Alfred Goldberg

October 28, 1973 - November 28, 2007

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Past Chief Historian
October 28, 1973 – November 28, 2007

Past Chief Historian October 28, 1973 – November 28, 2007 (Photo by Historical Office Public Affairs)


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Dr. Alfred Goldberg, an eminent and respected military historian, served as the Chief Historian for the Office of the Secretary of Defense for 34 years. He began his service to the United States in 1942 with the U.S. Army, rising from the rank of private to captain and deploying overseas with the Army Air Forces to England and France. He worked in various capacities, ultimately as a field historian. He left active duty in 1946, but remained in the reserves and retired from the Air Force in 1978 as a colonel.

From 1946 to 1965, Dr. Goldberg worked for the U.S. Air Force Historical Division as a senior historian. During that period, in addition to earning a Ph.D. in history from The Johns Hopkins University in 1950, he was a Visiting Fellow at Kings College, University of London in 1962–63; a lecturer at the University of Maryland for many years; and a recipient of a Social Science Research Council Fellowship. In 1964 Chief Justice Earl Warren brought him onto the Warren Commission staff, where Dr. Goldberg served as a historical advisor and as co-author and co-editor of the Warren Commission Report. From 1965 to 1973, Dr. Goldberg was a senior staff member at RAND and also lectured at the University of Southern California and the University of California at Los Angeles.

In 1973, Dr. Goldberg assumed duties as the chief historian with OSD. He received the Department of Defense Distinguished Civilian Service Award and the Presidential Meritorious Award. He was a long-time member of the National Historical Publications and Records Commission, whose members include distinguished historians, archivists, and members of the House of Representatives, the Senate, and the Supreme Court. Keenly aware of the historic significance of the attack on the Pentagon on September 11, 2001, Dr. Goldberg joined with other military historians in documenting the event and its effect on the Pentagon and the military and civilian workforce.

Dr. Goldberg is the author or editor of numerous historical books and articles, many of which have earned special recognition and prizes. Most notably, he is co-author of the Army Air Forces in World War II (7 volumes); editor and co-author of A History of the U.S. Air Force 1907–1957; co-editor of the Department of Defense: Documents on Establishment and Organization, 1947–1978; co-author of The Department of Defense, 1947-1997—Organization and Leaders; author of The Pentagon: The First Fifty Years; general editor, History of the Office of the Secretary of Defense (5 volumes); and co-author of Pentagon 9/11. In 2011, Dr. Goldberg received the American Historical Association's Herbert Feis Award for distinguished contributions to public history.