Branch History and Heritage Paper


SUBJECT: Essay Guidelines

  1. Purpose: Noncommissioned Officers are required to write two Essays while in ALC; one paper on a Cultural Awareness topic and one paper on Branch History and heritage in order to complete the ALC TRADOC requirements for each of these areas IAW writing and correspondence.  The essay projects will enable NCO’s to develop their research and writing skills to become more effective leaders.  This guidance will outline how each of these papers will be written and detailed instruction on those topics and ideas.
  2. Essay Guidelines. Prepare two essay papers, 1000-1500 words in length, using the Modern Language Association (MLA) format/writing style.  The essay papers will include the following in this order:
  3. Title Page
  4. Formal sentence outline (your outline must contain at least four supporting ideas with at least two subtopics for each supporting idea)
  5. Final draft
  6. Works cited page (at least four different sources.)
  7. Clarity index (see clarity info page)

General Guidelines

  • Printed on standard white 8.5 x 11-inch paper.
  • Times New Roman, double-space, and 12 pt font.
  • Leave two spaces after periods and one space after other punctuation marks (unless otherwise instructed by your instructor).
  • One (1) inch margins on all sides.  Indent the first line of a paragraph one half-inch (five spaces or press tab once) from the left margin.
  • Use either italics or underlining throughout your essay for the titles of longer works and, only when absolutely necessary, providing emphasis.
  • If you have any endnotes, include them on a separate page before your Works Cited page.


SUBJECT: Essay Guidelines

Formatting the First Page of Your Paper (not the Title Page)

  1. In the upper left-hand corner of the first page, list your name, your instructor’s name, the course, and the date.  Again, be sure to use double-spaced text.
  2. Double space again and center the title.  Don’t underline your title or put it in quotation marks; write the title in Title Case, not in all capital letters.
  3. Use quotation marks and underlining or italics when referring to other works in your title, just as you would in your text, e.g.,
    1. Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas as Morality Play
    2. Human Weariness in “After Apple Picking”
  4. Double space between the title and the first line of the text.
  5. Create a header in the upper right-hand corner that includes your last name, followed by a space with a page number; number all pages consecutively with Arabic numerals (1, 2, 3, 4, etc.), one-half inch from the top and flush with the right margin.


  1. Clarity Index. When Microsoft Word finishes checking spelling and grammar, it can display information about the reading level of the document, including the following readability scores.  For your research and theme paper, your documents should contain no more than 10 percent passive sentences in order to receive a satisfactory rating.  The Flesch Reading Ease score rates text on a 100-point scale; the higher the score, the easier it is to understand the document.  For your document, the standard is a score of approximately 40-60 in order to receive a satisfactory rating.  The Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level score rates text on a U.S. grade-school level, for example, a score of 8.0 means that an eighth grader can understand the document.  For your documents, the standard is a grade level of approximately 10.0 to 13.0 for a satisfactory score.
  • Words__________
  • Paragraphs______
  • Sentences_______



  • Sentences per Paragraph__________
  • Words per Sentence______________
  • Passive Sentences_______________
  • Flesch Reading Ease_____________
  • Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level_______


  1. Evaluation. Your essays are evaluated on Introduction and Thesis, Body Focus, Organization, Writing and Style, and Conclusion.  There are additional deductions for MLA formatting errors.


SUBJECT: Essay Guidelines


[Excellent or Superior] rating is a letter grade (A) = 100-90 percent. [Good or Satisfactory] rating is a letter grade (B) = 89-80 percent. [Fair or Satisfactory] rating is a letter grade (C) = 79-70 percent.  Needs Improvement or Unsatisfactory rating is a letter grade of (D) = 69-60 percent.


  1. Information can also be obtained from A Guide for Writing Research Papers Based on Modern Language Association to assist in writing your essays:    Google Search “Citation Machine” son of citation machine?


(MLA) Documentation


Writing a Research Paper


Guidelines for Research Papers


  1. Attached to this memorandum is a MLA Sample Paper.
  2. The following assignments are due on the listed dates:
  3. Branch History and Heritage Paper (Group project); turned into SGL on Day 8 of your course.


  1. Cultural Awareness Paper (Individual project); turned into SGL on the Thursday prior the STX/LFX week. These dates are final and non-negotiable, so plan accordingly.  All papers are due to SGLs NLT 0800 of the relevant day.  Plagiarism could result in negative counseling and removal from Honors consideration, as well as being removed from ALC.  Any questions regarding plagiarism should be addressed prior to final submission of any work.


  1. Branch History and Heritage Essay.


  1. The goal for this essay is to assist in the goal of Instruction of Military History (IMH) IAW TRADOC Regulation 350-13 in order to focus students on branch history and heritage of their branch. The context for the essay illustrates the applications of military history to training and leadership and a sense of branch significance.



  • Provide Soldiers with a program of basic military heritage and history instruction that is sequential and progressive, including tools which may be used for continued professional development.


  • Stimulate an interest in continuous study of military and branch history beyond the classroom through individual reading programs, to assist future leaders in forming mature judgments about the profession of arms.


SUBJECT: Essay Guidelines



  • To know and understand the evolution and historical contribution of the NCO in the U.S. Army; the role of the NCO during the evolution of combined arms warfare; and the uses of history in military leadership.


  1. Guidelines for a Branch History & Heritage Essay Paper. The following serves as a guide in which to research, outline, draft and type your final paper.


  • Write an essay on a topic concerning a battle, event, or unit within your branch discussing the history and/or heritage of that topic and how it relates to the evolution and contribution towards today’s military operations and bring a historical perspective to contemporary military problems and leadership.


  1. Cultural Awareness Guidelines and Topics.


  1. The goal for this essay is to meet TRADOC and the Fires Center of Excellence Commanding General’s intent of implementing Cultural Awareness training into NCOES using the following goals as set by TRADOC:


  • Cultural Expertise – Culture professionals and leaders who possess an advanced level of cross-cultural competence pertaining to a specific geographic area. These Soldiers will be able to evaluate and synthesize terms, factors, concepts, and regional information into plans, programs, and advice to commanders.


  • Cultural Understanding – Soldiers and Leaders, who will be able to apply relevant terms, factors, concepts and regional information to their tasks and missions, as well as analyze situational requirements.


  • Cultural Awareness – Soldiers who have foundational cross-cultural competence with comprehension and knowledge to identify and describe key terms, factors, and concepts associated with culture fundamentals and cultural self awareness.


  1. Learning Objectives. The purpose of this assignment is to prepare a socio-cultural analysis of an assigned nation/region as discussed in FM 3-24, Counterinsurgency.


  • Define the meaning of culture.


  • Explain at least five major characteristics that define a culture.


  • Describe the common culture characteristics of a region of the world.


  • Must address the following areas in the essay:


  1. Overview of the assigned nation’s/regions physical geography and military conflict history
    • Complex Terrain


SUBJECT: Essay Guidelines



  • Urban/Sub Urban Terrain
  • Key Infrastructure
  • Lines of Communication
  • Significant past military conflicts and their impact on the society


  1. Weather Analysis
    • Effects on population, agriculture, smuggling, insurgency, etc.


  1. Civil Consideration: Overview of the factors of ASCOPE (areas, structures, capabilities, organizations, people, and events).


  1. More detailed discussion of the “P” of ASCOPE, people (Society, Social Structure, Culture, Language, Power and Authority, and Interests)


  1. Possible Essay Paper Country Topics. The following list prescribes the specific regions from which a student will focus their topic.  The intent is to focus on a discreet set of regions and countries that are expected to be of strategic relevance for operations or engagements now and in the future.


  • Middle East Southeast Asia                        South America
  • Southwest Asia East Asia                     North Africa
  • South Asia                         Caribbean Basin          Sub-Saharan Africa


  1. POC for this memorandum is the undersigned at (580) 442-8480.




//original signed//



School Chief


Grading Rubric for Essay Paper(s)


Introduction and Thesis (X3 Max points 15)

5 The introduction is sophisticated and readily captures the reader’s attention by contextualizing the subject. Strong and purposeful thesis statement gives direction.
4 Good introduction overall; may not readily capture the reader’s attention, but it establishes the context and demonstrates some style.
3 The introduction has some sense of focus, but is somewhat underdeveloped (lacks general background knowledge, fail to lead into the thesis; intro contains irrelevant information.
2 The introduction and thesis is weak or simplistic and does not establish the context. Writer falls into introductory pitfalls.
1 No real attempt has been made at an introduction nonexistent thesis; immature style.

Body Focus (X6 Max points 30)

5 Essay paper is focused, purposeful, and reflects insight.  Writer demonstrates a mature, sophisticated understanding of complex ideas that prove and support the thesis statement.
4 Essay paper is focused and reflects insight; demonstrates a strong understanding of the ideas presented that support the thesis statement.
3 Essay paper is focused on the thesis but contain loosely ideas related to the topic. Insight is somewhat superficial or simplistic.
2 Essay paper looses focus of thesis statement, or paper falls into summarization due to poor topic sentences; body of paper does not address thesis; however, body addresses another argument.
1 Essay paper does not address the thesis. Direction of the paper is confusing.

Organization (X4 Max points 20)

5 Essay paper is powerfully and logically organized with strong topic sentences that lead into the analysis points; paragraphs progress in thought by using transitional elements. Points for analyses are relevant, developed, and logically build from each other defending the thesis.
4 Essay paper demonstrates a logical progression of ideas with good topic sentences. Topic sentences and transitional elements are used. Analysis points are present and argue the thesis.
3 Essay paper lacks logical progression of ideas and development. Some topic sentences state factual information or topic sentences do not capture the point of the paragraph. Little to no transitional elements are used; problems with paragraph organization.
2 Essay paper contains disjointed ideas for analysis; reader experiences some vertigo. Topic sentences are not used. Essay does not follow a logical format; paragraph problems.
1 Essay paper is disorganized and disconnected from thesis. Reader is lost. No topic sentences or transitional elements used; serious paragraph problems.

Writing and Style (X4 Max points 20)

5 Essay contains little to no errors in basic grammar; sentence structure is varied; excellent use of transitions; mature word choice and appropriate academic tonal elements are used.
4 Essay contains few errors in basic grammar that do not detract from the argument; sentence structure is varied; uses transitions well; good word choice and general academic tonal elements.
3 Essay contains errors in basic grammar that detract from the writer’s argument (i.e. sentence fragments and run-ons, quotation problems, etc.); some use of transitions are evident; adequate word choice. Attempted academic tonal elements.
2 Essay contains errors in basic grammar that significantly detract from the writer’s argument, sentence structure is simplistic. Inappropriate tone; little use of transitions; questionable word choice.
1 Essay contains too many errors in basic grammar that significantly detract from writer’s argument. Tone is inappropriate and possibly offensive. Use of transitions is not evident; word choice is inappropriate.

Conclusion (X3 Max points 15)

5 The writer makes precise conclusions based on the information and ideas presented. Insights into the topic are appropriate. Conclusion is sophisticated and supports the thesis; no new information is presented. Conclusion makes relevant connections to the topic and demonstrates style and ingenuity.
4 The writer makes precise conclusions based on the information and ideas presented. Insights into the topic are appropriate. The thesis is addressed and no new information is presented. Conclusion has some sense of style.
3 The conclusion provides little insight into the topic presented. The thesis is addressed but not restated. Conclusion may be somewhat underdeveloped or simplistic. Conclusion is not effective and lacks style.
2 The conclusion simply restates the introduction or is simplistic or vague. The conclusion does not reflect the introduction and thesis and/or introduces new ideas.
1 The conclusion is too brief to provide closure. Conclusion has nothing to do with the paper.


Deductions: MLA Format (X1)

Point deductions will be taken for the following errors depending on the severity of the problem:

  • Margins are not one inch
  • Any error in the heading block
  • Page heading is not consistent throughout the essay
  • Page header not MLA format
  • Any error in spacing
  • Page length is not met
  • Font size or font type not 12pt Times New Roman
  • Paper not presented in a professional manner (i.e. quality of print detracts from paper’s appearance)
  • Title not capitalized correctly or title does not effectively represent argument—flat


Works Cited Page

  • Works Cited page does not follow MLA format guidelines.
  • Works Cited page does not meet the number of minimal sources required for this paper.


In-Text Citations

  • In text citations are not correctly documented using MLA conventions.

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