Ryan Menath

Date of Award

January 2018

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Arts (DA)



First Advisor

Ty Reese


The United States Air Force Academy is a specialized institution of higher learning dedicated to producing military officers in the U.S. Air Force. Specialized graduation requirements, like a required Military History course, present the opportunity for the implementation of unique pedagogical methodologies. Further, as a technologically forward-looking branch of service designed to control air, space, and cyberspace in a contested environment, the Air Force places a premium on twenty- and twenty-first century military history. Unfortunately, pre-airpower American military history gets overshadowed compared to later conflicts to the point where cadets attending the Air Force Academy get relatively little exposure to the American Revolution. Yet the American Revolution is a well-defined war in terms of leadership and the delineation of strategy, campaigns, and battles. An in-depth examination of the Revolutionary War gives cadets the opportunity to more easily learn about warfare and military history while gaining historical research skills.

A study of American Revolution historiography shows a gap in work that transitions across the three levels of war. Further, a study of modern pedagogical methods highlights innovative techniques that foster an active learning, student-centered classroom environment instead of adhering to the traditional lecture. Combining military theory with pedagogy, one can create a classroom that incorporates gamification and teaches a military history of the American Revolutionary War while preparing cadets to enter the twenty-first-century Air Force.

This study concludes with a semester-length military history course on the American Revolutionary War that includes all lesson plans and a complete syllabus. It places a high premium on briefing skills, primary source material, and a deep understanding of the levels of war. In addition, the course elucidates the fact that each level of war influences the others, and that actions at the tactical level can have a drastic effect on the operational and strategic levels. Since cadets will graduate from the Air Force Academy and enter the military as officers at the tactical level of war, this course will directly apply to their immediate future.