The University of Tennessee
A-Z Index  /  WebMail  /  Dept. Directory

Celebrate Freedom 2000 - Speaker Bios

Celebrate Freedom 2000 Biographies

Stephen Ambrose is the acclaimed author of over twenty books, including The New York Times bestsellers D-Day June 6, 1944: The Climatic Battle of World War II and Undaunted Courage: Meriwether Lewis, Thomas Jefferson and the Opening of the American West. The latter appeared on The New York Times bestseller list for twelve months, topped The New York Times paperback bestseller list, and was profiled in an ABC miniseries. For his book The Victors, Ambrose was praised as a "superb historian" by the New York Times. Other books include Band of Brothers: "E" Company 506th Regiment, 101st Airborne: From Normandy to Hitler's Eagle's Nest, and Pegasus Bridge: June 6, 1944. He has also written biographies of Dwight Eisenhower, Richard Nixon, Crazy Horse, and Custer. He has most recently served as historical consultant to Steven Spielberg for the film Saving Private Ryan, and together they are collaborating on a book about the film. Ambrose is Director emeritus of the Eisenhower Center, retired Boyd Professor of History at the University of New Orleans, and founder and president of the National D-Day Museum.
Captain Edward L. Beach graduated second in his class from the Naval Academy in 1939. After two years serving in an old destroyer, he suddenly found himself ordered to Submarine School, which he later considered one of the most fortunate events in his life. The US entered into World War II just as Beach graduated from Submarine School in New London. During its progress, he participated in the Battle of Midway and completed eleven war patrols, in the last five of which he served either as executive officer or in command of the submarine. He ended the war on patrol in the Sea of Japan. Submarines in which he served accounted for 26 confirmed sinkings of Japanese ships and damage to an equivalent number. Following the war, Captain Beach became Naval Aide to President Eisenhower, took nuclear power training under Admiral Rickover, and culminated his sea career with command of the nuclear-powered submarine Triton during her unprecedented shakedown cruise in 1960, a submerged circumnavigation of the world. Beach retired from active naval service in 1966, served eight years as a staff member of the US Senate, and retired finally behind his typewriter in 1982, where he may still be found. He has received numerous military and civilian decorations and is the author of thirteen books, with another currently on the way.
The Honorable Carolyn Becraft assumed the position of Assistant Secretary of the Navy (Manpower and Reserve Affairs) in October 1998. In this capacity, she acts on matters pertaining to manpower and personnel policy within the Department of the Navy. Her purview also includes personnel readiness, quality of life and health care programs and issues affecting active duty and reserve Sailors, Marines, and Department of Navy civilians. Prior to this appointment, Ms. Becraft served as the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Personnel Support, Families and Education. In that position, she served as the principal advisor to the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Force Management Policy, on policies affecting quality of life programs. Ms. Becraft is the recent recipient of the White House Office of Women's Initiatives and Outreach, "Sojourner Truth Achievement Award," for her lasting contributions to the quality of life for women. She has also received the DoD Distinguished Public Service Award and the 1997 recipient of the National Military Family Association's Annual Quality of Life Award as well as the American Logistics Association Distinguished Service Award. She received the Office of the Secretary of Defense Outstanding Achievement Award in 1996. Ms. Becraft earned her bachelor's degree from the University of North Dakota, her home state, and a master's degree from the University of Southern California. She served as a commissioned officer in the U.S. Army.
Margaret Lynn Brown, Assistant Professor of History at Brevard College, is conducting an oral history project of Korean War Veterans. The study, which grew out of a classroom project, will be added to the collection at the Center for the Study of War and Society. A PhD from the University of Kentucky, Brown is the author of The Wild East: A Biography of the Great Smoky Mountains. She teaches both Environmental History and U.S. History Since 1945.
D'Ann Campbell received her BA in History from Colorado College and then pursued her PhD in History at the University of North Carolina. She continued her education with study in quantitative methods, legal contracts, and military history. Her book, Women at War with America: Private Lives in a Patriotic Era, was the first comprehensive study of women in the Second World War. Dr. Campbell has published 36 articles, mostly regarding women and the military. She loves to teach, especially American history, women's or military history, and has toured the country, training historians in computer methodology. She has held various administrative positions at The Newberry Library (Chicago), Indiana University, Austin Peay University, and The Sage Colleges. Currently, Dr. Campbell is the Vice President for Academic Affairs at New Hampshire College in Manchester, New Hampshire.
Lewis H. Carlson is the retired Director of American Studies and professor of history at Western Michigan University. For over thirty years he taught courses on twentieth-century American history, with a special emphasis on oral and social history. He has won his university's Alumni Award for Teaching Excellence, and he has been a guest lecturer in Germany at the John F. Kennedy Institute of the Free University in Berlin and at the University of Passau. He has also lectured extensively at various other German universities, as well as the Russian State University in Moscow. His seven published books have covered such subjects as race, sports, popular culture, and prisoners of war. His most recent book, We Were Each Other's Prisoners: An Oral History of World War II American and German Prisoners of War, was published in 1997. He is presently working on an oral history of Korean War POWs.
Reverend Melvin Carr left school to join the Naval Air Force at the age of seventeen, but a bout with pneumonia separated him from his training group. Upon recovery, he was sent to the gunnery department of the Pacific-bound USS Pennsylvania. He became a director/operator for the ship's anti-aircraft 40mm guns and was present at every major naval engagement in the Pacific until the end of the war. Rev. Carr left the Navy in 1946 at the age of twenty-one. For the next 30 years, he worked in building and bridge construction. He married and had two daughters and a son. While serving as an infantryman with the 1st Air Cavalry near Danang, Vietnam, Carr's son was killed in action at the age of twenty-one. In 1953, Rev. Carr was ordained and thoughtfully served his Sevier County, TN, community for 47 years until he retired in October 1999. He served as assistant chaplain at Fort Sanders Hospital in Sevierville, TN and helped establish the Sevier County Sportsman Club to stock the fish and game in the local area. Today, he continues to serve his community, speaking to schools and organizations about his faith in God and his wartime experiences.
John Whiteclay Chambers, II, is Professor and former Chair of the History Department at Rutgers University, New Brunswick, New Jersey. He is author of To Raise an Army: The Draft Comes to Modern America (New York: Fee Press of Macmillan, 1987), which won the Distinguished Book Award from the Society for Military History, and The Tyranny of Change: America in the Progressive Era, 1890-1920, which has gone through two editions with an updated edition published this spring by Rutgers University Press. He is co-editor (with David Culbert) of World War II, Film, and History (New York: Oxford University Press, 1996) and (with G. Kurt Piehler) Major Problems in American Military History (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1999). He is editor-in-chief of The Oxford Companion to American Military History (New York: Oxford University Press, 1999). His articles have been published in the Washington Post, the American Heritage Magazine, the Journal of Military History, and other journals, magazines, and newspapers. Recipient of Rockefeller and Fulbright Fellowships, Chambers has also taught at Columbia University and has lectured at universities and conferences around the world.
Tom Childers Biography not yet available.
Edward M. Coffman, a Kentuckian who earned all of his degrees at the University of Kentucky, served two years as an infantry officer in the First Cavalry Division during the Korean War but did not see combat. He started his teaching career at the University of Memphis and then spent 31 years at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He also served as a visiting professor at Kansas State University, West Point, the Air Force Academy, the Army Command and General Staff College, and the Army War College. He is the author of The War to End All Wars: The American Military Experience in World War I, The Hilt of the Sword: The Career of Peyton C. March, and The Old Army: A Portrait of the American Army in Peacetime, 1784-1898. He is currently working on a social history of the Regular Army from 1898 to 1941.
Lieutenant Colonel Conrad C. Crane, U.S. Army, Retired, is a graduate of the Military Academy and has attended Airborne School, the Command and General Staff College, and the U.S. Army War College. He received his master's and doctoral degrees from Stanford University. He is author of Bombs, Cities, and Civilians: American Airpower Strategy in World War II (1993) and American Airpower Strategy in Korea (2000). His articles have appeared in the Journal of Military History, The Historian, Mid America, Aerospace Historian, Oxford Companion to American Military History, the Journal of Strategic Studies, and the anthology World War II in Europe: The Final Years. Lieutenant Colonel Crane is a former Professor of History at the United States Military Academy at West Point and is currently Research Professor of Military Strategy at the Strategic Studies Institute of the Army War College.
Elvyn V. "Doc" Davidson was born in Long Island, NY, in 1923. He enlisted in the US Army in 1942, training in calvary tactics. He later joined the 92nd Division, also known as the "Buffalo Soldiers," who served in Italy through the end of the European campaign. After VE Day he served with the US Occupation forces in Japan. Following the conclusion of his military service, Dr. Davidson graduated from Lincoln University in 1949, and attained his medical degree from Meharry University in 1953. In 1991, he retired from a long and successful career in the field of medicine, which included residency work in General Surgery at Harlem and Bellevue Hospitals; Emergency Room physician at Oak Ridge Hospital; Assistant Instructor of Surgery at U.T. Medical Center; a two-year stint as Chief of Surgery at Baptist Memorial Hospital; and all the while cultivating a private practice that still flourishes today helmed by his daughter, .
George J. Davis of Hyde Park, NY, graduated from Franklin D. Roosevelt High School in 1943 and entered the Army that year. After a tour in the Army Specialized Training Program (ASTP) at Texas A&M, he was sent to the 103rd Infantry Division at Camp Howze, Texas. In October 1944, the division shipped overseas to France and fought through the Vosges Mountains. On December 5, 1944, Davis and four comrades were captured near the end of the five-day battle for the city of Selestat. Taken across the Rhine at Breisach, the five joined POWs from the US 7th Army and the French 1st Army. The GI's were sent to Stalag XII-A at Limberg and then to Stalag IV-B at Muhlberg am Elbe. After grim Christmas holidays, he and 150 other "Kriegies" were dumped in a work camp (arbeit kommando) at Bohmisch Leipa (now Ceska Lipa) in Czechoslovakia. The group worked on the railroads until V-E day (May 8, 1945). Still unliberated, most left the camp to seek the American lines. With a close buddy, Leroy Rubin, Davis straggled into Prague, where they encountered Major General Clarence Huebner, a Third Army Corps Commander, who took them to American forces stationed in Pilsen.
Mr. Davis attended Fordham and Columbia Universities on the GI Bill. In 1951, he married Marjorie Vetter while serving in the army a second time. After serving with the 1st Cavalry Division in Japan, he taught high school Social Studies in Hyde Park, Pleasantville, and Spackenkill, New York. Currently, Davis is retired after 30 years of teaching high school. He is author of Hitler Diet: As Inflicted on American POW's. He often speaks to school groups about the WWII and POW experience.
James Dorris was born in Chattanooga, TN. He graduated from The University of Tennessee in Chattanooga with a BS in Engineering. He worked for Simplicity Systems: a manufacturer of asphalt plants. He then bought into Esstee Manufacturing in Cleveland, TN. They make air pollution equipment and asphalt plants. Mr. Dorris is not retired. As a freshman in college Dorris entered the Army. He went into basic training at Ft. McClellan, AL, and then into an Army specialized training program in Fargo, N.D. Afterwards he joined the 42nd Rainbow Division as a Pfc; he was an automatic rifleman, and trained at Camp Gruber, OK. Mr. Dorris began his overseas service upon landing in Marseilles, France. He saw combat for the first time in the Battle of the Bulge near Inhlosheim, France. He fought through the Hardt Mountains, where he was wounded. They fought in Fuerth and Wuerzburg, Germany. On their way to Munich they liberated Dachau concentration camp. Near Brenner Pass, Mr. Dorries was accidentally shot by one of his own men. Thereafter they continued to Linz, Salzburg, and Vienna. He was discharged while in Vienna. Mr. Dorris received the Purple Heart. Mr. Dorris is married to Charlotte Snow. They have seven children and 18 grandchildren. He is a member of Her Lady of Perpetual Help Catholic Church in Chattanooga and is active in the Read Organization, the Serra Club and the Knights of Columbus.
Dr. Robert C. Doyle is a native of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He earned his BA (German) and MA (Comparative Literature) from Penn State, and Ph D in American Culture Studies from the Bowling Green State University. A Navy veteran of the Vietnam War, Dr. Doyle served in the USS Steinaker DD-863, and later in South Vietnam as a Naval Intelligence officer (NILO Ben Tre) with numerous Army, Navy, and Coast Guard units operating in the eastern Mekong Delta region in 1970 and 1971. While teaching at Penn State in 1994, Dr. Doyle published the first interdisciplinary study of the American captivity experience, Voices from Captivity: Interpreting the American POW Narrative, and became a Fulbright Lecturer of American Studies at the Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität- Münster (Germany). In 1997, his followup study, A Prisoner's Duty: Great Escapes in U. S. Military History, continued the story of Americans in military captivity. He has lectured and participated in international conferences on POW issues in the United States, France, Germany, Austria, and Australia, and taught American Civilization at Université Marc Bloch in Strasbourg, France. Dr. Doyle and his wife Beate reside in Steubenville, Ohio.
Leonard Feinberg was born in 1923. He enrolled in Rutgers University just three months before the attack on Pearl Harbor. While at Rutgers in 1942, he enlisted in the US Army Enlisted Reserve Corp and was called to active duty in July 1943. Feinberg took Medical Basic Training at Camp Grant, Illinois and then Surgical Tech School at Billings General Hospital, Fort Benj. Harrison, Indiana. He then served in the European Theater from May 1944 to June 1945 as a Company Aid Man with the First Battalion, 134th Infantry Regiment, 35th Infantry Division. Following his discharge from the Army he returned to Rutgers and completed his Bachelor of Science degree in June 1947. He then earned a Masters of Science in Biochemistry at George Washington University and a PhD in Biochemistry at Penn State University. After graduation he spent four years in Industrial Research and thirteen years in Cardiology Research. Since then he has been the Vice President and Director of a private Clinical Laboratory.
Ethel Meyer Finley entered the Women's Flying Training Detachment at Avenger Field, Sweetwater, Texas in Class 43-W-5. She received Primary Instruction in the Fairchild PT19, Basic in the BT 13 and Advanced Training in the AT6 and Twin Engine in the UC78. In September 1943 she graduated as a Woman Airforce Service Pilot (WASP). Finley has been active in many aspects of the WASP WWII organization. She served as Region I Director 1986-1988 and was on the Memorial and Awards Committee. In 1992 Finley was elected National President. From 1993 to 1998 she was Editor of the WASP News. Since 1988 she has served as Chair for Air Shows and Special Events and in 1998 she became Region 1 Director. She received the Trailblazer Award of Delaware for establishing five halfway houses for women and today focuses her attention on encouraging youth to pursue their dreams, particularly in the field of aviation.
Lin Folk, known prior to marriage as Elinor Johnson, is a native of Los Angeles, California. She attended two years of college at USC, UCLA, and Vanderbilt University. In October 1942 she enlisted in the WAVES and attended the first enlisted WAVE boot camp at Iowa State Teachers' College, Cedar Falls, Iowa. She then went to Atlanta for training as a Link Trainer Instructor and later was one of the first ten WAVES to arrive at the Pensacola Naval Air Station. There she met Reau E. Folk, Jr., whom she married in 1944. After the war, Lin became the storyteller for the Nashville Public Library and her husband became a lawyer. In 1962 she became a producer, interviewer, and narrator for Nashville Public Radio Station WPLN. Ms. Folk retired after 20 years to become a free-lancer, producing radio programs for the Tennessee Arts Commission, Vanderbilt University, various national networks, and Voice of America. As a volunteer, she conducted tape-recorded interviews with veterans of WWII, which was a project of the Center for the Study of War and Society at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. Lin is the former President of the Nashville Bar Auxiliary, American Women in Radio and TV, Nashville Chapter; and is currently a member of Volunteer Unit #94 of WAVES National.
T. Grady Gallant was in combat with the 1st Marine Division, Fleet Marine Force, in the assault on the enemy at Guadalcanal and was under enemy fire for more than four months in that battle. He went overseas the second time with the 4th Marine Division, Fleet Marine Force, and was in the assault and Battle of Iwo Jima for thirty-four days as a Sergeant of a Special Weapons squad. He is author of On Valor's Side, about Marines prior to World War II and the Battle of Guadalcanal, and The Friendly Dead, about Marines on the Iwo Jima battlefield. He has been published by Doubleday, Les Presses de la Cite, Paris France, and in paperback by Modern Library, Avon, Zebra and Popular Library. Chapters from his books are in the anthology United States Marines in World War II. His work is quoted extensively in The World Within War by Gerald F. Linderman, and in a number of books by military historians. He has been listed in Who's Who in the South and Southwest, Contemporary Authors, vol. 5-6, and The Writer's Directory, 1974-76. On Valor's Side was reviewed by The New York Times, and The Friendly Dead was included in the Book-of-the-Month Catalog.
James G. Gentry was born and raised in Williamson County, TN. He was one of nine children. Mr. Gentry was educated in the Franklin public schools, and graduated from Franklin High School. After the war he went to Peabody College on the G.I. Bill and received a B.S. degree. He also earned a National Science Foundation degree at MTSU. Mr. Gentry taught and coached football in high schools for 54 years. He was the head football coach at Battle Ground Academy in Franklin from 1949-1962. He then went to Brentwood Academy in Brentwood, TN, in 1963, where he taught biology, and was the football coach from 1963-1976. They won the championship in 1966. He continued teaching at Brentwood Academy from 1977-1999, at which time he retired. Mr. Gentry entered the military service in 1944. He served as a Sergeant in Infantry with the 42nd Rainbow Division in Europe. He did his basic training in Jacksonville, FL. Mr. Gentry liberated Dachau when he was only 17. In Fanklin there had been only one Jewish person, a doctor, so in Dachau he met Jewish people for the first time. Mr. Gentry received the Bronze Star. Mr. Gentry is married to Rebecca Channell. They live on the family farm along with their three sons? Jim, Allan and Scott? as well as their five grandchildren. Mr. Gentry has been running a children's day camp for ages 9-12 for 30 years. The camp runs for four weeks in the summer. It is called the "Brentwood experience." He is a member of the Church of Christ.
Gail Halvorsen joined the United States Army Air Corps in 1942. He attended pilot training with the Royal Air Force, after which he returned to the Army Air Corps and was assigned flight duty in foreign transport operations in the South Atlantic Theater. After the end of WWII, he flew in the Berlin Airlift, where he became known as "Uncle Wiggly Wings," the "Chocolate Flyer," and the "Berlin Candy Bomber." Halvorsen received his Bachelor and Masters degrees in Aeronautical Engineering from the Air Force Institute of Technology in 1952. From 1952 to 1970, he carried out research and development duties with Air Force Systems Command in aircraft and, beginning in 1958, research and development and operational duties in the Air Force Space Program. Colonel Halvorsen served as the Commander of Tempelhof Central Airport in Berlin and as the Air force Representative of Berlin. He earned a Masters degree in Counseling and Guidance in 1973. When he retired from the Air Force in 1974, Halvorsen had over 8000 flying hours and had earned several standard decorations. From 1976 to 1986, he was the Assistant Dean of Student Life at Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah. His book, The Berlin Candy Bomber, is in the second printing.
Bob Harmon entered the Army in 1943, where he served as a rifleman and underwent Army Specialized Training for engineering studies. In 1944 he went to the 80th Division at the Arizona-California maneuver grounds, where he remained until the end of the war. He then received his BA degree from Seattle University in 1950 and earned his MA in American and European History from the University of Washington, Seattle, in 1957. Harmon served as an instructor of history and politics at St. Martins College, Olympia, and at Seattle University. Professor Harmon was named Outstanding Faculty of the Year in 1969 and Distinguished Alumni of Seattle University in 1991. He won the Seattle University Alumni Association's Distinguished Teaching Award in 1993 and became a member of the Chapel of the Four Chaplains Legion of Honor in 2000. Currently, Professor Harmon is retired, but continues to teach at Seattle University.
Samuel Hynes was a Marine pilot from 1943 to 1946 and from 1952 to 1953, and was awarded the distinguished Flying Cross. He has taught at Swarthmore College, Northwestern University, and most recently Princeton University, where he is Woodrow Wilson Professor of Literature Emeritus. His many books include his memoir, Flights of Passage: Recollections of a World War II Aviator, The Edwardian Turn of Mind, The Auden Generation, A War Imagined: The First World War and English Culture, and The Soldiers's Tale: Bearing Witness to Modern War.
Alexander Jefferson earned his B.S. in Chemistry from Clark College in Atlanta and then earned his M.S. from Howard University. After completing Cadet Training and receiving his commission as a 2nd Lieutenant, Jefferson was assigned to the 332nd Fighter Group, 15th Air Force. Shot down by ground fire on August 1944, Jefferson spent nine months as a German prisoner of war. He retired from the Air Force Reserves in 1969 as a lieutenant colonel. He earned a Masters of Education and later retired as Assistant Principal in the City of Detroit in 1979. Jefferson is a life member of several organizations, including the American Ex-Prisoner of War Association, Silver Falcon Association, and Air Force Association, and is a perpetual member of the Military Order of the World Wars. He was enshrined into the Michigan Aviation Hall of Fame in 1995 and is a member of the Tuskegee Airmen, Inc. He also holds several awards, including an Air Medal, Air Force Achievement Medal, Air Force Presidential Unit Citation, American Defense Medal, European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal, and a National Defense Service Medal.
Mary Blakemore Johnston attended Agnes Scott College in Decatur, Georgia, and then transferred to Emory and Henry College in Emory, Virginia. Before graduating, she enlisted in the Women's Army Auxiliary Corps (WAAC), serving three years as a German translator in registering General Rommel's POW troops, Special Services, Chaplain's Assistant, and, finally, Cryptoanalyst in New Guinea and the Philippines. After the war ended, she returned to Emory and Henry to complete her BA degree in 1946. Johnston went on to Presbyterian School of Christian Education, where she graduated with an Associate Degree in 1947. That year, she married William Cargill Johnston, PhD. The couple lived in Pittsburgh, PA, for twenty-five years, raising three sons and a daughter. In 1968, Ms. Johnston moved to Farifax County, Virginia, where her husband became the Chairman of the Physics Department and later Dean of George Mason University. She earned a Masters degree in Education in 1975. She worked as a Licensed Professional Counselor with clients in her office and in the District of Columbia prison complexes for fifteen years, retiring in 1992.
Reverend Donald G. Jones, currently Professor of Social Ethics at Drew University and the Chair of the Department of Religion, he is an ordained Methodist Minister. Professor Jones is currently serving on the Attorney Ethics Committee of the New Jersey Supreme Court, District X, Morristown, NJ. He has been awarded the Jesse Lee Prize for the Best Manuscript on Methodist Church History in America by the Commission on Archives and History of the United Methodist Church, 1979, and also the Scholar/Teacher of the Year Award, The Drew University Presidential Citation, 1995.
Thomas A. Kindre, a retired editor, writer, and public relations executive, is the founder and first Chairman of the Rutgers Oral History Archives of World War II, a scholarly resource with more than 100 in-depth interviews on the Internet. Mr. Kindre earned five battle stars during World War II as an infantry officer and an ordnance officer with the US 34th Infantry Division in Africa and Italy. He retired from the Army Reserve with a Captain's rank. After the war, he became an advertising copywriter, editor of such magazines as Steelways and Ford Times and a Senior Vice President and Creative Director of Hill and Knowlton, the international public relations consulting firm. As a communications consultant, he lectured on corporate communications and conducted management studies, and his articles were published in professional and industry publications. Mr. Kindre is a 1942 graduate of Rutgers University, where he earned a Litt. B in Journalism degree.
General Frederick Kroesen joined the Army's Enlisted Reserve Corps in August 1942 in order to join the Advanced ROTC program at Rutgers University. In 1943, he was ordered into active service. After two years of enlisted service, he received his Lieutenant's commission and subsequently attended all of the Army's schools, including the War College. During World War II, Kroesen attained the rank of Captain and was awarded two Presidential Distinguished Unit Citations and the Arms of the City of Colmar, France. He returned to the US in 1947 and was in school at Fort Knox when the Korean War commenced. At the end of his service as an Infantry Battalion Commander in July 1955, Kroesen entered the Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth. Kroesen left for Vietnam in 1968 where he commanded the 196th Light Infantry Brigade of the Americal (23rd) Infantry Division, earned his third Combat Infantry's Badge and his third Purple Heart. In July 1978, Kroesen was named Vice Chief of Staff of the Army, and in May 1979, was assigned to be Commander-in-Chief, US Army Europe and Commander of NATO's Central Army group. Kroesen retired as a four-star general in 1983 after more than forty years in the Army.
Paul H. Lankford joined the US Army Air Corps in 1939. He graduated from Dallas Aviation School and later departed with the 27th Bomb Group to the Philippine Islands. He arrived in Manila, Philippines, on November 20, 1941. ON December 8th, his group was attacked by the Japanese and then ordered to move to Bataan Peninsula on Christmas Day. They were overcome by overwhelming Japanese forces on April 19, 1942. Lankford was on the infamous Death March of Bataan. He was at the Camp O'Donnell and then Cabanutauan before boarding the Japanese ship "Totou Maru," which narrowly missed being sunk by American submarines. He arrived in Pusan, Korea, and was later sent by train to Mukden, Manchuria. There he worked as slave labor in a sawmill farm detail and tool manufacturing plant. Finally, in August 1945, he was liberated by the Russian Red Army. Lankford returned to the United States, married, and decided to make the military his career. He graduated from San Francisco University and taught high school and adult education in San Raphael, California. The last ten years of his career with the Air Force was teaching and managing Professional Military Education courses for non-commissioned officers. He often speaks to colleges, civic clubs, and schools about his POW experiences.
Judy Barrett Litoff received her BA and MA from Emory University in 1967 and 1968. She then received her Ph.D. from the University of Maine. Her publications include eleven books, such as American Women in a World at War: Contemporary Accounts from World War II and We're in This War Too: World War II Letters from American Women in Uniform. Her book, What Kind Of World Do We Want?: American Women Planning for Peace will be out this summer. She has also published more than 100 articles, book chapters, and reviews. Dr. Litoff has lectured in universities throughout Europe and has won numerous awards. In 1994, the Society for History in the Federal Government awarded her the James Madison Prize for her article, "'To the Rescue of the Crops': The Women's Land Army during World War II." Currently, Dr. Litoff is a professor of history at Bryant College in Smithfield, Rhode Island.
Rosemary Bryant Mariner joined the Naval service after being selected as one of the first eight women to enter military pilot training. Designated a naval Aviator in June 1974, she became the first female military aviator to fly tactical jet aircraft, the A-4E/L Skyhawk, in 1975. The following year Mariner converted to the A-7E Corsair II, again becoming the first woman to fly a front-line light attack aircraft. She was the first military woman to command an operational aviation squadron and was selected for major aviation shore command. During DESERT STORM, she commanded Tactical Electronic Warfare Squadron Thirty Four. During her twenty-four years of military service, CAPT Mariner logged over 3500 military flight hours in fifteen different naval aircraft and made seventeen carrier landings. In 1997, Mariner retired as the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (CJCS) Professor of Military Studies for the National War College. Several books and publications have profiled her life, including Crossed Currents: Navy Women from WWI to Tailhook, Women in the Military: An Unfinished Revolution, Tailspin, Ground Zero: The Gender Wars in the Military, The Los Angeles Times, and The Wall Street Journal.
Frank Furlong Mathias was born in Maysville, Kentucky in 1925. He was drafted into the army in 1943 and served in the South Pacific with the 37th "Buckeye" Infantry Division and attained the final rank of sergeant. He attended the University of Kentucky under the GI Bill and earned a BA in English in 1950. He returned to UK later, winning his doctorate in history in 1966. Following his first year of college teaching at West Virginia Tech, he accepted a position at the University of Dayton, where he spent the next twenty-five years, retiring in 1987 as professor emeritus of history. He was twice named scholar of the year at Dayton and in 1979 won a fellowship at Chicago's Newberry Library to design a college-level course in Appalachian Life and Culture. He was married to Florence Duffy of Midway, Kentucky in 1958; they have three children. He is the author of several books, the latest, The GI Generation: A Memoir was published this year. A preceding volume, GI Jive, still appears--somewhat remarkably--to be the only commercially published memoir by an enlisted man in World War II's vast South Pacific Theater.
Charles E. McGee was attending the University of Illinois when World War II interrupted his education. He was sworn into the enlisted reserve in October 1942 and entered Army Air Corps Aviation Cadet Training in November. He received his silver wings as a single engine pilot and a commission as a second lieutenant in 1943 as a graduating member of Class 43-F, Tuskegee Army Air Field, SE Flying Training Command. McGee remained on active duty for thirty years, winning several awards during his service: the Legion of Merit with oak leaf cluster, Distinguished Flying Cross with two clusters, Bronze Star, Air Medal with twenty-five clusters, Army Commendation Medal, Air Force Commendation Medal with cluster, Presidential Unit Citation, Korean Presidential Unit Citation, the Hellenic Republic WWII Commemorative Medal and several campaign and service ribbons. He retired from the service in 1973. Col. McGee also holds a BA in business administration and became Director of Real Estate and Purchasing for ISC Financial Corp., Vice President of Real Estate for its subsidiary, Interstate Securities Co., and later Assistant Director of Administration for the City of Prairie Village, Kansas and then manager of Kansas City, Missouri Downtown Airport. Col. McGee retired in 1982 and currently resides in Bethesda, Maryland.
Richard J. Mercer served as a Combat Aircrewman in the US Navy Air Corps in WWII. He was a top turret gunner and radio and radar operator in Navy PB4Ys (B-24 Liberators). His squadron was based in southwest England where they flew anti-submarine patrols over the North Atlantic, North Sea, Irish Sea, Bristol Channel, English Channel, and Bay of Biscay. He holds the Air Medal. After the war, Mercer earned an LB in Journalism at Rutgers University. He began his advertising career while still in college, working for three years as announcer and writer at WCTC, New Brunswick, New Jersey. Mercer then went to BBDO Advertising, INC, in New York City. He worked there for twenty-seven years, rising to Vice President Associate Creative Director and member of the Board of Directors. He then spent ten years with the Interpublic Group of Companies, where he was senior Vice President and Associate Creative Director at McCann-Erickson and Executive Vice President-Creative at SSC&B. Today, Mercer lives in Nantucket.
Grace Porter Miller, born and raised on a ranch west of Roundup, Montana, was teaching grade school in Manly, Iowa when WWII began. As soon as she was old enough, she enlisted in the newly-formed Women's Army Auxiliary Corps (WAAC). Sent to Fort Des Moines for basic training, she later attended an administration school in Denton, Texas, and then was assigned to the Inspector General's office in San Diego. When the WAAC became the WAC (Women's Army Corps), she volunteered again--and then volunteered a third time, to go overseas. She spent over a year at the 8th Air Force unit in Bushy Herts, England, during the Blitz, and attended the British Codes and Ciphers School in Oxford. During the Battle of the Bulge, she worked as a cryptographic technician in Charlesroi, Belgium, and from there was sent to the 9th Air Force in Nurnburg. After the war, she taught handicapped children on the Navajo Reservation, then worked in community development on the Fort Belknap Reservation in Northern Montana. Later, she worked as an editor for the Daily News in Havre, Montana. She has four children and seven grandchildren, and is listed in various "Who's Who's." Now retired, she lives in Tucson, Arizona. Her book, Call of Duty, published by the LSU Press, was nominated for a PEN award.
Robert K. Morgan was born in 1918 in Asheville, North Carolina. After graduating from the University of Pennsylvania Wharton School of Finance, he joined the Army Air Corps in 1940. His basic flight training took place in Camden, South Carolina, Primary Training at Bush Field in Augusta, Georgia, and at Barksdale Field, Louisiana. He underwent B-17 Training at McDill Field in Tampa, Florida and Advanced B-17 Training in Walla Walla, Washington. On December 12, 1941, he received his Pilot Wings and Second Lieutenant bars. Shortly thereafter, Morgan began flying the B-17 "Memphis Belle" from Bassingbourn, England toward targets in France, the Netherlands, and Germany. Despite grim odds--80 percent of the 91st Bomb Group was shot down during the first three months--on May 17, 1943, the Memphis Belle crew became the first to complete 25 missions. Morgan and the crew returned to the United States for a public relations/warbond tour. In 1944, Morgan led the first B-29 bombing raid on Tokyo in a brand-new B-29 named "Dautless Dotty." After completing another 24 B-29 missions, Morgan was sent home in April 1945. He served in the USAF Reserve until 1965, when he retired as a full Colonel. Currently, Colonel Morgan now works full-time in real estate and resides in Asheville, North Carolina.
Brenda L. Moore is a Vietnam War era veteran, having served in the U.S. Army from 1973 to 1979. She was assigned as a Race Relations/Equal Opportunity Specialist in Schweinfurt, Germany, after graduating from the Defense Race Relations Institute in Florida in 1976. Dr. Moore completed her Ph.D. in Sociology at the University of Chicago in 1987. She is now an associate professor of sociology at the University of New York at Buffalo, where she has been on faculty since 1988. In 1994 she was appointed by President Clinton to serve as a member of the American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC). In 1995 she served as a subject expert in the NGO forum on Women in International Securities held at the World's Women's Conference in Beijing. In the fall of 1999, she completed three years of service as a member of the Defense Advisory Committee on Women in the Services (DACOWITS), advising the Secretary of Defense on military matters concerning women. Dr. Moore is author of the book To Serve My Country, To Serve My Race: The Story of the Only African American WACs Stationed Overseas During World War II, and a number of scholarly articles on the subject of women and minorities in the military.
Father Timothy O'Brien
Linda Grant De Pauw is a pioneer in the field of women's military studies. Dr. De Pauw is Founder and President of the MINERVA Center, Inc. and Professor Emeritus of History at the George Washington University. She is editor of the H-NET discussion list H-MINERVA dealing with women and war, editor and publisher of MINERVA: Quarterly Report on Women and the Military, and author of books and articles including Seafaring Women and Battle Cries and Lullabies: Women in War from Prehistory to the Present.
G. Kurt Piehler is an Assistant Professor of History at the University of Tennessee who focuses on war, peace, and American society. Dr. Piehler is the Director of the Center for the Study of War and Society. He is the author of Remembering War the American Way and co-editor of Major Problems in American Military History. He is also the consulting editor for The Oxford Companion to Military History. Currently, Dr. Piehler is working on a book-length study that will examine the impact of the Second World War and the G.I. Bill on American society.
Martha S. Putney served in the Women's Army Auxiliary Corps/ Women's Army Corps from 1943 to 1946. She was a commissioned officer in a basic training company at Fort Des Moines, Iowa, the first WAAC/WAC Training Center. She attended Adjutant General's School in San Antonio, Texas and later was the commanding officer of a WAC Hospital Company assigned to Gardiner General Hospital in Chicago, Illinois. She spent 31 years teaching and retired as a professor of history from Bowie Sate College in 1974 and from Howard University in 1983. She received a BA and MA in history from Howard University and a PhD in history from the University of Pennsylvania. She is the author of Black Sailor: Afro-American Merchant Seamen and Whalemen Prior to the Civil War and When the Nation Was in Need: Blacks in the women's Army Corps During World War II. She has had some 20 articles published in professional journals.
Mary Sabourin, a high school graduate, enlisted in the Marine Corps Reserve in February 1945. She received initial training and subsequently was stationed at Camp Lejeune as a PX sales clerk until June 1946, when she was discharged. When it was possible to join the regular armed forces in 1949, Mary rejoined the Marine Corps. After Korea, she decided to make a career of serving in the Marine Corps. She retired in 1976 while serving as a SGTMAJ of Base Materiel Bn, Camp Lejeune, NC. She attended the Applied Sciences College, Syracuse University for a year in 1947. She attended courses at the University of Maryland both at Baltimore and in Germany. She also attended several military schools. In 1991 she began to be active in several military schools. In 1991 she became active in several military and civic organizations. For her participation as a volunteer in community programs, she was selected as a Distinguished Woman in Community Services and the Governor's Award for Senior Volunteer. She is serving as the Area 3 Director, Women Marines Association, Chair of the WMA MC JROTC Program, and is a past member of the Secretary of Navy's Retiree Council.
Charles Snelling Robinson, II, joined the Navy just after receiving a BA in English from Harvard University in 1943. From 1943 to 1946, he served as navigator for the USS Cotten, which was attached to the 3rd and 5th Fleets of US Pacific Fleet. He participated in nine major operations and two major fleet actions (Battles of Philippine Sea and Leyte Gulf). After retiring with the rank of Lieutenant Commander, Robinson began his business career with Sudler and Company, a real estate company in Chicago. He served as a partner for the company from 1954 to 1978 and then acted as President and Chief Executive Officer from 1978 until his retirement in 1985. Lt. Robinson is the author of 200,000 Miles Aboard the Destroyer Cotten.
E.B. Sledge was born in Mobile, Alabama in 1923. He dropped out of college in 1942 to join the Marine Corps. He then served as a front line infantryman with the fabled First Marine Division on Pelileu, Okinawa and North China occupation. After the war, Sledge earned a PhD in zoology from the University of Florida. He taught at the University of Montevallo for twenty-eight years, specializing in ornithology. In 1981, Presidio Press published Sledge's war memoir, With the Old Breed at Pelileu and Okinawa. Author Paul Fussel has referred to this book as "one of the finest memoirs to emerge from any war," and John Keegan called it "one of the most important personal accounts of the war that I have read." The book is currently in print as an Oxford trade paperback and is also in the Naval Institute Press' Library of Naval Classics.
Dr. George White, Jr. is a recent graduate of Temple University with a PhD in American History. His areas of concentration include American Diplomatic History and African American History. White, a native Knoxvillian, also has a degree from Harvard Law School. His dissertation focuses on the impact of race on American foreign policy during the Eisenhower administration. His future research interests will continue to examine the interaction between domestic politics and international affairs. He is married to Professor Desiree Kennedy of the UT Law School and is the father of two children, Noelle and Noah.
Elie Wiesel, the Nobel Peace Prize winner and Boston University professor Elie Wiesel has worked on behalf of oppressed people for much of his adult life. His personal experience of the Holocaust has led him to use his talents as an author, teacher, and storyteller to defend human rights and promote peace throughout the world. Wiesel's efforts have earned him the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the United States Congressional Gold Medal and the Medal of Liberty Award, the rank of Grand Officer in the French Legion of Honor, and in 1986, the Nobel Peace Prize. He has received more than ninety honorary degrees from institutions of higher learning. In 1978, President Jimmy Carter appointed him Chairman of the Presidents Commission on the Holocaust. In 1980 he became Founding Chairman of the United States Holocaust Memorial Council. Elie Wiesel is also the Founding President of the Paris-based Universal Academy of Cultures.
A native of Sighet, Transylvania (Romania), Wiesel and his family were deported by the Nazis to Auschwitz when he was fifteen years old. His mother and younger sister perished there; his two older sisters survived. Wiesel and his father were later transported to Buchenwald, where his father died. After the war, Wiesel studied in Paris and later became a journalist in that city, yet he remained silent about what he had endured as an inmate in the death camps. During an interview with the French writer François Mauriac, Wiesel was persuaded to end that silence. He subsequently wrote La Nuit (Night), which has been translated into twenty-five languages and has sold millions of copies. He has since published more than forty books.
Arrangements for Elie Wiesel Made through the B'nai B'rith Lecture Bureau.