UNT Military History Center to host seminar featuring Vietnam War colonel and historian

Tuesday, November 2, 2021 - 08:50

What: 38th Annual Alfred and Johanna Hurley Military History Seminar on “Conventional War or Insurgency? The Strategy and Tactics of the Vietnam War”

When: 8:30 a.m.-2 p.m. Nov. 6 (Saturday)

Where: Jade Ballroom 333 of the UNT University Union, 1155 Union Circle, Denton

To attend: Cost is $50 to attend. Tickets can be purchased through UNT Union Tickets.



The UNT Military History Center will host the 38th Annual Alfred and Johanna Hurley Military History Seminar on Nov. 6.

The Hurley Military History Seminar was founded in 1983 by former UNT President and retired Air Force Gen. Alfred Hurley. As one of the nation’s premier military history events, the seminar’s unique concept moves fluidly between the battlefield and the academic world by bringing together scholars, military veterans, national security officials and others to engage in thought-provoking discussions about military conflicts from the past and present.

Upon the 50th anniversary of the withdrawal of the last U.S. combat troops from Vietnam, this year’s event will explore the conflict. Discussions will examine multiple perspectives including the vantage points from troops on the ground to the view from Saigon, Hanoi and Washington.

Speakers are retired U.S. Army Col. Ramon "Tony" Nadal and Andrew Wiest, a professor of history and the founder of the Dale Center for the Study of War and Society at the University of Southern Mississippi.

Nadal will reflect on his experience in one of the war's fiercest battles. Nadal commanded a company in Lt. Col. Hal Moore's 7th Cavalry Regiment at the Battle of Ia Drang, which was the first major clash between the U.S. and North Vietnamese armies in November 1965. Moore and Joseph Galloway later documented the horrors of Ia Drang in their book We Were Soldiers Once...And Young, which was the basis for the 2002 movie We Were Soldiers.

As an expert on the Vietnam War and author of several books on the Vietnam War including The Boys of '67and Vietnam's Forgotten Army, Wiest will consider the question of the war's strategic direction and whether or not the conflict was winnable.

“Vietnam was our first real post-World War II ‘war of choice,’ meaning that it was not an existential threat,” said Geoffrey Wawro, professor of history and director of the UNT Military History Center. “We intervened to contain the spread of communism and fought a limited war — with most of our strength focused on more critical theaters like Europe — against an enemy committed to an unlimited struggle.

“The debate as to whether the war was ‘winnable’ or even sensible continues to this day, and we will hear much about it from Col. Nadal, who was in the thick of some of the war's bitterest combat, and Professor Wiest, who has devoted his career to researching and writing about the war from the American and Vietnamese perspectives.”

UNT is home to one of the top military history programs in the world. Faculty and students study, analyze and discuss the history and future of warfare in every era and culture. Their scholarship has brought new and enlightening perspectives to war and its impact on society. Faculty members are sought-after experts in military history and have appeared in original series on The History Channel, National Geographic, Netflix and more.

In addition, the UNT Oral History Program has numerous interviews with military veterans, including many from the Vietnam War, in its collection. UNT Special Collections also holds the papers of Gen. Olinto Barsanti, who commanded the 101st Airborne Division in Vietnam from July 1967 to July 1968.

UNT News Service
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