Vietnam Center & Archive News and Updates
Today is the Air Force’s 64th birthday, and the staff of the Vietnam Center & Archive want to wish the Air Force a very Happy Birthday! We have created a small exhibit of Air Force related materials from our collection to celebrate. You can click here to view the exhibit, or use the link at the bottom of this post.
Today the U. S. Coast Guard turns 221. To honor the Coast Guard and celebrate their birthday, we have created a small exhibit of Coast Guard materials from our collection. The Vietnam Center and Archive staff would like to say thank you to all of the men and women of the U.S. Coast Guard for all that they do. Click on the link below to see the exhibit.
Today is the Army’s 236th birthday! So happy, happy birthday U.S. Army. To celebrate the day we have created a small exhibit with Army materials from our collection. To view the exhibit click on the link below.
May 6 – 12 is Nurses Week; a week dedicated to saying thank you to nurses for all that they do for their patients and communities. In honor of this week, the Vietnam Center and Archive has developed an online exhibit titled National Nurses Week – Celebrating the Nurses of the Vietnam War. To see the exhibit please click on the title above or use the link at the bottom of this post.
In addition to the exhibit, the VNCA is hosting LeAnn Thieman, the third speaker in our Guest Lecture Series. Thieman is a nurse with over 30 years of experience who volunteered to help with Operation Babylift in the final days of the Vietnam War. She is also an author in the popular Chicken Soup series and will speaking at the Lanier Auditorium at the Texas Tech Law School on Thursday May 12th at 7:00. The lecture is free and open to the public. For more information about LeAnn or the guest lecture series, please visit the Guest Lecture Series site.
For all the nurses, thank you for all that you do.
National Nurses Week – Celebrating the Nurses of the Vietnam War
Guest Lecture Series
Today is the start of Tết, the Vietnamese Lunar New Year celebration and 2011 is the year of the cat. To celebrate this great holiday, we have created an online exhibit that is an exploration of the Tết holiday and its customs, history and traditions supplemented with photos and documents from our collection. If you would like to learn about this unique holiday please click on the link below to see our exhibit.
Forty-three years ago today the North Vietnamese launched a massive countrywide attack against almost all of the major cities and province capitals in South Vietnam, breaking the truce called for the Tết holiday and forever changing the course of the war. This countrywide assault became known as the Tet Offensive. To commemorate this historic event, the staff of the Vietnam Archive have created exhibits detailing the events of the Tet Offensive and three of the offensive’s major battles: Hue – the Imperial City, the Battle of Khe Sanh, and the Battle for Saigon. In addition to the exhibits, there is a new subject guide to help people locate materials about the Tet Offensive in our collection. Links to the exhibits and subject guide are below.
The Tet Offensive
Tet Offensive Subject Guide
The Vietnam Archive has a collection of over 12,000 Marine Corps records covering after-action reports, command chronologies and other documents for most of the Marine units serving in Vietnam. These records,shared with the archive by the Marine Corps History Division, are a valuable resource for anyone researching the Marines in the Vietnam War.
These records have been available in the Virtual Vietnam Archive for many years. However, many of the records were incorrectly labeled or could only be found in the database using specialized terms. After extensive database work, the Vietnam Archive archivists have fixed the errors and removed the specialized jargon terms so that the records are much easier to locate.
In addition to these fixes, the documents themselves are now fully word-searchable. The Vietnam Archive has undertaken a project to convert all of the over 3 million pages of digitized documents in the Virtual Vietnam Archive into word-searchable PDFs, and the conversion of the Marine Corps documents is now complete. Please note that the quality of the word-search capability is dependent on a number of factors, including the quality of the original. The worse the condition of the original scan, the lower the accuracy of the word-search function. To search for words within the PDF’s (in Adobe Reader), simply open the PDF, hold down the Ctrl key and F key and type in your keyword and hit enter. If the word is in the document, you will be taken to the page where the word is located, and the word will be highlighed with color – a great timesaving device.
As PDFs are converted into the word-searchable format, some users may be required to update to newer versions of their PDF readers. Versions of Adobe Reader older than Version 6 will not be able to access the modified PDFs, or PDFs newly added to the Virtual Archive. Adobe Reader can be downloaded free from the Adobe website – http://get.adobe.com/reader/?promoid=BUIGO
If you have not seen the Marine Corps records check out the new and improved version in the Virtual Archive. They are worth a look.
The Combined Document Exploitation Center (CDEC) Microfilm Collection is one of our most often used collections, and one on the most frustrating to access due to its lack of a useful index. The collection contains a variety of documents captured from the North Vietnamese and Vietcong during the war, and is an invaluable resource for researchers. Since 2004, we have been working on adding the materials from this collection to the Virtual Vietnam Archive, and have currently added over 39,000 files (325,000 pages), representing just a fraction of this collection. Thousands of new pages are added each month.
The Vietnam Center and Archive, with the assistance of the Defense Prisoner of War Missing Personnel Office (DPMO) and the Texas Tech Computer Science Department, is currently working on a project to make the entire collection available online, including the metadata from the 8-bit coding created by the Filesearch machine during the original filming of the materials during the war.
For more information about CDEC, including a brief history of the collection, instructions for searching for items in the Virtual Vietnam Archive, and our future plans for making the entire collection available online, see our new Combined Document Exploitation Center (CDEC) Collection Digitization Project page.
The Vietnam Center and Archive was deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Dr. Gerald Hickey in Chicago, Illinois on November 9, 2010. Hickey was a prominent anthropologist who was best known for his work with Montagnard tribes in South Vietnam during the Vietnam War. His first work in Vietnam was with Michigan State University from 1956-1959 to help rural South Vietnamese develop a modern nation-state. During this time he particularly became interested in working with the Montagnards. In fact, Hickey returned to Vietnam in 1964 as an employee of the RAND Corporation where he spent nine years tirelessly fighting for improved political rights and economic conditions for the Montagnards.
We are proud to have close to 20 linear feet of material at the Vietnam Center and Archive in the Gerald Hickey Collection to include photographs, textiles, swords, and carvings as well as many rare books on Montagnard culture in French, Vietnamese, and English. More than just being an important donor to the Vietnam Center and Archive, Gerald Hickey was a good friend. He will be greatly missed.
Hickey’s Funeral Mass will be held at 10:00 AM on Saturday, November 13 at Immaculate Conception Church, 1415 N. North Park, Chicago, Illinois. Visitation will begin at 9:00 AM and last until the beginning of Mass.
For more information about Gerald Hickey including two issues of Friends of the Vietnam Center featuring articles on him and a list of the contents in his collection at the Vietnam Center and Archive, please view the following links: