The one and only Edwin C. Bearss (June 26, 1923-September 15, 2020) was a National Treasure. He was also my mentor and best friend. He is the one who persuaded me to start my own company back in 2006 and led or co-led every single South Mountain Expeditions trip for the first 13 years. One of our nation's preeminent Civil War historians, Ed's encyclopedic knowledge and unflagging energy was legendary. Chief Historian Emeritus of the National Park Service, author, lecturer and America's foremost battlefield guide, Ed brought history alive like no other. Ed thank you so much for all you accomplished in your long, rewarding life. Your enthusiasm, passion, and energy in spreading the gospel of history was boundless. You touched so many lives. You were one of a kind. You will be remembered and you will be so very missed. We are left with the countless things we learned from you and with many treasured memories. God speed Ed.
Historian guide Bill McQuade, led our 2019 Air Forces in WWII Germany and our 2018 Third Reich Germany to rave reviews. Bill says that his life long passion for military history was first sparked on his 10th birthday by a present from his grandmother – a book by the RAF hero Guy Gibson entitled, “Enemy Coast Ahead.” Bill was stationed in Germany during the Cold War when he served with the Royal Scots Dragoon Guards, an armoured regiment. This posting provided Bill the opportunity to visit WWI and II battle sites, many of them still in their war time condition. Upon discharge from the Army, he began leading battlefield tours and soon found himself in high demand by documentary film makers. Bill is a student of both ancient and modern warfare including the Battles of Marathon and Waterloo; the Franco-Prussian War; the Great War; the Second World War; the Holocaust; the Cold War; the Arab-Israeli conflicts and Vietnam. Acknowledged by many as one of the finest and most experienced battlefield guides currently operating tours, Bill leads tours of WWII Germany 8 to 10 times a year. Bill is a founding member of the Guild of Battlefield Guides.
Frank de Planta co-led the mainland Italy portion of our WWII Invasion of Italy tour, August 30/31-September 12, 2014. He has had an interest in military history since childhood and has been running battlefield tours to Spain, France and Italy for many years. Commissioned into The Royal Anglian Regiment in 1984, he retired in 1991 and joined the Territorial Army during which time he commanded East Midlands Officers’ Training Corps in Nottingham. He now devotes much of his free time to the fascinating and highly controversial series of battles of Cassino that, ultimately, led to a costly breakthrough in May/June 1944.
Historian Guide, Steve Hamilton is well known for his expertise in the desert battlefields of North Africa, and by extension the WWII Sicilian Campaign. He has led numerous groups of battlefield enthusiasts to Sicily. His own personal interest lies in the fact that his grandfather’s Regiment was the only armored regiment to land with the Highland Division and fight throughout the campaign. Steve comes from a real military family – his Great Grand- Father had been at the Relief of Mafeking during the Boer War and during WWI he was one of just seven men from his Battalion to come through the first day of the Battle of Somme. Steve's enthusiasm for military history is contagious. Steve co-led the Sicily portion of our 2014 WWII Invasion of Italy tour.
Dr. Thomas Clemens led our "1862" program in May 2012. A history professor, Tom has studied the Antietam campaign and the Civil War for more than 30 years. He co-founded the Save Historic Antietam Foundation, and serves as a licensed Battlefield Guide and a National Park Service volunteer interpreter. A regular contributor to several military and history magazines, Tom recently edited Ezra Carmen's long unpublished history of Antietam, The Maryland Campaign of 1862, Volume I: South Mountain.
Historian Jerry Greene was co-leader on our "Flight of the Nez Perce" tour in August 2012. An author from Denver, Jerry is a retired Research Historian for the National Park Service. He has written over 20 books including: Nez Perce Summer, 1877 and Beyond Bear's Paw: The Nez Perce Indians in Canada. Jerry joined us in Billings, MT to accompany us as we cross the “medicine line” into Saskatchewan to follow the story of those Nez Percé who escaped into Canada.
Scott Thybony our co-leader on our October 2019 "Arizona" trip, our September 2015 "National Parks of Utah" tour, and our April 2011 "Landscapes of the American Southwest." An anthropologist by education and a writer by profession, this former river guide and archeologist writes books and articles for major magazines and newspapers. His interviews have ranged from astronauts to medicine men, and his travels through North America have resulted in award-winning stories. Having lived with Navajo Indians in the American Southwest and the Inuit in the Canadian Arctic, he brings to his writing an enthusiasm for the natural world and those living close to it. Scott has led dozens of trips to the American Southwest for cultural organizations including National Geographic Expeditions. He has written widely about the Southwest including the book Canyon Country Parklands: Treasures of the Great Plateau for National Geographic.