VC/UHV Library conference to revisit Vietnam War

U.S. soldiers await evacuation by helicopter during the war in Vietnam.

Last year’s theme of the VC/UHV Library’s conference was the Civil War. This year’s topic features a civil war of a different sort, one that divided two countries: the war in Vietnam.

The Vietnam Experience Conference will be held June 13-14 and features six panels of presenters.

“This conference, like the study of the Vietnam Era in general, is very important to help our nation come to terms with its past,” said Dr. Beverly Tomek, UHV assistant professor of history and conference chair. “The Vietnam veterans are a unique group in that they have faced special challenges both on the battlefield and on the home front. We need to talk about these challenges and record their stories.  We also need to honor their sacrifices and their courage.”

The conference’s six panels will be held in the Multipurpose Room of the University Center building at the University of Houston – Victoria, 3007 N. Ben Wilson. Panels offered during the conference include:
•    “Leadership in the Vietnam Era” from 8:30 a.m. – 10 a.m. on Thursday
•    “Tactical Choices of Their Implementation in Southeast Asia” from 10:30 a.m. – noon on Thursday
•    “Case Studies of the War in the Vietnam Province” from 2:30 p.m.-4 p.m. on Thursday
•    “The War in the Air” from 8:30 a.m.–10 a.m. on Friday
•    “Dissent in the Vietnam Era” from 10:30 a.m. – noon on Friday
•    “In Their Own Words: Oral History and the Vietnam Experience” from 2:30 p.m. – 4 p.m. on Friday.
Col. David Taylor will deliver the keynote address on “Our War: An Infantry Battalion’s Sacrifice in the Vietnam War” at 7 p.m. Friday in the Leo J. Welder Center for the Performing Arts, 214 N. Main St. in Victoria.
Taylor, who served in the Special Forces, is an author, military historian and publisher.
His book, “Our War” about his infantry battalion in the Vietnam War was published in 2011. He served four years on active duty, including combat in Vietnam where he was wounded twice, and 22 years in the Army Reserve in special operations and counter-terrorism.

Conference registration is not required to attend the keynote speech.

Larry Chilcoat will speak on “War Dogs Heroism and Sacrifice since World War II” during Thursday’s dinner from 6-8 p.m. Chilcoat served in the U.S. Air Force during the Vietnam War and worked as a sentry dog handler. He is currently on the Board of Directors for the Military Working Dog Teams National Monument project, authorized by President Bush in 2008.

Dr. Dennis Riedesel will discuss the “Gator Navy and the River People of Viet Nam” during Friday’s luncheon from noon-2 p.m. Riedesel is a Navy Reserve veteran who served on active duty during the war in Vietnam. He was an associate professor at UHV and is interim educational coordinator for Museum of the Coastal Bend.

Registration for the full conference is $20 and $30 for couples. For one day of the conference, the registration is $15. Victoria College and UHV students will be admitted free of charge.

Those wishing to register for the conference may do so either online at and clicking the registration tab or by printing out the registration form online and mailing it to Kathy Sullivan, VC/UHV Library, 2602 N. Ben Jordan, Victoria TX 77901. The deadline to register for the luncheon and dinner speakers is June 10.

The conference is sponsored by the Victoria College/UHV Library, First Victoria and the Victoria Advocate.

Published: Thursday, 06 June 2013

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