Vietnam Center & Sam Johnson Vietnam Archive News and Updates

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

The 2009 Joint Conference Hosted by TTU Comparative Literature Program

The Comparative Literature Program at Texas Tech University is co-hosting this year’s joint-conference “Migration, Border, and the Nation-State.” This three-day event will take place in Lubbock from 9-11 April 2009. Conference organizers have issued a call for papers.

Posted by at 9:43 am
Labels: general news
Wednesday, December 17, 2008

20th Anniversary of California Vietnam Veterans Memorial

Thousands of Vietnam veterans from around California made their way to Sacramento on Saturday, December 14, to attend the 20th Anniversary celebration of the California Vietnam Veterans Memorial. Located in the heart of downtown Sacramento, the memorial stands as a tribute to the men and women of the Golden State who served their country in Southeast Asia. Following a parade through the city to the state capitol, the day’s festivities centered on the memorial grounds where speakers, including many veterans and author Joe Galloway, paid tribute to those who served. Archivist Amy Hooker and oral historian Kelly Crager represented the Vietnam Center and Archive at this event.
Photo courtesy of
Posted by at 8:56 am
Labels: general news
Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Oral Historian Jason Stewart Publishes Book

Mr. Jason Stewart, oral historian at the Vietnam Archive, has published his first book, The Timeline of the Vietnam War. As the title suggests, this work provides a comprehensive history of the conflict, beginning with the French colonial experience in Indochina and ending with the aftermath of the conflict in both Southeast Asia and the United States. This book recounts all important aspects of the conflict in vivid detail, and provides a powerful introduction to the war for those beginning to study one of the most controversial episodes in American history.

Please join me in congratulating Jason on this accomplishment.

Posted by at 9:42 am
Labels: general news
Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Forward Air Controllers Reunion

From 1-5 October 2008, I attended the biennial reunion of the Forward Air Controllers (FACs) of Vietnam. Held in Colorado Springs, CO, this year’s reunion centered around the dedication of a memorial to the FACs at Memorial Park, a place well known to Air Force veterans.
Forward air controllers served as the eyes of the U.S. military in Vietnam, usually piloting slow-moving, propeller-driven airplanes to observe enemy movements in the jungle, and often receiving deadly fire at low altitudes. The FACs are an amazing group of men noted for their bravery in combat, and for their maverick attitude in general. It was a real pleasure to spend several days with them, listening to their stories and getting to know them.

I was especially honored to meet Col. Bud Day, a veteran of World War II and the Korean War, who also led the “Misty” FACs (those flying F-100 jets) before being shot down over North Vietnam in 1967. Colonel Day spent the remainder of the war as a POW in various prison camps, and was awarded the Medal of Honor after returning home in 1973. Colonel Day is the most heavily decorated living veteran in the United States.

Posted by at 1:17 pm
Labels: oral history,veterans' associations
Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Gamewardens of Vietnam Reunion

From 17-19 July, I had the pleasure of attending the reunion of the Gamewardens of Vietnam in Norfolk, Virginia. 2008 marked the 40th anniversary of the Gamewardens, so this was certainly a very special event. The U.S. Navy initiated Project Gamewarden to combat enemy traffic on the inland waterways of the Mekong Delta during the war, and this Brown Water Navy was involved in some of the most harrowing experiences of the Vietnam War. Mainly operating PBRs (patrol boat river) these sailors plied the rivers and canals of South Vietnam, searching for shipments of enemy weapons, food, etc.

As you might imagine, I met a number of very colorful individuals at the reunion, and enjoyed the distinct honor of speaking with members of River Division 593, a group whose gallantry in combat earned them a number of medals, including the Navy Cross which was bestowed upon David Larsen in 1970.

The Gamewardens have offered much support to the Vietnam Center and Archive over the years (see Gamewardens collections donated to the Archive), and I look forward to working with them in the Oral History Project in the future.
Monday, July 28, 2008

Vietnam Archive Welcomes Mr. Jason Stewart

The Oral History Project at the Vietnam Archive is pleased to announce that Jason Stewart will be joining our faculty. Jason comes to us from the University of Southern Mississippi, where he is ABD in his doctoral studies. Jason is a specialist in the history of the Army of the Republic of Vietnam (ARVN) and is working with Professor Andy Wiest at USM. Jason will be conducting interviews for the Project, and we are very pleased to have him aboard. Please join us in welcoming Jason to Lubbock.

Posted by at 10:31 am
Labels: oral history,staff spotlight
Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Oral History Interview of Interest

We have recently posted to our Oral History web page an interview conducted with Mr. Allan Lavelle. Lavelle enjoyed a long career as an aviator and as a foreign language specialist with the U.S. Air Force. He also worked with the U.S. State Department, eventually becoming the Director of Refugees and War Victims in II Corps in South Vietnam under the famous John Paul Vann in the CORDS program. In this interview, Lavelle recounts his experiences in Vietnam, especially his time devoted to caring for Vietnamese and Montangnard refugees in II Corps, working with the hard-charging Vann. Lavelle’s story is one of a remarkable individual who understood the “big picture” of the war, while working tirelessly to aid the most helpless victims of the conflict.

Lavelle passed away at his home in San Antonio, Texas, on 15 June 2008.

Link: Allan Lavelle Interview

Posted by at 11:21 am
Labels: oral history