Society of American Military Engineers

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Founded in 1920, the Society of American Military Engineers (SAME) is an organization for military engineering professionals. According to its website,[1] SAME was formed “in the interest of National Defense… bringing together all phases of U.S. engineering, [in both the] civil sector and military, for the advancement of knowledge…and the rapid mobilization of engineering capabilities.”

SAME connects architects, engineers and builders in the public sector and private industry, uniting them to improve individual and collective capabilities for national security. Its goal is to unite architectural, engineering and construction (A/E/C) entities and individuals in the public and private sector to provide the capability and prepare for and overcome natural and manmade disasters, acts of terrorism and to improve security at home and abroad.

That goal grew from the United States' experiences in World War I in which more than 11,000 civilian engineers were called to duty upon the US entering the conflict. Returning home after "the war to end war," many feared the sector would lose this collective knowledge and the cooperation between public and private sectors that proved vital to combat success. Industry and military leaders vowed to capitalize on the technical lessons and camaraderie shared during their battlefield experiences.

In 1919, Maj. Gen. William M. Black, USA, the Army's Chief of Engineers, appointed a nine-officer board to consider the formation of an "association of engineers" that would preserve, and expand upon, connections formed in war and promote the advancement of engineering and its related professions. Early in 1920, the first SAME posts were established, providing former colleagues and new engineers opportunities to connect face-to-face, and establishing post-to-community relationships across the United States.[2]

The original nine-member board appointed by Maj. Gen. Black also arranged the donation of Professional Memoirs, a magazine published by the Engineer Bureau since 1909, and its assets, to SAME with the blessing of Gen. John J. "Blackjack" Pershing, USA. Those memoirs were subsequently renamed The Military Engineer, which has been continuously published since it debuted in 1920.

U.S. Vice President Charles Gates Dawes served as SAME's 8th president. The year before assuming his role as president of SAME, Dawes was awarded the 1925 Nobel Peace Prize for his work on German reparations in 1924.

Due to its close ties with the uniformed services of the United States, several branches of the military and the Public Health Service allow its members to wear the SAME ribbon on the uniform after all military and foreign decorations and awards.


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  2. ^ Past Presidents of the Society of American Military Engineers