A HISTORICAL PERSPECTIVE
HOW WE GOT TO WHERE WE ARE
Complied by Gene Stout and Tom Warren
From a few biologists sitting around a table in San Antonio, TX in 1977 to a fine-tuned, year-round, almost 1,000 member organization by its 2015 annual meeting in Omaha, NE… a long journey. It took 38 years of dedicated work by natural resources professionals responsible for managing Department of Defense’s 25 million acres of training and testing lands to create, mature, and manage the National Military Fish and Wildlife Association (NMFWA).
Gene Stout, at that time Fish and Wildlife Administrator at Fort Sill, OK, was at that table in San Antonio decades ago. Gene was seriously involved (to include serving as our first President) in the organization for 20-some years and has been occasionally involved the entire journey. Soon after the official birth of NMFWA in 1983, he began recording this Association history.
Tom Warren, a biologist serving as an Environmental intern at Fort Sill, started his involvement creating the Association in 1980. Tom moved to Fort Carson, CO in 1983 where he spent most of his career working with managing military lands for sustained use by our military forces. Tom took over the task of maintaining these archives in 1997.
We are pretty much “It” when it comes to early days’ institutional memory for the Association. Other early pioneers have moved on or have passed on. We have attended almost all Association annual meetings, and we still occasionally get involved in issue resolution. However, we, along with a few others (notably Thomas Wray, Junior Kerns, Chester Martin, and Peter Boice) are the only ones who were involved prior to about 1990 and still attend meetings.
While history will always remain relevant, the days of these written archives are about over; as it should be. The NMFWA leadership has been digitizing all newsletters and other important documents for a more modern and probably more uniformly accurate and secure record of Association actions
Many newer Association members don’t seem particularly interested in NMFWA’s past, but when they become Association leaders, often they read these historical reflections and seem genuinely interested. Thus, a significant reason for this publication is to help present and future leaders of NMFWA understand our past and its lessons.
As we re-read these, often decades-old, paragraphs, we were tempted to clean them up, add to them, or make other changes. However, with exception of adjusting format, standardizing grammar and punctuation, and adding photographs, section headings, a cover page, and this introduction, we decided that the past should speak for itself as we recorded it “back in the day.” Any errors or omissions are solely ours. We hope you appreciate the efforts of so many in creating, improving, and maintaining the National Military Fish and Wildlife Association, the officially independent voice of Defense’s natural resources professionals.
Gene Stout and Tom Warren (2015)