'

Passion for history runs in Army Guard member's family

Story by Staff Sgt. Michael Carden, Ohio National Guard Public Affairs

Photos by Staff Sgt. Michael Carden, ONG

Sgt. 1st Class Joshua Mann, Ohio Army National Guard historian, marches in the 2015 Columbus Veterans Day parade Nov. 11, 2015, in Columbus, Ohio. He is wearing a uniform similar to those worn by Ohio National Guard Soldiers in World War II.

Courtesy photo

Joshua Mann (center), future Ohio Army National Guard historian, as an infant with his parents, Vicki and Richard at a Brigade of the American Revolution historical reenactment in 1977 at Fort Meigs in Perrysburg, Ohio. Mann’s parents were members of the recreated 64th Regiment of Foot during America’s bicentennial celebration years.

Mann separates tangled fibers on the regimental colors of the 112th Quartermaster Regiment, which dates back to pre-World War II, in the OHARNG Historical Collections located at the Maj. Gen. Robert S. Beightler Armory in Columbus, Ohio. Mann is charged with helping preserve Ohio’s military history, including a portion the Ohio Battle Flag collection. (Ohio National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Michael Carden)

COLUMBUS, Ohio (05-01-18) — Through an often overlooked door down a nondescript hallway at the Ohio National Guard’s Joint Force Headquarters in the Maj. Gen. Robert S. Beightler Armory, a treasure trove of military uniforms, weapons and artifacts is housed. Watching over them is Sgt. 1st Class Joshua Mann, the Ohio Army National Guard historian and curator of the collection.

“I’ve been fortunate to be the one to keep this legacy alive and safeguard our history for future generations,” Mann said.

Mann grew up with a passion for history, as both his parents were living historians, reenacting historical battles with other likeminded hobbyists.

“I was at my first reenactment when I was 1 month old,” Mann recalled. “My parents brought me to the Greenfield Village historical site in Michigan and it’s been in my blood ever since.”

For more than a decade, Mann has painstakingly archived, documented and preserved these priceless treasures of Ohio’s past, some dating back to the early 1800s, when Ohio first became a state.

“All these objects represent the lives of Ohioans who have answered the call to serve and their sacrifice. It’s our duty to remember them and their service.”

By building relationships with veteran alumni groups, museums and private donors, Mann and the historians before him have grown the archives to include more than 10,000 pieces.

“I’ve worked really hard developing relationships with community groups and alumni,” Mann said. “We wouldn’t have nearly the collection we do if it wasn’t for the support we have from the community.”

Though the collection is vast, some of Mann’s most cherished pieces of the collection is the Ohio Battle Flag collection, with more than 900 guides, flags and colors dating from the Mexican War to modern conflicts, and a Medal of Honor, donated posthumously by a former Guard member’s family to the collection for safekeeping.

“It’s easy to lose the details when you just read about history in a book, but when you can see these artifacts it makes it real in a way that a book can never do. It connects us to our past.”

Today, Mann remains committed to preserving the history and legacy of the Ohio Army National Guard, not just for those who have already served or are serving, but for generations of Soldiers to come.

To learn more about the preservation of Ohio’s military history, check out this previous story and video on the Ohio Battle Flag collection, maintained by the Ohio Adjutant General’s Department in cooperation with the Ohio History Center: Ohio Battle Flag collection connects to state’s military history

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