Historian returns to his Army roots

HURLBURT FIELD, Fla. -- The 16th Special Operations Wing History Office chief leaves Hurlburt Field today to be the director of the Army Aviation Center History Office at Ft. Rucker, Ala.

John Dabrowski has spent more than eight years documenting the history of the Air Commandos, as well as assisting with numerous inquiries into the past.

“I’ve seen a lot of changes in the past eight and half years,” said Mr. Dabrowski. “Everything from adding new squadrons, to new platforms to combat search and rescue.”

His office answers the various inquiries that come in from around the command and the world. 

“We get a lot of inquiries for past operations,” he said. “A report from Operation Provide Comfort was utilized a decade later, due to its similarities to a current operation.”

Mr. Dabrowski also responded to a call from the former Air Force Chief of Staff, Gen. John Jumper, to all Air Force history offices to help improve combat readiness in the Air Force. 

An example he gave was right after the September 11 attacks.

“The wing commander asked for a study that talked about the Soviets in Afghanistan,” he said. “The Soviet helicopters were being am-bushed from Afghans in the mountains. He thought the information might prove helpful.”

His other duties include monitoring the activity of the Hurlburt Field Air Park and providing procedures and documentation for bringing in weapons back from theatre.

“This way, items used in a museum or display are properly documented,” he said.
Going to an Army installation will not be a new experience for the historian.

Mr. Dabrowski has 29 years of service with the Army, and currently serves as a colonel in the Army Reserves.

“I’d like to get back to Army roots,” Mr. Dabrowski said. “It’s a symbiotic fit – hand in glove – going to work at Ft. Rucker.”

Although he’s happy about the new assignment, he will miss his colleagues at Hurlburt Field. 

“It’s been a pleasure working with such fine wing commanders and staff,” said Mr. Dabrowski. “While looking forward to new challenges, I’ll miss working with Master Sgt. Jeff Michalke.”