Military in our backyards

As the second part of the “Storytelling with Historians,” ongoing lecture series at Bellevue College regarding the history of the Pacific Northwest, BC Professor Brian Casserly will be lecturing on the history of the military in the region. “Other departments have done things like this, where they invite guest speakers to sort of talk about a relevant issue,” said Dr. Sabrina Sanchez, BC history instructor. “We decided to jump on that bandwagon and put on our own speaker series for the history department.”

Building upon the premise of the first lecture, which covered the American Civil War and its effects on the Pacific Northwest, Casserly’s lecture, “Military in Our Backyards,” will cover the cultural and socioeconomic effects that military presence has had on the Pacific Northwest region of North America. The lecture will be based primarily on research done by Casserly himself when he was a graduate student getting his Ph.D.

Casserly emphasizes, the civilian effects, rather than militarized ones, that the armed forces have in places like Bremerton, Kitsap County, Everett, Tacoma and Whidbey Island, all of which have Army or Navy bases or spheres of influence. “There are thousands of military personnel based in those places, but also thousands of civilians who work for the Department of Defense, all of whom spend their money in the local economy.” explained Casserly. “There’s also a major social factor. One of the things that people sometimes forget is that the military is a very diverse organization and that diversity has played a role in contributing to the diversity of the Northwest.”

The lecture will also draw attention to the political implications that military presence brings to an area. Casserly points out that the military has never intruded upon the people of the Northwest against their will, instead it was welcomed by the civilian population. Often, the presence of a military base in a region will result in that area’s voting residents supporting military interests, which in turn brings economic benefits to their military-dependent economies.

The lecture will take place on Nov.13 from11:30 a.m. – 12:20 p.m. in D106.