Vietnam Center & Archive News and Updates
Robert Funseth’s career included 40 years of diplomatic service at American embassies, consulates and on diplomatic missions in the Middle East, Europe, Asia, Africa, the Western Hemisphere and the United Nations. He was the spokesman for the State Department in the 1970s and during his last ten years there, Funseth managed the worldwide U.S. refugee program.
He received numerous awards for his for humanitarian achievements, particularly pioneer work on behalf of refugee women and children, improving refugee mental health, and negotiating the release of tens of thousands of political prisoners.
The following lines are from A Song of Appreciation (Bài Ca Cảm Ơn by Huỳnh Công Anh) dedicated by the Vietnamese Political Prisoners and Their Families to Robert Funseth when he was Senior Deputy Assistant Secretary of State (from the Virtual Vietnam Archive, Item No. 1849150078000):
Some men have such humane hearts
Their love shines radiant like a halo
Their light pierces through the dark prison cells
Which mankind is all too disposed to forget.
Symposium Call for Papers and Panels
“A Medical History of the Vietnam War”
The Vietnam Center and Archive, Texas Tech University
Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences Army Medical Department Center of History and Heritage
March 10-12, 2016
Holiday Inn San Antonio Airport, San Antonio, Texas
Presentations on all facets of medicine and healthcare related to the Vietnam War are welcome to include historical understandings of military medicine as practiced by all participants and in all geographic regions, the repercussions of the war on the practice of medicine, medicine in various campaigns, medical care outside of Vietnam, effects on the home front, postwar medical issues, mental health issues, and related topics.
Symposium organizers welcome both individual presentation proposals as well as pre-organized panel proposals that include two to three presentations. Symposium sessions will follow the standard 90 minute format to include one hour for presentations and 30 minutes for questions and discussion. Presentations by veterans are especially encouraged as are presentations by graduate students. All of the symposium organizers are partners with the Department of Defense’s Vietnam War Commemoration. In keeping with that partnership, there will be a dignified event to thank veterans for their service.
Proposal submission deadline is October 31, 2015. Please send a 250 word abstract and separate two-page CV/resume to firstname.lastname@example.org. If submitting a panel proposal, please include separate abstracts for each proposed presentation and CVs/resumes for each speaker.
Thank you for your interest in participating in this symposium.
Location: Helen DeVitt Jones Auditorium, Museum of Texas Tech University
Jan K. Herman was the chief medical historian of the Navy from 1979 to 2012, the curator of the Old Naval Observatory, and editor-in-chief of Navy Medicine for 30 years. Since 2000, he has written and produced documentaries for the US Navy highlighting its medical service. In the documentary and its companion book, The Lucky Few, Herman tells the “relatively unknown heroic tale” of one small US Navy destroyer escort’s participation in the closing days of the Vietnam War. Herman has authored more than 50 articles and monographs plus five other books.
Captain Paul Jacobs (USN, retired) will also be in attendance. Jacobs served as commanding officer of the USS Kirk in April-May 1975 during Operation Frequent Wind (the evacuation of Saigon), during which the USS Kirk escorted the ships of the South Vietnamese Navy and 30,000 refugees to safety.
This lecture is sponsored by a generous grant from the Helen Jones Foundation and co-sponsored by the Museum of Texas Tech University.
As many of you may have already heard, longtime Associate Director and Archivist Mary Saffell has accepted the position of Senior Archivist/University Archivist with Texas Christian University in Fort Worth, beginning in October. Mary joined the Vietnam Center and Archive in the spring of 2002 and has been instrumental in the growth the Archive has experienced over the last decade, as well as the development of the Virtual Vietnam Archive.
During her time with the VNCA, Mary has been a part of a significant number of wide-ranging projects. She has received grants for and directed numerous archival projects, starting with a project to preserve the film “Dong Tam Base Camp,” part of the William Foulke Collection. In 2005 Mary applied for a grant through the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC) to process the Families of Vietnamese Political Prisoners Association/Vietnamese American Heritage Foundation (FVPPA/VAHF) collection. This grant was awarded in 2006 and led to the creation of the Vietnamese American Heritage Project at the Archive, as well as an additional NHPRC grant (currently ongoing) to digitize this invaluable collection. In 2011 Mary, along with current Assistant Archivist Amy Mondt, and the VNCA’s former Communications Coordinator Victoria Lovelady, initiated the VNCA’s Guest Lecture Series, which to date has brought 14 speakers to Lubbock and will continue this fall with two additional speakers, and four speakers planned for 2014.
These are just a few of the many things Mary has been a part of during her nearly twelve years with the Vietnam Center and Archive. She has played a vital role with the VNCA and will be greatly missed. We wish her the best of luck in Fort Worth!
The third Friday in September is National POW/MIA Recognition Day. There are 83,343 Americans listed as MIA since WWII, including 1,644 from the Vietnam War. Please take a moment today to remember those who are still missing from the Vietnam War and all other wars.
To learn more about efforts to account for and recover all of our missing personnel, visit the Defense Prisoner of War Missing Personnel Office (DPMO), or this lecture by Major General (Ret) W Montague Winfield, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for POW/Missing Personnel Affairs and Director of the Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office, who spoke as part of the Vietnam Center and Archive Guest Lecture Series earlier this year.
Texas Tech University’s Vietnam Center and Archive will collaborate with Michigan State University’s Vietnam Group Archive on a recent grant received to create an online repository.
The project received $265,000 in funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities to digitize 100,000 pages of materials related to the U.S. government’s early efforts to build a stable, non-communist regime in South Vietnam. This will provide students and scholars across the world easy digital access to materials significant to the study of Vietnam.
“What is very special about this particular project is that Michigan State engaged in this very important project during the Vietnam War to assist our government in developing a more efficient and effective nation-building program for the Republic of Vietnam,” said Steve Maxner, director of the Vietnam Center and Archive.
Texas Tech’s role in the project is to share insights and the practices they used to develop the Virtual Vietnam Archive, which houses over 3.2 million pages of scanned materials related to all aspects of American involvement in Southeast Asia.
“Working with Michigan State to provide free international access to this collection via the Virtual Vietnam Archive at Texas Tech will help researchers and educators who wish to look more closely at this important aspect of Vietnam War history,” Maxner said.
In return for Texas Tech’s support, Michigan State will provide copies of the digitized “Vietnam Project” resources to add to the Virtual Vietnam Archive. These documents, which cover a time period predating the majority of Texas Tech’s collection, will fill a gap in the archive from the 1960s to the 1970s.
“It will assist policy-makers who wish to gain valuable knowledge from the nation-building experience in Vietnam and how those lessons might apply to contemporary policies, and it will help create a better-informed citizenry regarding these historical experiences and this very timely topic,” Maxner said.
The Vietnam Center and Archive at Texas Tech, which was founded in 1989, houses the largest and most comprehensive collection of materials relating to the Vietnam conflict outside of the U.S. National Archives.
-Written by Sydney O’Drobinak (TTU Communications and Marketing)
The city of Lubbock experienced a massive power outage early this morning (July 21st) lasting for several hours. During this time, the Vietnam Center and Archive website, including the Virtual Vietnam Archive, was unavailable. Power has been restored and the website is functioning normally again. We apologize for any inconvenience this may have cause.
If you experience any problems with our online resources, please send a message to email@example.com with the full details of the problem, including any error messages you may have received and the internet browser you are using.
Due to snow and icy conditions, the Vietnam Center and Archive will not open until noon today, February 13th.
just an electrical transformer that failed knocking out power to our building for most of the day. The Vietnam Center and Archive’s online resources are now available, and onsite services will resume with normal business hours tomorrow (Thursday) morning.