Vietnam Center & Archive News and Updates

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

3rd Annual Veterans Appreciation Day at Waters Elementary School

The Vietnam Center and Archive (VNCA) continued its commitment to honoring our veterans by participating in the third annual Veterans Appreciation Day.

On November 15th, 2013 several hundred students from Waters Elementary School in Lubbock, Texas attended the event. Students, grades Pre-K thru 5th, had the opportunity to view a restored Huey helicopter from the Vietnam War among other exhibits that celebrated our veterans.

VNCA staff, Kevin Sailsbury, shared with students in attendance era artifacts donated byVietnamveterans in “A Day in the Life of a Soldier.” Sheon Montgomery, VNCA Reference Archivist, also shared with the students the different types and uses of helicopters during the war. The event, which featured an informative exhibit timeline highlighting WWI through modern wars, also welcomed Kelly Crager and Vietnam Veteran pilot Lynn Stephens.


Posted by at 4:30 pm
Labels: general news
Thursday, November 7, 2013

The Guest Lecture Series Presents Astronaut Mike Mullane

The Vietnam Center and Archive is proud to present Astronaut and Vietnam War Veteran Mike Mullane on Thursday, November 21st at 7:00pm in the Lanier Auditorium of the Texas Tech University School of Law.  The lecture is free and open to the public.

A 1967 graduate of West Point, Mullane was commissioned in the USAF and served as a Weapon Systems Operator aboard an RF-4C Phantom, completing 150 combat missions in Vietnam. In 1978 he was selected as a Mission Specialist for the first group of Space Shuttle Astronauts. He completed three space missions and logged 356 hours in space before retiring in 1990. Mullane has been inducted into the International Space Hall of Fame and is the recipient of many awards, including the Air Force Distinguished Flying Cross, Legion of Merit and the NASA Space Flight Medal.

This is the final lecture in the Vietnam Center and Archive 2013 Guest Lecture Series.  All lectures are free and open to the public.

The mission of the Vietnam Center and Archive Guest Lecture Series is to enrich the intellectual and cultural life of students, faculty, and the community at large by bringing distinguished individuals to campus for presentations on specific aspects of the Vietnam War, its lasting impact on American politics, society and culture, and on contemporary issues in Southeast Asia.

This lecture series is funded in part by a generous grant from the Helen Jones Foundation.  For more information on the 2013 VNCA Guest Lecture Series see, or contact Mary Saffell at 806-742-9010 or


Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Ready for takeoff! Vietnam: The Helicopter War exhibit


U.S. Art Company load
Vietnam: The Helicopter exhibit

The Vietnam Center and Archive is proud to announce that the Vietnam: The Helicopter War exhibit is on its way to Australia.

The National VietnamVeterans Museumin Phillip Island, Australia, island just south of Melbourne, Victoria, will host the exhibit starting November 17th 2013 and ending January 26th 2014.

In the summer of 2013, the exhibit was on display in Lubbock’s Silent Wings Museum for the first time. Then, it was displayed in Midland,Texas. And now, a year from its creation, the exhibit will be available to the Australian public.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Happy Mid-Autumn Moon Festival 2013

Vietnam Center Collection. Unicorn paper mache mask.

Thursday, September 19th marks the Mid-Autumn Festival, also known as the Moon or Full Moon Festival. Traditionally celebrated on the fifteenth day of the eighth month of the lunar calendar, when the moon appears larger than it does on any other night of the year, the Mid Autumn Moon Festival (Tet Trung Thu) is the second biggest holiday in Vietnam and is widely celebrated throughout Asia.


Kathryn Campbell Collection. 8 year old Thi Thi Bich Nhi blends Vietnamese and Chinese legend in her drawing titled, Chi Hang (The Moon Goddess). She depicts both the Vietnamese man in the moon, Chu Cuoi, and the Chinese woman in the moon associated with the Mid-Autumn Moon Festival.


It is a time for family and to celebrate life, prosperity, and the harvest. During the Mid-Autumn festival, parents prepare their children’s favorite dishes and buy them new toys. Children hear the story of Chu Cuoi (the man in the moon) and other fairytales.

Douglas Pike Photograph Collection
Mid-Autumn Festival Celebration – “Moon Men” – Enterprising merchant in Saigon uses display of Lunar Astronauts to call attention to “Moon Cakes,” a traditional delicacy sold during the Mid-Autumn Festival.

Hanging and floating lanterns are set out to decorate and people dance the lion and dragon dances. Mooncakes (made from lotus seed, ground beans, and containing a bright salted egg yolk in the center) are given to family and friends.

Ogden Williams Collection USOM/Office of Rural Affairs

Pomelo fruit and watermelon seeds are a special treat. At night children parade through the streets to the beat of drums wearing Paper Mache masks and carrying lanterns in the shapes of stars, rabbit heads, fish (carpe), butterflies, or lanterns with a lit candle inside that makes shapes spin representing the seasonal spinning of the earth.

Vietnam Center Collection. Paper mache mask.

Friday, August 9, 2013

Latest Issue of the Friends of the Vietnam Center Newsletter Available Online

The current issue of the Friends of the Vietnam Center Newsletter is now available online.  This issue is focused on our upcoming conference, Vietnam, 1963, to be held at the National Archives in Washington, DC on Sept. 26-28th, 2013, and includes a full agenda for the conference.

The conference is free and open to the public, but we ask people who are planning on attending the conference to pre-register online.

If you would like to receive a full color printed version of this newsletter in your mailbox, please consider becoming a friend of the Vietnam Center. Membership information can be found on our Friends of the Vietnam Center webpage.


Fall 2011 Issue:

Newsletter Back Issues:

Membership Information:

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Happy Independence Day!

Happy Independence Day from the Vietnam Center and Archive, and thank you to all of those who have worked to preserve our freedom!

Undated, Michael G. Kelly Collection

Friday, March 8, 2013

In Memory of Dr. John Buesseler, 1920-2013

Col. John Buesseler, August 1970 - Photo by Capt. James B. Evans [va035803]

Col. John Buesseler, August 1970 – Photo by Capt. James B. Evans [va035803]

It is with deep sadness that we inform you of the death of a great friend, Dr. John Buesseler, who passed away on Thursday, March 7, 2013. For more than four decades, Dr. Buesseler has been an important member of our community in Lubbock, at Texas Tech University, and at TTU Health Sciences Center.  Dr. Buesseler is perhaps best known as the founding dean of the TTUHSC School of Medicine. In addition to his remarkable work in that position, he also served many patients as a practicing ophthalmologist and was very active in historical preservation projects in West Texas, to include founding the Texas Aviation Heritage Foundation, Incorporated (TAHFI) and bringing the Silent Wings Museum to Lubbock. Perhaps less widely known was his essential role in the founding and success of the Vietnam Center and Archive at Texas Tech University. Dr. Buesseler worked very closely with Dr. Jim Reckner, founding director of the Vietnam Center and Archive, along with many other supporters, and in 1989 they established what has become the most comprehensive archive of Vietnam War materials outside the U.S. National Archives.  As a veteran who served during World War II and the Vietnam War, both of these projects remained very near and dear to him until the end of his life.

Born in 1920, Dr. Buesseler is a member of that amazing generation of young Americans whose coming of age corresponded with the Great Depression, the attack on Pearl Harbor, and the many terrible struggles that ensued in Europe and Asia during WWII. Following his service in Europe, Dr. Buesseler returned home, got married to his wonderful wife, Cathy, and they pursued a life together in medicine and teaching. In early 1970, as a Colonel in the U.S. Army Reserves attached to the 5th Special Forces Group in Vietnam, he organized and conducted a study of the US military medical evacuation system (also called MEDEVAC or DUSTOFF), a program that served as the foundation for the current helicopter medical evacuation system in place throughout the United States today.

Dr. Buesseler and Dr. James Reckner at the 2011 Vietnam Center Symposium

Dr. Buesseler and Dr. James Reckner at the 2011 Vietnam Center Symposium

Arriving in Lubbock in late 1970 to assume the founding deanship at TTUHSC, Dr. Buesseler then dedicated his life to the health and well-being of his patients, the education of TTUHSC students, and to the improvement of our community. He remained very active in both TAHFI and the Vietnam Center and Archive, serving on both boards and continuing to provide extensive support, guidance, and encouragement. The legacy of these two projects alone will remain as a testament to his vision, leadership, generosity, and devotion to Lubbock, TTU, and TTUHSC. They will also stand as living monuments to the memory of our nation’s military heroes, of which he was one.

In the words of our founding director, Dr. Jim Reckner, “Time takes its inevitable toll.  The shadows daily lengthen as the shining lights of John’s generation grow dimmer and ultimately are extinguished.  By their sacrifice, they established the basis for American security and prosperity for decades.  And now they go to eternal rest.”

At the request of the family, there will be no public memorial services held. Our thoughts and prayers are with Mrs. Cathy Buesseler and their family. John gave so much of himself to us and we will be forever grateful for his friendship and for all he did for our community and nation. May he rest in peace.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Latest Issue of the Friends of the Vietnam Center Newsletter Available Online

The Fall 2012 issue of the Friends of the Vietnam Center Newsletter is now available online.  This issue contains articles on the VNCA’s partnership with the 50th Anniversary of the Vietnam War Commemoration, information about our 2013 Annual Conference, to be held in September in Washington, DC, and more.

If you would like to receive a full color printed version of this newsletter in your mailbox, please consider becoming a friend of the Vietnam Center. Membership information can be found on our Friends of the Vietnam Center webpage.


Fall 2011 Issue:

Newsletter Back Issues:

Membership Information:

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Veterans Day 2012

The staff of the Vietnam Center and Archive would like to take a moment to say Thank You to all veterans, their families, friends, and loved ones for their service.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Vietnam Center and Archive to Join Forces with Michigan State

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)

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