Feats of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

February 22, 2017

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers have achieved some extraordinary engineering feats during their history.

Field engineers face trials and tribulation every day from unexpected storms, not having that special piece of equipment that allows you to literally “move mountains.”

As we mark Engineers Week, here’s an opportunity to honor the contributions of the Corps by reading a few great stories about military engineers at work in battle with Mother Nature’s uncertainties and whims of violent, life threatening often unpredictable happenings. The following publications are currently available for sale through the U.S. Government Bookstore.

008-022-00359-2A Mission in the Desert: The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Albuquerque District 1985-2010, highlights the accomplishments of the Albuquerque District U.S. Army of Engineers and their contributions to the development of the southwest.

008-022-00360-6Transatlantic Afghanistan District, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, A Year in Pictures June 2014-2015 a heavily illustrated book, with photos showcasing successes and friendship mementos of the USACE Transatlantic Afghanistan District teams during their tumultuous Afghan journey.

Harry E. Schwarz and the Development of Water Resources and Environmental Planning: Planning Methods in an Era of Challenge and Change. Harry E. Schwarz, was the first practitioner in a major Federal agency, and indeed in the international community, to adopt and implement many of the ideas about methods and practice of modern water resources planning and management in the Corps of Engineers.

HOW DO I OBTAIN THESE PUBLICATIONS?

Shop Online Anytime: You can buy eBooks or print publications —with FREE Standard Shipping worldwide— from the U.S. Government Online Bookstore at http://bookstore.gpo.gov.

Shop our Retail Store: Buy a copy of any print editions from this collection at GPO’s retail bookstore at 710 North Capitol Street NW, Washington, DC 20401, open Monday–Friday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., except Federal holidays, Call (202) 512-0132 for information or to arrange in-store pick-up.

Order by Phone: Call our Customer Contact Center Monday through Friday, 8 am to 5:30 pm Eastern (except US Federal holidays). From US and Canada, call toll-free 1.866.512.1800. DC or International customers call +1.202.512.1800.

Visit a Federal depository library: Search for U.S. Government publications in a nearby Federal depository library. You can find the records for most titles in GPO’s Catalog of U.S. Government Publications.

About the author: Blogger contributor Ed Kessler is a Promotions Specialist in GPO’s Publication and Information Sales program office.


Government Book Talk Reaches 1 Million Views

August 27, 2018

Since its inception in late April of 2010, Government Book Talk’s mission has been to “spotlight the amazing variety of Government publications and their impact on ourselves and our world – and have fun while doing it.” Well, over one million page views (and counting) later, we have done just that.

Over the past eight years, Government Book Talk has featured over 438 new and popular Federal publications covering current events and topics that affect the lives of all Americans, from military history, to smart health tips on improving one’s diet, to important news and guidance on issues affecting our daily lives such as personal finances, education, and much more.

According to our page views, here is a list of the top 20 subjects highlighting publications featured in Government Book Talk:

  1. Hawks vs. Doves: The Joint Chiefs and the Cuban Missile Crisis (31,176)
  2. Quiz and History for Bill of Rights Day December 15  (28,316)
  3. Radio 101: Operating Two-Way Radios Every Day and in Emergencies (25,616)
  4. Gettysburg: America’s Bloodiest Battle (19,221)
  5. Tracking “Big Red One”: NORAD’s Secret Santa Mission (18,122)
  6. The Underground Railroad Leaves its Tracks in History (16,199)
  7. Arming the Fleet: The Compelling Story of a Secret Naval Base in the Desert (16,044)
  8. The U.S. Military Storms to the Rescue in Foreign Disaster Relief (14,446)
  9. Reagan, Intelligence, and the End of the Cold War (11,318)
  10. The History of eBooks from 1930’s “Readies” to Today’s GPO eBook Services (9,783)
  11. A Plum Book of Political Positions (9,288)
  12. Going “GAGAS” for the GAO Yellow Book (8,168)
  13. Go-to-Guide on Hazardous Materials for First Responders (7,560)
  14. Code Talkers: How American Indians Have Helped Fight Wars (7,129)
  15. Fun With the GPO Style Manual (6,675)
  16. The All-in-One Guide to All Federal Assistance Programs (5,875)
  17. Quiz: Are You Smarter Than an 8th Grade Civics Student?  (5,613)
  18. A Top Ten List of Funny Federal Titles (5,474)
  19. The Privacy Act: What the Government Can Collect and Disclose About You (5,378)
  20. CIA’s Word Factbook: Global Intelligence for Every Thinker, Traveler, Soldier, Spy (5,169)

Federal publications offer a wealth of knowledge to help us understand and appreciate the world we live in. And Government Book Talk is a great place to get you up to speed on the latest and greatest titles the government has to offer. You can also visit the U.S. Government Bookstore website here to find all the publications (and more) featured in Government Book Talk.

Thanks for reading our blog!

The GPO Online Bookstore – Easy Access to Federal Publications

Shop Online Anytime: You can buy eBooks or print publications —with FREE Standard Shipping worldwide— from the U.S. Government Online Bookstore at https://bookstore.gpo.gov.

Shop our Retail Store: Buy a copy of any print editions from this collection at GPO’s retail bookstore at 710 North Capitol Street NW, Washington, DC 20401, open Monday–Friday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., except Federal holidays, Call (202) 512-0132 for information or to arrange in-store pick-up.

Order by Phone: Call our Customer Contact Center Monday through Friday, 8 am to 5:30 pm Eastern (except US Federal holidays). From US and Canada, call toll-free 1.866.512.1800. DC or International customers call +1.202.512.1800.

Visit a Federal depository library: Search for U.S. Government publications in a nearby Federal depository library. You can find the records for most titles in GPO’s Catalog of U.S. Government Publications.

Find more than a million official Federal Government publications from all three branches at www.govinfo.gov.

About the author: Trudy Hawkins, Senior Marketing and Promotions Specialist in GPO’s Publication & Information Sales Division supporting the U.S. Government Online Bookstore (http://bookstore.gpo.gov).


Military Transportation: “Nothing Happens Until Something Moves”

May 13, 2016

There’s a lot happening in terms of transportation this month. May 16-22 is National Transportation Week, an opportunity to celebrate the community of transportation professionals who keep our country moving. In addition, the third Friday of May is National Defense Transportation Day. And throughout 2016, the U.S. Department of Transportation celebrates its 50th anniversary.

Transportation infrastructure is quite literally the foundation of our country. Interstate highway trucks and freight trains get people and products where they need to go. Across bridges, along rail lines, and through tunnels, transport mobility is a part of life. And it’s also critical for modern Army readiness. In fact, there is a little known unit specializing in rapid troop and cargo delivery to distant theaters. It’s called the U.S. Army Transportation Corps.

008-029-00597-2Spearhead of Logistics: A History of the United States Army Transportation Corps

This U.S. Army Center of Military History text chronicles over 200 years of U.S. military transportation. The “need to organize, control, equip, and man transportation resources” became evident during the Revolutionary War. Borrowing from the organized transport network of the merchant class, the Continental Congress authorized a Quartermaster General to contribute logistical support—mostly in the form of horses and river boats—to Revolutionary forces. Since then, every war, expeditionary operation, and worldwide commitment has been supported by what eventually became the Transportation Corps of today.

Corps history is in step with the timeline of transportation growth. Steamboats in the Mexican War. Locomotives in the Civil War. Wagons in the Spanish-American War. Transport from this era “was the prototype of that required for a modern war in the Industrial Revolution.” Army transportation matured dramatically with wartime demands. Troop movement in both world wars required considerable coordination. Motor vehicles were first employed in World War I when “truck convoys [carried] supplies from the ports to the forward areas.” Horsepower was officially out and “animal power would never again be a major consideration for the U.S. Army.”

SPEARHEAD OF LOGICITICS (002)

Forty men and eight horses. U.S. troops on their way to the trenches, 1918. Excerpt from publication.

When the world once again charged into a world war, the U.S. military expanded its transport mission. As it was “the first time U.S. troops were deployed throughout the world,” all ground and water transportation reorganized under one agency, the Transportation Corps. The newly formalized unit brought military might to bear in the beachhead landing on Normandy, campaign into the heart of Nazi Germany, MacArthur’s assaults in the Pacific theater, and the Berlin Airlift.

With continued speed and efficiency, the Transportation Corps sustained a massive combat force in Desert Storm. In a seven-month period, Corps officers participated in the “largest battlefield movement ever recorded for the time allotted.” Sea port and airlift operations and movement of “combat force[s] into attack positions…was one of the most significant achievements in the history of the Transportation Corps.”

us-armyThe Transportation Corps has embraced new technology and provided orderly service to the mission of defense. Without Army transport, personnel, equipment, and supplies would be immobilized. The book ends with an Albert Einstein quote that perfectly describes the Corps: “nothing happens until something moves.”

HOW DO I OBTAIN THIS MILITARY HISTORY PUBLICATION?

Shop Online Anytime: You can buy eBooks or print publications —with FREE Standard Shipping worldwide— from the U.S. Government Online Bookstore at http://bookstore.gpo.gov.

 Shop our Retail Store: Buy a copy of any print editions from this collection at GPO’s retail bookstore at 710 North Capitol Street NW, Washington, DC 20401, open Monday–Friday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., except Federal holidays, Call (202) 512-0132 for information or to arrange in-store pick-up.

Order by Phone: Call our Customer Contact Center Monday through Friday, 8 am to 5:30 pm Eastern (except US Federal holidays). From US and Canada, call toll-free 1.866.512.1800. DC or International customers call +1.202.512.1800.

Visit a Federal depository library: Search for U.S. Government publications in a nearby Federal depository library. You can find the records for most titles in GPO’s Catalog of U.S. Government Publications.

About the author: Blogger contributor Chelsea Milko is a Public Relations Specialist in GPO’s Public Relations Office.


Art and the Air Force: Top Guns Above the Clouds

March 23, 2016

Air Force art is a particular species of art. Limitless blue-skies yonder. Wispy white contrails. Gunners encased in gunmetal. Strategic bombing campaigns. Official portraits of commanders. And so much more.

9780160926617008And that so much more is honorably captured in ‘A Magnificent Showcase: History, Heritage, and Art: The United States Air Force and the Air Force Art Program.’ Authors Timothy R. Keck and designer Lori Ann Dawson show how the Air Force Art Program illuminates and preserves the heritage of the aerial warfare service of the U.S. Armed Forces. Part art piece, part historical compendium, the book’s watercolors and oil paintings showcase both machine and man of the “Aim High … Fly-Fight-Win” branch.

Each artist’s portrayal of Air Force servicemen and servicewomen show an enthusiastic championing of aircraft meets artful craft. The hefty tome features full-page scenes of battle-ready bombers rocketing over bucolic fields, fly boys on reconnaissance missions, and the fiery hazards of war. The wide, stratospheric pages are inset with vignettes of historical milestones such as the Tuskegee Airmen, Berlin Airlift, Pacific island raids, and Desert Storm.

Ah oh the pop-out spread of colors!  The apricot-colored sundown of William Phillips’ ‘Fifty Miles Out’, the algae-green fields of Randy Green’s ‘The Bridge Busters—397th Bomb Group,’ and the alpenglow-purple of Michael Machat’s ‘Habu’s Last Hurrah’ are all standout.

The introduction to ‘A Magnificent Showcase’ includes a circa-1960s quote from former Air Force Vice Chief of Staff, General Curtis LeMay, who wrote: “To posterity, these paintings will furnish a priceless pictorial history of our Air Force in a brilliant era.” The general phrased it perfectly. There’s really nothing more to add then to say it’s simply a magnificent book.

9780160925634P.S. You can continue your exploration of U.S. military art with this beauty: In the Line of Duty: Army Art, 1965-2014. It’s rich with soldier-artist pieces depicting the warfare operations of Vietnam through twenty-first century Iraq and Afghanistan. Raw grit and real courage.

HOW DO I OBTAIN THESE PUBLICATIONS?

Shop Online Anytime: You can buy eBooks or print publications —with FREE Standard Shipping worldwide— from the U.S. Government Online Bookstore at http://bookstore.gpo.gov.

 Shop our Retail Store: Buy a copy of any print editions from this collection at GPO’s retail bookstore at 710 North Capitol Street NW, Washington, DC 20401, open Monday–Friday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., except Federal holidays, Call (202) 512-0132 for information or to arrange in-store pick-up.

Order by Phone: Call our Customer Contact Center Monday through Friday, 8 am to 5:30 pm Eastern (except US Federal holidays). From US and Canada, call toll-free 1.866.512.1800. DC or International customers call +1.202.512.1800.

Visit a Federal depository library: Search for U.S. Government publications in a nearby Federal depository library. You can find the records for most titles in GPO’s Catalog of U.S. Government Publications.

About the author: Our guest blogger is Chelsea Milko, Public Relations Specialist in GPO’s Public Relations Office.


Veterans Day and Marine Corps Birthday

November 10, 2014

November 11 is Veterans Day, an annual holiday set aside to honor the contributions of the brave men and women who have served or are serving in the United States Armed Forces.  Coinciding with Veterans Day, this month also marks the 239th anniversary of the Marine Corps. On November 10, 1775, the Continental Congress passed a resolution stating that “two Battalions of Marines be raised,” for service as landing forces for the Continental Navy. This resolution established the Continental Marines, and thus is now recognized as the official birthday of the U.S. Marine Corps.  In celebration of the bravery and sacrifice of all the U.S. veterans and the U.S. Marine Corps birthday, Government Book talk is highlighting the following new veterans and military titles currently available from the U.S Government Bookstore.

Federal Benefits for Veterans, dependents, and Survivors 2014Federal Benefits for Veterans, Dependents, and Survivors 2014

Federal Benefits for Veterans, Dependents and Survivors is the annual publication from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs that provides a complete summary of all Federal benefits available to qualified American veterans of the United States armed forces, including their dependents and survivors. It is the must-have resource for veterans and veterans’ families to use to ensure that they have the latest information on the benefits and rights earned by these veterans in service of our nation.

The Noncommissioned Officer and Petty Officer: Backbone of the Armed ForcesThe Noncommissioned Officer and Petty Officer

A first of its kind, this book—of, by, and for the noncommissioned officer and petty officer—is a comprehensive explanation of the enlisted leader across the U.S. Armed Services. It complements The Armed Forces Officer, the latest edition of which was published by NDU Press in 2007, as well as the Services’ NCO/PO manuals and handbooks.

Written by a team of Active, Reserve, and retired senior enlisted leaders from all Service branches, this book defines and describes how NCOs/POs fit into an organization, centers them in the Profession of Arms, explains their dual roles of complementing the officer and enabling the force, and exposes their international engagement. As Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Martin E. Dempsey writes in his foreword to the book, “We know noncommissioned officers and petty officers to have exceptional competence, professional character, and soldierly grit—they are exemplars of our Profession of Arms.”

Aspirational and fulfilling, this book helps prepare young men and women who strive to become NCOs/POs, re-inspires serving enlisted leaders, and stimulates reflection by those who have retired from or left active service. It also gives those who have never worn the uniform a better understanding of who these exceptional men and women are, and why they are properly known as the “Backbone of the Armed Forces.”

U.S. Marines in the Gulf War, 1990-1991_Liberating KuwaitU.S. Marines in the Gulf War, 1990-1991: Liberating Kuwait

Liberating Kuwait is the official history of U.S. Marine Corps operations during the 1990-1991 Gulf War with Iraq. It covers such topics as Marines in the embassies in Kuwait and Iraq, Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm, the Battle of al-Khafji, the liberation of Kuwait, and the amphibious feint. This publication contains 24 color maps and numerous black and white and color photographs.

Marine Corps Planning Process

Marine Corps Planning Process2The Marine Corps Planning Process (MCPP) supports the Marine Corps warfighting philosophy of maneuver warfare. Since planning is an essential and significant part of command and control, the Marine Corps Planning Process recognizes the commander’s central role as the decision maker.  It helps organize the thought processes of a commander and his staff throughout the planning and execution of military operations.

The Marine Corps Planning Process focuses on the mission and the threat. It capitalizes on the principle of unity of effort and supports the establishment and maintenance of tempo. The Marine Corps Planning Process is applicable across the range of military operations and is designed for use at any echelon of command. The process can be as detailed or as abbreviated as time, staff resources, experience, and the situation permit.

You Cannot Surge TrustYou Cannot Surge Trust: Combined Naval Operations of the Royal Australian Navy, Canadian Navy, Royal Navy, and United States Navy, 1991-2003

You Cannot Surge Trust comprises four case studies in which naval historians from the U.S., Canada, Australia, and the U.K. explain how naval powers created a multinational, or “combined,” framework of interoperability while under national rules of engagement. The four crises addressed are maritime interdiction operations during the First Gulf War (1990-1991), and later in 2001-2003 as part of Operation Enduring Freedom; naval operations off the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia in Operation Sharp Guard (1991-1996); and peacekeeping operations in East Timor during Operation Stabilise (1999-2000).

Emergency War Surgery 4th United States RevisionEmergency War Surgery 4th United States Revision

This 4th revision of this popular Borden Institute reference on emergency surgery includes everything from war wounds to anesthesia, even covering gynecologic and pediatric emergencies, making this a must-have medical reference for civilian emergency medical personnel as well as military doctors and nurses.

U.S. Coast Guard Incident Management Handbook 2014The Coast Guard Incident Management Handbook (IMH) is designed to assist Coast Guard personnel in the use of the National Incident Management System (NIMS) and the Incident Command System (ICS) during response operations and planned events. The Incident Management Handbook is an easy reference job aid for responders. It is not a policy document, but rather guidance for response personnel.

This new 2014 version of the Incident Management Handbook includes revisions informed by references (b) through (m), after action reports and lessons learned published after 2005, an internal field level review, and an external review by federal, state, local, and private sector maritime partners.

HOW DO I OBTAIN THESE PUBLICATIONS?

Shop Online Anytime: You can buy these and other publications (with FREE Standard Shipping worldwide) from the U.S. Government Online Bookstore website at http://bookstore.gpo.gov:

Shop our Retail Store: Buy a copy of any print editions from this collection at GPO’s retail bookstore at 710 North Capitol Street NW, Washington, DC 20401, open Monday–Friday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., except Federal holidays, Call (202) 512-0132 for information or to arrange in-store pick-up.

Order by Phone: Call our Customer Contact Center Monday through Friday, 8 am to 5:30 pm Eastern (except US Federal holidays). From US and Canada, call toll-free 1.866.512.1800. DC or International customers call +1.202.512.1800.

Visit a Federal Depository Library: Search for these in a nearby Federal depository library.

About the author: Trudy Hawkins is Senior Marketing and Promotions Specialist in GPO’s Publication & Information Sales Division supporting the U.S. Government Online Bookstore (http://bookstore.gpo.gov).


Agency of the Month: US Army Center of Military History

May 14, 2013

CMH_AgencyoftheMonth_Slide

We are starting a new series to feature various Federal agencies of note as Agency of the Month. With it being National Military Appreciation Month in May, Armed Forces Day this Friday and Memorial Day coming up in under two weeks, it is appropriate that we highlight one of our most distinguished and prolific agency publishers: the United States Army Center of Military History.

The Center’s Mission

What is the CMH’s mission? The Center of Military History (or CMH to military history buffs and cognoscenti) reports to the Administrative Assistant to the Secretary of the Army and is the primary historical branch for the Army. According to its website on its Origins, the Center is responsible for the appropriate use of history throughout the United States Army which encompasses these tasks:

  • Recording the official history of the Army in both peace and war, including written and oral history;
  • Advising the Army Staff on historical matters;
  • Providing historical support to the Army Secretariat and Staff, contributing essential background information for decision making, staff actions, command information programs, and public statements by Army officials;
  • Expanding its role in the vital areas of military history education, including working with Army schools to ensure that the study of history is a significant part of the training of officers and noncommissioned officers;
  • Managing the Army’s museum system and historical artifacts (See photo below);
  • Introducing automated data-retrieval systems and maintaining an Army history archive and publications list;
  • Maintaining the organizational history of Army units, allowing the Center to provide units of the Regular Army, the Army National Guard, and the Army Reserve with certificates of their lineage and honors and other historical material concerning their organizations.

Westphal-views-CMH-Museum

Image: (Fort Belvoir, Virginia, May 30, 2012)–Under Secretary of the Army Dr. Joseph W. Westphal visited the U.S. Army Center of Military History’s Museum Support Center Facility to view the impressive collection of over 16,000 pieces of American history housed in the state-of-the-art facility. Image Source: United States Army

Today, the Center is made up of a team of distinguished military historians, translators, editors, archivists, and even cartographers to accurately record, analyze and publish the Army’s history in all its forms.  These dedicated professionals live by early 20th century philosopher George Santayana’s motto, who wrote that “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”

Research Focus Areas

Under the direction of the Chief of Military History and his principal adviser, the Army’s Chief Historian, CMH’s staff is involved in dozens of major writing projects at any one time. Topics can range from those that involve new research such as traditional studies in operational and administrative history (from the present on back) or the examination of such areas as procurement, peacekeeping, and the global war on terror, to name a few.

The Center serves as a clearing-house for all oral history programs in the Army, as well as conducting and preserving its own oral history collections, including those from the Vietnam War, Desert Storm, and the many recent operations.  Its famous end-of-tour interviews of officials within the Army Secretariat and Staff are critical for providing a basis for its annual histories of the Department of the Army.

“Famous and Favorite” CMH Publications

With hundreds of top-quality publications available from the Center of Military History, and many of these award-winning books, it’s hard to choose just a few, so I’ll highlight some currently available titles that are not only my personal favorites, but that also just happen to be customer favorites and best-sellers as well.

Civil War Sesquicentennial Series

The Center traces its lineage back to those historians under the Secretary of War who compiled the Official Records of the Rebellion, a monumental history of the Civil War begun in 1874. Today with America honoring the 150th anniversary of the Civil War, the Center returns to those roots by producing a series of commemorative campaign brochures for the Civil War Sesquicentennial.

The Civil-War-Begins: Opening Clashes 1861 a Center of Military History publication 75-2The first title in this series, The Civil War Begins: Opening Clashes, 1861, is already out and describes those confusing and bloody early battles. (Read our earlier review of this title on this blog, entitled First Blood: Year One of the War Between the States.)

How to obtain The Civil War Begins: Opening Clashes, 1861?  Order it from the U.S. Government Bookstore website:

Additional brochures covering Chancellorsville, Vicksburg and Gettysburg are due out after Memorial Day.

Army History Bulletin

One of the Center’s most popular publications for the public and military alike is its best-selling quarterly journal entitled “ Army History: The Professional Bulletin of Army History.”

Army History: Professional Bulletin of U.S. Army History Spring-2013_AH87This full-color magazine has articles spanning the gamut of Army history topics by a myriad of knowledgeable authors. For example, the Spring 2013 issue features these guest articles:  “The Doughboys Make Good: American Victories at St. Mihiel and Blanc Mont Ridge“, by Mark E. Grotelueschen and “The Indomitable Dr. Augusta: The First Black Physician in the U.S. Army“, by Gerald S. Henig.

Regular columns in Army History include: News Notes, U.S. Army Artifact Spotlight, Book Reviews and Chief Historian’s Footnote.

How can I obtain the Army History: The Professional Bulletin of Army History?

World War II Collected Works

Perhaps my personal favorite is The U.S. Army and World War II: Collected Works (DVD). It is a comprehensive DVD compilation of PDFs of every book on World War II that the Center of Military History every published, which encompasses an astonishing 156 volumes!

The U.S. Army and World War II: Collected Works (DVD)For fans of World War 2 history, it doesn’t get any better—or more comprehensive—than this, as battles, tactics, and outcomes are sourced straight from those who were in the thick of things and analyzed by top historical experts.

How can I obtain “The U.S. Army and World War II: Collected Works (DVD)”?

Thus, as we honor our members of the Armed Forces this week and remember our lost servicemen and women on Memorial Day, we can be comforted by the fact that the dedicated team at the Center of Military History is there to ensure that their sacrifice, wisdom and experiences are not forgotten.

About the author: Government Book Talk Editor Michele Bartram is Promotions Manager for GPO’s Publication and Information Sales Division in Washington, DC, and is responsible for online and offline marketing of the US Government Online Bookstore (http://bookstore.gpo.gov) and promoting Federal government content to the public.


Shock and Awe: 3 Inspiring Wall Calendars for 2013

January 11, 2013

Shock and awe were the terms that came to mind when these three wall calendars / event planners came across my desk this week.

Shock came from the “I didn’t know that!?” response to the fascinating facts and awe as in “How did they take such awe-inspiring photos”? And the final “Awww” as in “Awww, shucks!” because there are only limited quantities available (under 100 each), so if you don’t act immediately, they’ll be gone! In fact, our supply of the National Park’s Service famous National Historic Landmarks calendar last year sold out in a few hours, and we expect this year to be more of the same.

In spite of our now digital world, wall calendars are still useful as a quick visual reference for you, your family or even your team at the office. And with these particular calendars on your wall this year, you will also be inspired to see the beauty in nature both far and near. As Anne Frank said, “Think of all the beauty still left around you and be happy.

Let’s take a peek at these three terrific calendars…


The National Historic Landmark 2013 Event Planner Calendar

Each fall, the National Park Service (NPS) holds a public photo contest to choose “fantastic photographs that illustrate the significance of any of the over 2,500 National Historic Landmarks, our nation’s most significant treasures.”  They select one image from each of the 13 National Park Service regions to be included in their annual calendar, with the winning photograph gracing the cover. (There is a separate photo contest for National Natural Landmarks as well.)

What is a U.S. National Historic Landmark, you ask? It may be “a historic building, site, structure, object, or district,” but it must be a “nationally significant historic place” that possesses “exceptional value or quality in illustrating or interpreting the heritage of the United States” as designated by the U.S. Secretary of the Interior.

The goal of their annual National Historic Landmark Photo Contest, says NPS:

“…is to encourage people to discover and explore landmark sites across the country and be inspired by our past. Based on this year’s pool of exceptional photographs, connections were made…Perhaps this year’s winning entries will spark the urge to explore the country’s vast array of more than 2,500 National Historic Landmarks, to seek out the stories that connect our rich history, and share your own views in next year’s contest.”

This 13-month wall calendar / event planner runs from January 2013 through January 2014 and features the winning photographs from the National Park Service’s Thirteenth Annual National Historic Landmarks (NHL) Photo Contest in 2012.

Different this year is the inclusion of bonus contest submission photos on each calendar page, giving even more eye candy every month for us lucky few who have the calendar.

National Historic Landmarks Photo Contest 2013 Calendar front cover

Image: Front of the 2013 NHL calendar shows some of the winning public photos. Listed from top down, left to right: 

  • This year’s winning image of Saugus Iron Works National Historic Site in Saugus, Massachusetts, takes us back in time to the early industry of the 17th century, represented by scenic waterwheels and forge. Here, European iron makers brought their much-needed skills to a young Massachusetts colony (Photo by Don Woods).
  • One of the “bonus” photos is of Hay House staircase in Macon, Georgia (Photo by Andrew Wood).
  • Holy Assumption Orthodox Church, Alaska, dates from the 1890s (Photo by Dawn Wilson).
  • Charleston Market Hall and Sheds, South Carolina, is one of the last surviving 19th century American market complexes (Photo by Steven Hyatt).
  • Stanton Hall, Mississippi, represents Natchez’s wealth and opulence on the eve of the Civil War (Photo by Mike Talplacido).
  • Pike’s Peak, Colorado, a National Historic Landmark, seen from Garden of the Gods, a National Natural Landmark (Photo by Dawn Wilson).
  • Nevada Northern Railway, East Ely Yards, Nevada, is the best-preserved, least-altered, and most complete main yard complex remaining from the steam railroad era (Photo by Jen Dalley).
  • Schooner Alma (NPS), California, built in 1891, is the only survivor of a once-typical American vessel (Photo by John Conway).

National Historic Landmark 2012 Photo Contest Bodie Historic District California

Image: One of the 2012 National Historic Landmark Photo Contest Honorable Mentions in this year’s calendar. Depicts Bodie Historic District, a genuine California gold-mining ghost town from the late 1800’s that was abandoned in the mid-1900’s. Bodie State Historic Park is located in the Bodie Hills east of the Sierra Nevada mountain range in Mono County, California, approximately 75 miles (120 km) southeast of Lake Tahoe (Photo by Joe Wenninger).


NASA Science 2013 Event Planner / Wall Calendar

For this second wall calendar we leave the confines of earth and reach for the stars with the NASA Science 2013: Changing the Way We View the Earth, Our Sun, and the Universe wall calendar.

NASA Science 2013 Calendar front cover

It features a vast array of rare or never-before-seen phenomena as seen from NASA space photography in stunning full color.

In addition to showing U.S. national holidays, the calendar also includes all the moon phases, a nice touch!

NASA Science 2013 Wall Calendar back cover

Image: Back of calendar shows insets of the monthly features, including:

  • a Deep Space Dragonfish nebula;
  • a massive cloud hole over Australia;
  • probing the edge of our atmosphere and jet streams;
  • an untouched crater on the Moon as a potential lunar settlement site;
  • a supernova stellar explosion;
  • blackouts in the East Coast from “derecho” thunderstorms;
  • Astronauts’ view of the Southern Lights that shifted unexpectedly;
  • NASA’s Curiosity rover lands safely on Mars;
  • tracking the fastest moving pulsar ever seen in space;
  • following the “greening” of the desert as Saudi Arabians tap ancient underground Ice Age water reserves;
  • rare “transit” of Venus passing in front of the sun; and
  • mapping impact craters on the planet Mercury.

Source: NASA / Jet Propulsion Laboratory-CalTech.

Space nuts (and “Big Bang Theory” fans) will be thrilled with this large calendar and its fascinating facts and stunning photos about space exploration and space-based science.


U.S. Geological Survey 2013 Event Planner/ Wall Calendar

This year’s U.S. Geological Survey’s calendar gives an eye-catching glimpse into the many facets of USGS and describes how their science is an integral part of decision-making in the U.S. and around the world. This calendar provides a dramatic glimpse at the changing world around us and how U.S. scientists are responding to these changes.

USGS 2013 Calendar front cover

For each month, descriptions of the various USGS service areas are shown along with dramatic full-color photographs or graphics giving timely examples, such as USGS work in: assessing invasive species like the high-leaping Asian carp; studying the effects of hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” on the environment; remote sensing to find precious metals in Afghanistan; tracking flooding such as happened in North Dakota; and mapping earthquakes.

USGS 2013 Calendar Eastern Earthquakes page

Image: The East Coast portion of the USGS National Seismic Hazard map showing all earthquakes of 3.0 magnitude or greater that have been detected since 1974. Certainly those of us in the Washington area felt it keenly when the 5.8 magnitude quake based in Mineral, Virginia, hit on August 23, 2011. Coincidentally, another quake occurred yesterday in the same spot… yikes! Luckily, it was only a 2.0.

This calendar is ideal for anyone interested in natural disasters and earth science, and stumping your friends with interesting science facts!

To learn more about the USGS, you may want to read our earlier blog post, US Geological Survey and the Science of Hurricanes.


How can I buy these wall calendars?

  • Buy them at GPO’s retail bookstore at 710 North Capitol Street NW, Washington, DC 20401, open Monday–Friday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., except Federal holidays, (202) 512-0132.

About the Author:  Michele Bartram is Ecommerce and Promotions Manager for GPO’s Publication and Information Sales Division in Washington, DC, and is responsible for online and offline marketing of the US Government Online Bookstore (http://bookstore.gpo.gov) and promoting Federal government content to the public.


Wings in Orbit: An Interview, Part II

July 28, 2011

On Tuesday, we posted the first of a two-part interview about Wings in Orbit: Scientific and Engineering Legacies of the Space Shuttle, 1971-2010, a new book published by NASA to mark the ending of the U.S. Space Shuttle Program. Here’s Part 2 of that interview with Robert Crippen, the pilot of the Space Shuttle Columbia’s first orbital flight into space, Dr. Helen Lane, Editor-in Chief of Wings in Orbit, Wayne Hale, Executive Editor, and Dr. Kamlesh Lulla, Co-Editor.

 GovBookTalk: Wings in Orbit is beautifully illustrated. Do you have a favorite photograph or other image?

 Bob Crippen: My favorite is the cover shot of the Orbiter in space.

 Helen Lane: Every person involved with this book has a favorite, so there are at least 300 favorites, depending on who you asked.  I was so involved with each graphic that it is impossible to decide.  One of the privileges of working for NASA is the wonderful images and our graphic artists.  We had two outstanding artists to provide these images.

However, I am partial to the first protein crystal, shown on page 433, and the flight of the 747 carrying the orbiter over the desert, page 109. The photos of preparing the Space Shuttle for flight at the Kennedy Space Center are fantastic, but because we had to reduce the size, we did not get the full benefit.  All the photos and many of the graphics are available online through the Johnson Space Center or Kennedy Space Center.

Kamlesh Lulla: In my view, the Space Shuttle provided the scientific community with stunning views of our own home planet. It captured both the natural beauty and human drama: the book contains examples of both. My favorite image in the book is oil fires inKuwait, imaged by the Shuttle crew during a 1991 flight.

Wayne Hale: I particularly like the one of the Shuttle silhouetted against the sunrise colors of the atmosphere.  But there are so many beautiful illustrations, it is hard to pick out just one.

GovBookTalk: From your perspective, how has the Shuttle program advanced space exploration and how will that be reflected in NASA’s future endeavors?

Bob Crippen: It has shown we can operate on a frequent basis of sending crews in space, but more important it has shown the broad range of tasks that humans can accomplish in space.  That knowledge will be invaluable in planning our next major goal in human space flight.

Helen Lane: The focus of the book was the legacy of the Space Shuttle – what would it be remembered for in 10 years.  So much as been made of its failures that we wanted to explore its accomplishments, unlike most of the popular writings.  It is a complex story.  However, I think there are several aspects that changed human space flight forever, and maybe international relationships.

The Orbiters can easily take six and sometimes more people into space.  The Shuttle began when theU.S.was opening up technical jobs to women and minorities.  The Space Shuttle provided the golden opportunity to expand the astronaut core to these folks, plus a wide variety of careers from physicist to astronomer to medical doctors.  No other nation has done that.  Now, it is totally accepted that anyone with the talents, health, and desire can go into space – see the commercial space programs.

The Space Shuttle era moved from the competition (Space Race) between countries to collaborations.  As astronaut Mike Foale (p. 144) said, “When we look back 50 years to this time, we won’t remember the experiments that were performed, we won’t remember the assembly that was done.  What we will know was the countries came together to do the first joint international project, and we will know that that was the seed that started us off to the moon and Mars.”  There were many countries, including our former enemies,Russia and Japan, along with the Europeans involved in the space shuttle.  We flew folks of many nationalities, religions, and cultures.

Many today say it is the Hubble.  The Space Shuttle enabled the Hubble Space Telescope to perform well, leading to major discoveries.  However, through our work with Hubble, we learned to do big construction and repair projects in space.  The Space Shuttle taught us that the human is extremely capable of completing complex tasks in space.  Now, it is accepted that we can do this, but 30 years ago most thought that it was only the dreams of the science fiction writers.

The human, plant, and animal research provides the bases for belief that humans can survive long space flights, probably leading to long-duration stays, including growing their own food.  However, the research provided a warning too – from changes in space craft components, e.g. atomic oxygen, along with orbital debris and radiation, much of which we learned from entering space 135 times.

Finally, 135 re-entries taught us a lot about high attitude hypersonic flight, a must to enable  complex vehicles to come back to earth, manned or unmanned. Prior to the Shuttle program, there were calculations that provided models.  Now, we have real data to use for future modeling of space craft re-entry back to Earth.

Kamlesh Lulla: I agree with Helen. In addition, it is important to remember that each Shuttle mission was a mission to planet Earth. It was both a scientific laboratory and an in-orbit classroom for researchers and educators around the globe.

Wayne Hale: The Shuttle was envisaged as merely one part of a space infrastructure that would eventually lead to missions to myriad places in the solar system.  Since the Nation decided not to invest in the infrastructure to go farther, we learned the most we could from the shuttle; how to operate in space with large teams of people; how to fly safely through planetary atmospheres on the way to and from space.  These are all valuable lessons which will allow future endeavors in space to be successful.

GovBookTalk:  Now that the book is done, what are your feelings about it – and about the Space Shuttle program as well?

Bob Crippen: I am very proud of the book and the Space Shuttle program.  Both are major accomplishments and everyone involved can be proud of the results.

Helen Lane: As with most of the folks that worked in the Space Shuttle program, it is a bittersweet ending – the ending of the longest human space program using these vehicles over and over again in the extremely dangerous environments of space. So I am both sad and proud of working for NASA.

Wayne Hale: It was a privilege to be a part of history; to be a team member trying to do something difficult – nearly impossible – and extraordinarily valuable in the largest sense of the word; historic.  I feel nothing but pride and a sense of gratitude for being part of it.

Kamlesh Lulla: I believe new opportunities will emerge as this era comes to an end. We will continue our journey!

To browse a copy of Wings in Orbit online, click here: http://books.google.com/books?id=aEZo8dHqJbIC&printsec=frontcover&dq=wings+in+orbit&hl=en&ei=kOYeTs3ABYrV0QHi4PDXAw&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=1&ved=0CDAQ6AEwAA#v=onepage&q&f=false

To purchase a print copy, click here: http://bookstore.gpo.gov/collections/wings.jsp

To purchase Wings in Orbit as an eBook, click here: http://books.google.com/ebooks?id=aEZo8dHqJbIC&dq=wings%20in%20orbit&as_brr=5&source=webstore_bookcard

To find it in a library, click here: http://www.worldcat.org/search?qt=worldcat_org_all&q=wings+in+orbit


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