Charles Reginald Shrader (2018 )

On August 28, 2018, Charles R. “Reg” Shrader passed away in Carlisle, Pennsylvania. He had fought valiantly against cancer and other serious ailments for months, knew his time among us was limited, but was taken in a surprisingly swift final decline. He is survived by his wife of 55 years, Carole; son, Reg Shrader and wife Melinda of Chicago, IL; daughter, Sheila Bixby and husband Kevin of Carlisle, PA; granddaughters Sarah, Caroline, and Frances; sister Donna Frelick and husband Graeme of Marshall, NC; brother, Rodney Shrader and wife Josephine of TX; brother-in-law, Peter Analore and wife Terry of Dover, DE; and several nieces and nephews.

Reg served as Executive Director of the Society for Military History from 1992 until 2000, where he helped put our organization on a path toward improvement and ensured that the high standards for that position would be retained by recruiting Bob Berlin as his replacement.

Reg was an “Air Force brat,” born in Nashville, TN, on 3 July 1943, but growing up in several states (including Alaska) as well as England and Greece. He graduated from Vanderbilt University with academic honors as a Distinguished Military Graduate. His basic branch as an Army officer was the Transportation Corps, and he had two challenging tours in Vietnam as well as a tour in Germany serving as a logistician. Early in his career he was selected for fully-funded graduate education in history. He earned his master’s and PhD at Columbia University in medieval history and began a lifetime study of Flavius Vegetius Renatus.

Most of his career was devoted to the study and use of history in the Army. He taught European history at West Point as one of the founding members of the History Department. Later he joined a small committee teaching military history at Fort Leavenworth where he drew on his knowledge, leadership, and administrative skills to transform it into the much more capable Combat Studies Institute. When he moved to the Military History Institute at Carlisle Barracks he initiated programs in oral history that are still thriving today. His gifts as a teacher and his deep knowledge of European affairs were then recognized by the Department of Defense with assignment to the faculty of the NATO Defense College in Rome. After a very successful tour of duty there he served as Director of Historical Services at the Army’s Center of Military History in Washington, D.C. In his 23 year career he had helped build history programs at every level of education for Army officers.

Reg was a tremendously productive independent scholar for many years after retiring from the Army. His first major project drew on his wide network of military historians and resulted in the five-volume Reference Guide to United States Military History (1607-Present), published from 1991 to 1995. He contracted with several government agencies to research and write on various topics. Most of that work was not meant for publication, but his three books on logistics in twentieth century conflicts—The Withered Vine: Logistics and the Communist Insurgency in Greece, 1945-1949; Communist Logistics in the Korean War; and A War of Logistics: Parachutes and Porters in Indochina, 1945-1954—give us a glimpse of the extensive research and elegant writing that characterized his work. Those qualities are also evident in Of Duty Well and Faithfully Done: A History of the Regular Army in the Civil War, which is a product of his collaboration with Clayton Newell.

Reg was a great collaborator—whether building a curriculum, a faculty, or a research team. He is sorely missed by all who knew him.