Texas A&M University-Kingsville

Panels, speakers, dinner set for first ever Vietnam Experience Symposium April 18

KINGSVILLE - April 04, 2006

Contact: Jason Marton
jason.marton@tamuk.edu or 361-593-4143

The schedule has been finalized for the first-ever Vietnam Experience Symposium at Texas A&M University-Kingsville Tuesday, April 18, at the Caesar Kleberg Wildlife Center, in the Tio and Janell Kleberg Wildlife Research Park, located adjacent to the campus at 1730 Corral Street.

“The Vietnam Experience: A symposium on the U.S. involvement in Vietnam as seen through the eyes of historians, veterans and the family members and the survivors of those who served” seeks to provide resources and opportunities so that past, current and future generations may have fact-based and unbiased information upon which to base their understanding of the Vietnam conflict.

A trio of successful, published authors of Vietnam-themed books will be taking part in the events. They are Joe Galloway, co-author the best-selling book We Were Soldiers Once…And Young and senior military correspondent for Knight-Ridder News Syndicate; B.G. Burkett, author of Stolen Valor: How the Vietnam Generation was Robbed of its Heroes and its History; and Gil Dominguez, author of They Answered the Call: Latinos in the Vietnam War.

Admission is free to panel discussions and presentations happening from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.

The day begins with registration and a continental breakfast from 7-8:30 a.m. The opening ceremonies begin at 8:30 a.m., featuring the posting of the colors, singing of the National Anthem, the invocation and introduction of key speakers and guests.

The first panel discussion, “Hispanic Veterans: A Legacy of Service,” takes place from

9 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. Panel participants include Luis Perez, who served in the Marine Corps from 1966-1971; Fabricio Barrera, who served with the U.S. Army and the U.S. Army Reserve from 1962-1992; Art Barrera, a 20-year Air Force veteran; Al Garcia, who served for 8 years in the U.S. Navy and Navy Reserve; and Gil Dominguez, an Army veteran. Dr. Michael Houf, associate professor of history at Texas A&M-Kingsville, serves as moderator of the panel.

Following a 15-minute break, author B.G. Burkett will give a presentation from 10:45 a.m. to noon.

The next hour, noon to 1 p.m., will be dedicated to lunch and viewing special displays.

From 1 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. will be the panel discussion “Those Left Behind: Spouses, Survivors and Siblings of Those Who Served.” Panel participants include Rito Silva Jr., son of fallen Marine Lance Corporal Rito Silva Sr.; Alice Karr, widow of career Army officer Donald Karr; Betsy Florence, born into a military family and married to Army vet Ronald Florence; Patti Wolfe, married to Navy vet Bill Wolfe; and Capt. (Ret.) Thomas Clarke of the Merchant Marine and brother of fallen Marine PFC James Clarke. Ronald Florence serves as moderator.

Following another 15-minute break comes the panel discussion “Historical Perspectives,” featuring participants Lt. Gen. (Ret.) Marc Cisneros, a 35-year Army veteran, former A&M-Kingsville president and current CEO of the John G. and Stella Marie Kenedy Memorial Foundation; and Steve Maxner, Army veteran and deputy director of the Vietnam Center at Texas Tech University. A&M-Kingsville associate professor of history Dr. Roger Tuller serves as moderator.

A “Wrap-up” panel discussion follows from 4-5 p.m., featuring authors Galloway, Burkett and Dominguez, along with Cisneros and Maxner. Dr. Dean Ferguson, associate professor of history, moderates the panel.

The retiring of the colors will follow, along with a one hour break from 5-6 p.m.

The event moves to the Memorial Student Union Building ballrooms at 6 p.m. Following the posting of the colors, an offer of thanks and introductions, dinner will be served, with a presentation by Galloway.

Closing ceremonies will take place at 7:30 p.m. with words from Dr. Rumaldo Juárez, president of Texas A&M-Kingsville.

To attend the dinner presentation, there is a $10 general admission or $5 student admission. Those planning to attend must RSVP by 5 p.m. Tuesday, April 11, by calling 361-593-3918 or 361-593-3207.

Community leaders and businesses whose support made the Vietnam Experience Symposium possible include Kleberg Bank, True Value Hardware, First Community Bank, Wells Fargo Bank, Coldwell Bankers, Texas A&M University-Kingsville Foundation, Sam Fugate, Neesen Chevrolet, Buick, Pontiac and GMC, Garco, Gonzolito Grocers the John E. Conner Museum and the 100 Club.

Special assistance comes from the John G. and Stella Marie Kenedy Memorial Foundation.

For more information on the Vietnam Experience Symposium, call 361-593-3918.

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