About the Symposium

The 2017 PBS Documentary by directors Ken Burns and Lynn Novick on the Vietnam War has revived interest in the war and its impact on society, politics and our military. The documentary has prompted reappraisals of the war by historians, pundits, and most importantly, the veterans who fought in the conflict.

This one-day conference will examine a few key issues that continue to dominate the debate about the war.  Topics we’ll cover include thoughts on the Vietnam War 50 years later, perspectives on strategy and its execution, leading citizen-soldiers in combat, the POW experience, and media and reporting during the Vietnam War.

We welcome all members of the public to come to listen, learn and share as we explore the Vietnam War 50 years after 1968, a year that for many was a turning point both in the war and at home. The dress code for our conference is business casual.



We greatly appreciate the generosity of Gerald P. Kaminsky and Martin I. Kaminsky in support of our symposium.

We are proud to be an official partner with the Vietnam War Commemorative Commission.
Please click on their seal below to visit their website ‘& embrace this noble mission.’

Vietnam War Commission Partner Seal
Vietnam Conference Cover Art


The Honorable James Webb
The Honorable James WebbKeynote Speaker
Former U.S. Senator from Virginia, Secretary of the Navy, Assistant Secretary of Defense for Reserve Affairs, Counsel for the United States House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs and Marine Corps officer.
Webb’s Bio
Hal Kushner
Hal KushnerDinner Keynote Speaker
F. Harold Kushner, M.D., F.A.C.S.
Colonel Medical Corps, U.S. Army (ret.)

Kushner’s Bio

All Speakers

Pierre Asselin is Professor of History and Dwight E. Stanford Chair in US Foreign Relations at San Diego State University.  He is the author of A Bitter Peace: Washington, Hanoi, and the Making of the Paris Agreement (University of North Carolina Press, 2002), which won the 2003 Kenneth W. Baldridge Prize; Hanoi’s Road to the Vietnam War, 1954-1965 (University of California Press, 2013), winner of the 2013 Arthur Goodzeit Book Award; and Vietnam’s American War: A History (Cambridge University Press, 2018).  He is co-editor of The Cambridge History of the Vietnam War, Volume III: Endings (Cambridge University Press, forthcoming).  He speaks Vietnamese and regularly travels to Vietnam for research.

Gregory Daddis is an associate professor of history and director of Chapman University’s MA Program in War and Society. Daddis joined Chapman after having served as the Chief of the American History Division in the Department of History at the United States Military Academy at West Point.

A retired US Army colonel, he has served in both Operations Desert Storm and Iraqi Freedom. Daddis specializes in the history of the Vietnam Wars and the Cold War era.

He has authored four books, including:

  • Withdrawal: Reassessing America’s Final Years in Vietnam (2017),
  • Westmoreland’s War: Reassessing American Strategy in Vietnam (2014) and
  • No Sure Victory: Measuring U.S. Army Effectiveness and Progress in the Vietnam War (2011).

He has also published several op-ed pieces commenting on current military affairs, to include writings in the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, and National Interest magazine.

Joseph L. Galloway, one of America’s premier war and foreign correspondents for half a century, recently retired as the senior military correspondent for Knight Ridder Newspapers. Before that, he held an assignment as a special consultant to General Colin Powell at the State Department.

Early in 2013, he was sworn into service as a special consultant to the Vietnam War 50th Anniversary Commemoration project run by the Office of the Secretary of Defense. He is also a permanent consultant to Ken Burns’ Florentine Films project to make a documentary history of the Vietnam War for broadcast in 2016 on PBS.

Galloway, a native of Refugio, Texas, spent 22 years as a foreign and war correspondent and bureau chief for United Press International, and 20 years as a senior editor and senior writer for U.S. News & World Report magazine. He joined Knight Ridder in the fall of 2002.

During the course of 15 years of foreign postings—including assignments in Japan, Indonesia, India, Singapore and three years as UPI bureau chief in Moscow in the former Soviet Union–Galloway served four tours as a war correspondent in Vietnam and also covered the 1971 India-Pakistan War and half a dozen other combat operations.

In 1990-1991 Galloway covered Desert Shield/Desert Storm, riding with the 24th Infantry Division (Mech) in the assault into Iraq. Galloway also covered the Haiti incursion and made trips to Iraq to cover the war there in 2003 and 2005-2006.

The late Gen. H. Norman Schwarzkopf who first met Galloway in South Vietnam when he was a brand-new Army major, called the Texan “the finest combat correspondent of our generation—a soldier’s reporter and a soldier’s friend.”

He is a co-author, with Lt. Gen. (ret) Hal Moore, of the national bestseller We Were Soldiers Once-And Young which has been made into a critically acclaimed movie, We Were Soldiers, starring Mel Gibson. We Were Soldiers Once-And Young is presently in print in six different languages and more than 1.2 million copies have been sold.

Galloway also co-authored Triumph Without Victory: The History of the Persian Gulf War for Times Books— and he and Gen. Moore in 2008 published their sequel to We Were Soldiers, a work titled: We Are Soldiers Still:  A Journey Back to the Battlefields of Vietnam.

Last year Military History magazine polled 50 leading historians to choose the Ten Greatest Books Ever Written on War. We Were Soldiers Once…and Young was among those ten books.

On May 1, 1998, Galloway was decorated with a Bronze Star Medal with V for rescuing wounded soldiers under fire in the Ia Drang Valley, in November 1965. His is the only medal of valor the U.S. Army awarded to a civilian for actions in combat during the entire Vietnam War.

Galloway received the National Magazine Award in 1991 for a U.S. News cover article on the 25th anniversary of the Ia Drang Battles, and the National News Media Award of the U.S. Veterans of Foreign Wars in 1992 for coverage of the Gulf War. In 2000, he received the President’s Award for the Arts of the Vietnam Veterans Association of America. In 2001, he received the BG Robert L. Denig Award for Distinguished Service presented by the U.S. Marine Corps Combat Correspondents Association. In 2005, he received the Abraham Lincoln Award of the Union League Club of Philadelphia, and the John Reagan (Tex) McCrary Award of the Congressional Medal of Honor Society.

Galloway was awarded the 2011 Doughboy Award, the highest honor the Army’s Infantry can bestow on an individual. Few civilians have ever received a Doughboy. On Veterans Day, 2011, he received the Legacy of Service Award of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund.

Galloway is a member of the boards or advisory boards of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund, the 1st Cavalry Division Association, the National Infantry Museum, the School of Social Studies of The Citadel in Charleston, S.C., the Museum of America’s Wars, and the Military Reporters and Editors Association.

Galloway is the recipient of honorary doctorate degrees from Norwich University and Mount St. Mary’s College of Newburgh, N.Y.

Phil grew up as an ‘Army Brat’, living in the US, Japan, and Italy before going to high school. Upon graduation from Virginia Military Institute in 1967, he commissioned as a Regular Army officer. Among other duties, his ten years of active service included two Infantry combat command assignments in Vietnam. He served as a combat Infantryman, Ranger, Pathfinder, and Master Parachutist. He was wounded in action twice, for which he was awarded two Purple Hearts. For other combat actions, he was awarded two Silver Star Medals and the Bronze Star Medal, with ‘V’. He also holds the Soldiers Medal, for rescuing a woman trapped in a burning car, in Washington, DC. Phil holds masters’ degrees in Foreign Service from Georgetown University and Business Administration from Stanford University. His career in investment banking, venture capital and technology has spanned thirty years.

He is a writer and lecturer on topics of military history, has been published in various military history periodicals, and has appeared as a television commentator on military history and technology, on the History Channel and the Military Channel.

He appears in the Ken Burns – produced PBS documentary series The Vietnam War. He is a director of the National World War II Memorial in Washington DC, as well as an advisor on military history to the Presidio Trust, which manages the historic Presidio of San Francisco. He has served as both Councilman and Mayor of his hometown of Corte Madera, in Marin County, California.

Harold Kushner, M.D., F.A.C.S.
Col. Medical Corps, U.S. Army (ret.)

Dr. Kushner was raised in Danville, Virginia and received his B.A. degree in chemistry with highest honors, from the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill in 1961, and attended graduate school in chemistry there for one year.  He received his M.D. degree from the Medical College of Virginia in Richmond in 1966.

Dr. Kushner entered the Army while a medical student in 1965, and received aviation medical training at Fort Rucker, Alabama, and Pensacola, Florida before deploying to Vietnam in August 1967 as an Army Flight Surgeon. Dr. Kushner served with the 1st Squadron, 9th US Cavalry, 1st Air Cavalry Division in Vietnam.  He was captured on 2 December 1967 west of Tam Ky, SVN, and released to American Control in Hanoi on 16 March 1973.

He was a military flight surgeon from 1967 to 1977 and has served as visiting surgeon on medical missions all over the world including Peru, India, Africa, Turkey, Haiti, and the Dominican Republic. His military experience includes active duty in the United States Army from 1965 to 1977, and duty as an Army reserve officer from 1977 to 1985 when he retired with the rank of Colonel.

Dr. Kushner’s military awards include the Silver Star, the Soldiers’ Medal, the Bronze Star, the Air Medal, 3rd award, the Purple Heart, the Army Commendation Medal, and other awards and badges including the Combat Medic Badge and the Senior Flight Surgeon’s Badge.

In 1973, he was named Military Flight Surgeon of the year and in 1990, by order of the Secretary of the Army, he was made a permanent “Distinguished Member of the 9th Cavalry Regiment.” He was inducted into the Army Aviation Hall of Fame in April 2001. In October of 2001, the medical dispensary and outpatient clinic for 1st Battalion 9th Cavalry, 1st Cavalry Division at Fort Hood, Texas was named in his honor and dedicated to him.  Since 2001, he has been a member of the Board of Trustees of the Army Aviation Hall of Fame; and from 2009-2016, was Chairman of that Board.  He is a member of the National Veterans’ Affairs Advisory Committee on Former Prisoners of War. He is a member of the Vietnamese Helicopter Pilots Association, The Silver Sabre Society, The Order of Military Medical Merit, the Distinguished Flying Cross Society (Honorary Flight Surgeon), an honorary life member of the River Rats (Red River Valley Fighter Pilots Association), and was awarded the Order of St Michael Gold Medal in 2016.

Dr. Ron Milam is an Associate Professor of Military History, who specializes in the Vietnam War and is the Executive Director of the Institute for Peace &  Conflict, which includes the world-renowned Vietnam Center & Archive.

After a long career in the Oil & Gas Industry, he earned a Ph.D. at the University of Houston. He is the author of

  • Not a Gentleman’s War: An Inside View of Junior Officers in the Vietnam War and
  • The Vietnam War in Popular Culture:  The influence of America’s Most Controversial War on Everyday Life.   

As a Fulbright Scholar, he taught the History of U.S. Foreign Policy in Vietnam and teaches Study Abroad in Southeast Asia most summers. He is one of eight American scholars writing the history of America’s wars for the new Education Center at “The Wall” in Washington D.C. and in 2015 was recognized for his teaching of military history by being inducted into the Officer Candidate School Hall of Fame at the Infantry Museum in Fort Benning, Georgia.

Dr. Mark Moyar is the Director of the Office for Civilian-Military Cooperation at USAID, where has served since February 2018. Previously he was Director of the Project on Military and Diplomatic History at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. From 2013 to 2015, he held the position of Senior Fellow at the Joint Special Operations University, after working as a consultant for the senior leadership of the Special Operations Joint Task Force-Afghanistan, U.S. Special Operations Command, U.S. Central Command, and the International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan.

From 2004 to 2010, Dr. Moyar served as a professor at the U.S. Marine Corps University, where he held the Kim T. Adamson Chair of Insurgency and Terrorism. Prior to attending graduate school, he studied in Germany on a DAAD fellowship and worked as a management consultant.

Dr. Moyar is the author of six books and numerous studies and articles. His book Aid for Elites: Building Partners and Ending Poverty with Human Capital explains how human capital development can yield transformative success across the spectrum of international development, governance, and security. His other books cover special operations forces, national security strategy, counterinsurgency, and the Vietnam War.

Dr. Moyar holds a B.A. summa cum laude from Harvard and a Ph.D. from Cambridge.

Jim Sterba has been a foreign correspondent, war correspondent and national correspondent for more than four decades, first for The New York Times and then for The Wall Street Journal.

He began reporting at the Evening Star in Washington, D.C., in 1966 and a year later became assistant to James Reston, the New York Times columnist. In 1969 and 1970 he covered the Vietnam War, returning briefly in 1973 and then to Clark Airbase to cover returning American POWs. Meanwhile, as the Times correspondent for Southeast Asia, he reported the 1971 India-Pakistan war, guerrilla wars in Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Thailand and the Philippines, and famine in Afghanistan.

In 1973, Sterba became a national correspondent for the Times, based in Denver and Houston. He returned to Asia in 1979 to cover the Vietnamese invasion of Cambodia, stayed on as bureau chief in Hong Kong and China correspondent. He returned to New York in 1982 as a science reporter.

In November 1982, Sterba joined the Wall Street Journal as a reporter and editor on the foreign desk, became an assistant foreign editor in 1984 and a senior correspondent in 1986, reporting mainly from Asia. In 1989, he covered the Chinese student demonstrations and the subsequent military crackdown on them in Beijing’s Tiananmen Square.

Born in Detroit, Sterba grew up on a farm in central Michigan, is a graduate and distinguished alumnus of Michigan State University. He is the author of Frankie’s Place: A Love Story and Nature Wars: The Incredible Story of How Wildlife Comebacks Turned Backyards into Battlegrounds. He lives in New York City with his wife, the author Frances FitzGerald.

The Honorable James H. Webb, Jr., has been a combat Marine, full committee counsel in Congress, Assistant Secretary of Defense, Secretary of the Navy, U.S. Senator from Virginia, Emmy-award winning journalist, filmmaker and is the author of 10 books.

(See full bio above)

Dr. Jacqueline E. Whitt is Associate Professor of Strategy at US Army War College in the Department of National Security and Strategy. She teaches courses on the Theory of War and Strategy; National Security Policy and Strategy; American War, Society, and Social Change; and Great Books for Senior Leaders. Her first book, Bringing God to Men: American Military Chaplains, Religion, and the Vietnam War was published with the University of North Carolina Press in 2014 and won the 2016 Richard W. Leopold prize for the best work on foreign policy, military affairs, historical activities of the federal government written by a federal employee. She is a lead author and editor for a textbook, Model UN in a Box, now in its eighth edition, designed for teaching a simulations-based class on the United Nations. She is also the co-editor of Stand Up and Fight: The Creation of U.S. Security Organizations, 1942-2005, published by SSI in 2015. Dr. Whitt is the author of numerous articles and book chapters about religion, the military chaplaincy, and the integration of minority populations (e.g., gender, sexual orientation, religion, disability, and immigration status) into the US military.

Professor Whitt is currently working on a book about how narrative and storytelling has shaped US grand strategy since 1945. She argues that strategists and policymakers must find the strategic sweet spot–falling victim neither to crafting “strategy without narrative” or “narrative without strategy.”  Her Bachelor of Arts is from Hollins University (Roanoke, VA) in History and International Studies, and she earned her Master of Arts (2005) and Doctorate of Philosophy (2008) in Military and American History from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. From 2008 to 2012, she taught military history, American history, and the history of world religions at the United States Military Academy at West Point. From 2012-2016 she was on the faculty at the Air War College in the Department of Strategy. Her areas of academic specialization include war and religion, social and cultural approaches to the study of war, the military chaplaincy, world religions, the Vietnam War, war since 1945, and contemporary American military history.

Dr. Andrew Wiest is University Distinguished Professor of History and the founding director of the Dale Center for the Study of War & Society at the University of Southern Mississippi. Specializing in the study of World War I and Vietnam, he has served as a Visiting Senior Lecturer at the Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst and as a Visiting Professor in the Department of Warfighting Strategy in the United States Air Force Air War College. Wiest’s titles include Vietnam’s Forgotten Army: Heroism and Betrayal in the ARVN (New York University), which won the Society for Military History’s Distinguished Book Award; his forthcoming Charlie Company’s Journey Home (Osprey); America and the Vietnam War (Routledge); and The Boys of ’67 (Osprey), which was the basis for the Emmy nominated National Geographic Channel documentary Brothers in War.

Program Schedule

Dress code for our conference is business casual.

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Venue & Location Information

The conference will be held in Lexington, Virginia at Virginia Military Institute, the nation’s oldest state-supported military college. Lexington is a small town full of history and culture. Visit Lexington and Rockbridge Area Tourism to learn more about the place that ranks #5 in USA Today’s 2017 poll of “Best Southern Small Towns.”  For more information regarding our downtown area and listings of what to do, please visit Main Street Lexington.

Conference activities will be held in Marshall Hall, home to VMI’s Center for Leadership and Ethics.  The facility is named in honor of Gen. George C. Marshall, VMI class of 1901, hailed by Winston Churchill as the “organizer of victory” for his leadership of the Allied victory in World War II.

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