Alan Cate: On the Army Heritage and Education Center

A retired colonel in the United States Army, Alan Cate engaged in active duty for 25 years. During the later years of his service, he taught on the faculty of the U.S. Army War College in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, where he also served as Director of the Army Heritage and Education Center. He now teaches secondary-level history at University School, a boys’ preparatory school in Ohio.

As the U.S. Army’s leading archive for historical research, the Army Heritage and Education Center (USAHEC) strives to honor those Americans who have served their country as soldiers. Open and free of charge to all, this center welcomes both soldiers and visitors to an expansive complex that includes a museum, a library, archives, and a mile-long Army Heritage Trail. Like the indoor exhibit galleries, the Heritage Trail introduces visitors to major events and periods in the history of the U.S. Army.

Engaged in both preservation and education, the USAHEC maintains a continuing commitment to expanding its resource base. The center strives to preserve these resources while also making them as accessible as possible to researchers at all levels. The USAHEC provides extensive support to archive and library users, while the Visitor and Education Services department reaches out to museum visitors and other members of the general public. As a result, all can benefit from the broad collection of Army literature and memorabilia.


Alan Cate: A Short Biography on Dr. Lloyd C. Gardner

Alan Cate, an author and teacher, has served as Army Colonel, Chief of Operations with the United States Army. He enjoys reading historical texts during his unoccupied time. Alan Cate additionally reviews one of Dr. Gardner’s manuscripts, Pay Any Price: Lyndon Johnson and the Wars for Vietnam, at

Dr. Lloyd C. Gardner, a respected historian, has taught at Rutgers University since 1963. He currently maintains the appointment of Emeritus Research Professor of History. Dr. Gardner recently received the 2012 Lewis P. Jones Visiting Professorship at Wofford College in Spartanburg, South Carolina. He has additionally earned a Guggenheim Fellowship, as well as two Fulbright Professorships in Finland and England.

Dr. Gardner has authored numerous books on 20th century foreign policy in the United States, as well as the nation’s conflicts with Vietnam and other countries. His published works include The Long Road to Baghdad; Iraq and the Lessons of Vietnam; The Anglo-American Response to Revolution, 1913-1923; Architects of Illusion: Men and Ideas in American Foreign Policy, 1941-1949; and Imperial America: American Foreign Policy Since 1898. Dr. Gardner currently resides in Newtown, Pennsylvania.

Alan Cate on the Early History of West Point Military Academy

The United States Military Academy (USMA) in West Point, New York, has served the United States for over 200 years. President Thomas Jefferson authorized the establishment of the Academy in 1802 as an institution meant to eliminate the U. S.’s dependency on outside military specialists by creating natively-trained experts and researches of military science.

The USMA made large strides under the leadership of Colonel Sylvanus Thayer, who pushed the school to higher standards of academic proficiency, honorable conduct, and military discipline. He also foresaw the need for engineers in the nation’s future and focused the Academy’s curriculum appropriately.

During the Civil War, West Point graduates filled many of the highest positions in both the Union and Confederate armies. Postwar development of technical training institutions allowed the USMA to again broaden its focus to matters outside of civil engineering.

Alan Cate is a retired Army Colonel and Chair of the History Department at University School in Hunting Valley, Ohio. His extensive military experience and interest in military history have granted him unique insight into the armed forces of the past and present.

Alan Cate’s Book About the Founding Fighters (Part Two): “Carolina Gamecock” Thomas Sumter

One of the early military leaders profiled in Colonel Alan Cate’s book, Founding Fighters: The Battlefield Leaders Who Made American Independence, is Thomas Sumter, who was born a Virginia frontiersman and became a South Carolina land owner by the start of the Revolutionary War.

Assembling a militia company in 1775, Thomas Sumter helped lead the “Snow Campaign,” one of the initial Southern military operations of the war. With Colonel Richard Richardson and 35,000 soldiers, he concentrated his efforts against Tory resistance in the backcountry of the Appalachian Piedmont. Thomas Sumter’s 2nd Regiment subsequently aided the Continental Army in campaigns along the Carolina coast under Major General Robert Howe. Known for his fierce fighting and leadership style, the “Carolina Gamecock” gained particular distinction for exacting revenge against British forces after they burned down his home. After the War of Independence, Thomas Sumter successfully served for more than two decades as a United States Congressman and Senator representing the state of South Carolina.

About Alan Cate: Colonel Alan Cate serves as Chair of the History Department at University School, where he teaches courses on the history of Western civilization and the politics and government of the United States.

Some Tips on Reviewing History Books, By Alan Cate

The task of a reviewer is to present information that assists readers in assessing how well an author has succeeded in carrying out the book’s purpose. The review may begin with basic information about the book. This includes the title, author, general subject matter, the period of history covered, publisher, copyright date, ISBN number, and price. Next, the reviewer discusses the author’s purpose in writing the book, including identifying its intended audience. The reviewer should present the author’s claims and analyze how well the book supports the writer’s stated thesis.

The review accomplishes its mission when it evaluates key criteria and answers the following questions. What sources were used? How accurate and thorough is the information? Is the treatment of the material superficial or comprehensive? How useful is the book for its intended audience? Is the book written in an interesting manner?

The reviewer may include information about the author to provide readers with criterion by which to assess the writer’s authority, such as his or her qualifications and previous publications. Additionally, the reviewer may want to assess special features (e.g. maps, photos) of the book and determine if they detract from or add to its quality.

Finally, the reviewer will make concluding statements. Here, the reviewer can summarize previous statements and further discuss the strengths and weaknesses of the work in question.

About the author: Alan Cate’s book reviews have appeared in The Plain Dealer, Parameters, Army History, and other publications. Mr. Cate authored Founding Fighters: The Battlefield Leaders Who Made American Independence (2006) that studies the influence of Continental Army commanders on the war’s conduct and outcome. Mr. Cate holds an MA from Stanford University and teaches history at the University School in Hunting Valley, Ohio.

General Nathanael Greene, by Alan Cate

In my book, Fighting Fathers: The Battlefield Leaders Who Made American Independence, I devote considerable attention to the exploits of General Nathanael Greene, one of George Washington’s most trusted subordinates.

Familiar with the military arts from an early age thanks to his voracious reading, Greene faced a difficult task as he sought to convert militiamen into disciplined troops as war with the British broke out. By July 1775, however, his men, now a true fighting force, deployed to Boston. Washington met Greene there, and the two forged an immediate and lasting friendship.

In 1777, Greene showed great courage in the Battle of Brandywine. Later that year at Valley Forge, Washington chose Greene to be his Quartermaster General, placing him in charge of provisioning the Army at its lowest point. Greene attacked the task with his usual energy and professionalism, but conflicts with Congress led to his resignation from the position in 1780.

Washington then selected Nathanael Greene to fight the British in the South, replacing General Horatio Gates after a crushing defeat. Greene led his exhausted and depleted troops with valor, hounding the British until they left the Carolinas. After Cornwallis’ surrender in 1783, General Greene retired to Savannah, Georgia, where he had been given 24,000 acres in gratitude for his service. He died suddenly in 1786, at the age of 43, sending the entire nation into mourning.

After 25 years of service in the U.S. Army, Alan Cate now chairs the History Department and teaches at the University School in Hunting Valley, Ohio.

Alan Cate: Founding Fighters on

Colonel Alan Cate (Ret.) served in the U.S. Army as an infantry officer from 1979 to 2004. A graduate of Stanford University, he now writes on historical topics and chairs the History Department at the University School in Hunting Valley, Ohio.

Published in 2006 by Praeger Security International, Alan Cate’s book Founding Fighters: The Battlefield Leaders Who Made American Independence illuminates some of the most fascinating chapters in early American history from a military perspective. Composed of 15 mini-biographies over the course of 264 pages, examines how combat leadership at all army and navy echelons allowed Revolutionary-era military officers to make gains and win against British forces.

While many history lessons focus on the importance of the Founding Fathers, a group of “founding fighters” made up of former British officers, self-taught amateurs, unwavering patriots, partisans, and frontiersmen, such as Horatio Gates, Henry Knox, John Paul Jones, Francis Marion, and Ethan Allen, played an instrumental role in winning the American Revolution. They also set the tone for some of the enduring military traditions that the U.S. Armed Forces still cherish today.