Booth library hosts Ben Franklin presentation

Politician. Inventor. Military expert.

Benjamin Franklin did it all.

“Booth Library contacted me and asked me to give this presentation, and I was like ‘Ben Franklin was in the army?'” said Knotts, a 20-year veteran of the U.S. Army and chairman of military science at Eastern. “After that I had to learn more and it became very interesting to me and I was surprised that I didn’t know this earlier.”

Booth Library hosted a presentation called “Benjamin Franklin and the Army,” by Lt. Col.

Stephen Knotts, centered around Franklin’s military experience, how he supplied the revolutionary war and how today’s current logistical plans are much like his original ideas.

“Limiting Ben Franklin to just an inventor, philosopher and entrepreneur is wrong; he had so much influence on how the modern logistics work,” Knotts said.

Franklin’s logistics are the basis for the logistics used as recent as Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Knotts said Franklin’s war experiences started in the French and Indian War, where he led a group of men and merchants to protect themselves against the French.

This act started the Pennsylvania National Guard.

“Franklin was a big reason as to why the armies got their supplies,” Knotts said.

Knotts said Franklin would put a supply list request into Congress, which they would approve or deny. If the list was approved, then Franklin would contact the French who funded a good deal of the supply. Afterward the supplies would be organized and shipped.

“It took around nine months for the supplies to get to the troops. I’m always impressed about how he was able to determine so far ahead of time what the armies would need,” Knotts said.

Geoff Zokal, a senior history major, was in attendance and he said he plans to attend more of the presentations in the weeks to come.

“I came because I love history, particularly military history,” Zokal said. “This was very interesting and I look forward to attending some of the other events.”

Also in attendance was 2nd Lt. Jessica Paetz who originally only came to support Knotts.

“(Knotts) is basically my employer so that’s why I came, but it was actually very interesting seeing how the same ideas have been used for so many years,” Paetz said.

The event, coordinated by Jocelyn Tipton, is just one of a series about Ben Franklin’s life and influence. The event goes through Feb. 25.

Kaylia Eskew can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected].