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July 1, 2013 — Dr. Reardon is the George Winfree Professor of American History at Penn State University. She specializes in the Civil War and the Vietnam War eras and focuses on the evolution of professional military education, the development of military doctrine, and military theory. Professor Reardon is actively involved in professional military education and conducts staff rides to Civil War battlefields and open-air classrooms to discuss the art of war in historical context. She has also taught at the U.S. Army War College, the Marine Corps Command and Staff College, and the U.S. Military Academy.
Dr. Reardon is the author of Solders and Scholars (1990), Pickett's Charge in History and Memory (1997), and Launch the Intruders: A Naval Squadron in the Vietnam War, 1972 (2009). Her current project is an analysis of the military history of the Civil War's Eastern theater.
June 17, 2013 — Paul A. Gilje is a George Lynn Cross Research Professor in the Department of History at the University of Oklahoma. Dr. Gilje earned his M.A. and Ph.D. from Brown University and is a specialist in American History with a focus on the early republic. He is the author of The Road to Mobocracy: Popular Disorder in New York City, 1763-1834; Riots in America; Liberty on the Waterfront and The Making of the American Republic, 1763-1815. Liberty on the Waterfront received the 2004 Society for Historians of the Early American Republic Best Book Prize and the 2004 North American Society for Oceanic History John Lyman Book Award in the category of United States Maritime History.
May 21, 2013 — Dr. David Crist is a senior historian for the Defense Department and a special advisor to senior officials in the U.S. government on the Middle East. Crist is an officer in the Marine Corps Reserve and served two tours with special operations forces in Afghanistan and Iraq. His previous publications include Gulf of Conflict: A History of U.S.-Iranian Confrontation at Sea (2009). He holds a B.A. from the University of Virginia and a master's and doctorate in Middle Eastern history from Florida State University.
April 23, 2013 — Max Boot is currently the Jeane J. Kirkpatrick senior fellow in National Security Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) and a contributing editor to the Weekly Standard and the Los Angeles Times. Before joining the CFR, Boot worked eight years as a writer and editor at the Wall Street Journal, and from 1992–1994 he was an editor and writer for the Christian Science Monitor. He has also served as an advisor to U.S. commanders in Iraq and Afghanistan and as a senior foreign policy advisor to the John McCain and Mitt Romney's presidential campaigns. Mr. Boot is the author of three books including The Savage Wars of Peace: Small Wars and the Rise of American Power (2003); War Made New: Technology, Warfare, and the Course of History 1500 to Today (2006); and Invisible Armies: An Epic History of Guerrilla Warfare from Ancient Times to the Present (2013).
February 4, 2013 — Dr. Edward L. Ayers is currently the President of the University of Richmond and a historian specializing in the Antebellum South. Prior to his appointment at the University of Richmond, Dr. Ayers was a professor at the University of Virginia from 1980–2007 and served as the Buckner W. Clay Dean of the College and Graduate School of Arts and Sciences from 2001–2007. He is the author and editor of 12 books, including "In the Presence of Mine Enemies: War in the Heart of America, 1859–1863," winner of the Bancroft Prize and The Promise of the New South finalist for the Pulitzer Prize, and National Book Award. Dr. Ayers is also an editor for the Papers of Abraham Lincoln and is the co-host of "BackStory with the American History Guys," a weekly radio show that examines the historical roots of contemporary issues.
January 9, 2013 — National Park Service Historian Frank O'Reilly will discuss the Battle of Fredericksburg at the next Department of Defense History Speaker Series event on Wednesday January 9, 2013. Mr. O'Reilly has for many years been an interpreter and historian at Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park, and his familiarity with the grounds, tactics, and order of battle provides him with considerable knowledge of the events that occurred in December 1862. Although the Battle of Fredericksburg is remembered for the massacre of Union soldiers at Marye's Heights, Mr. O'Reilly suggests that the fighting between General Stonewall Jackson and Union Generals George G. Meade and John Gibbon was the battle's most decisive, as the Union broke the Confederate lines. Mr. O'Reilly's publications include Stonewall Jackson at Fredericksburg and The Fredericksburg Campaign: Winter War on the Rappahannock, which won the 2002 Capital District Book Award, the James I. Robinson, Jr., Book Award, the Daniel Laney Book Award, and the Richard Barksdale Harwell Book Award. Currently, Mr. O'Reilly is researching the Seven Days Campaign and the Battle of Malvern Hill.
September 27, 2012 — Dr. Ed Marolda is a faculty member at Georgetown University and the former Senior Historian of the U.S. Navy. He holds a Ph.D. in history from The George Washington University and served as a U.S. Army officer during the Vietnam War. He has authored, coauthored, or edited twelve books on U.S. naval history. Dr. Marolda will discuss the impact of U.S. maritime power on the modern history of Asia based on his Ready Seapower: a History of the U.S. Seventh Fleet, recently published by the Naval History and Heritage Command. Since its birth in World War II, the Seventh Fleet has served as one of the primary instruments of U.S. foreign policy in the vital but volatile region, buttressed America's Far Eastern alliances, protected oceangoing commerce, and battled America's foes in World War II, Korea, Vietnam, and the Arabian Gulf. Today, and indeed throughout the late 20th and early 21st centuries, the fleet has also worked to deter armed aggression and to defeat piracy, terrorism, and weapons' proliferation. Fleet units have often acted quickly to help Asian peoples recover from typhoons, volcanoes, tsunamis, and other natural disasters. There will be time for questions and audience participation.
August 28, 2012 — Dr. Andy Birtle is chief of the Military Operations Branch at the Army Center of Military History. He is the author of U.S. Army Counterinsurgency and Contingency Operations Doctrine, 1860-1941 and a companion volume covering the period 1942-1976, and is currently writing the Army’s official history of its advisory program in Vietnam covering 1961-1965. General Anthony Zinni’s 35 years of service in the Marine Corps included two tours in Vietnam, as a company commander and as an advisor to a Vietnamese Marine Corps battalion. His last active duty billet was Commander in Chief of U.S. Central Command from 1997 to 2000. Dr. James Willbanks retired from the Army as a Lieutenant Colonel with twenty-three years service as an Infantry officer in various assignments, to include a tour as an advisor with a South Vietnamese infantry regiment during the 1972 North Vietnamese Easter Offensive. He has been on the faculty at the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College since 1992. His published books include Abandoning Vietnam; The Battle of An Loc and The Tet Offensive: A Concise History. Dr. Birtle will open the program with a brief overview of the U.S. advisory effort in Vietnam. General Zinni and Dr. Willbanks will then talk about their experiences as advisors in Vietnam, any conclusions they drew from that experience about the overall advisory effort, and their observations that might be relevant to the recent effort in Iraq and the current effort in Afghanistan.
June 15, 2012 — Robert Krick, retired Chief Historian for the Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park, will give a presentation which will focus on "Stonewall" Jackson's initial operations in Virginia's Shenandoah Valley in 1862, and which explain how his success there catapulted him to national and international prominence. Jackson's highly drilled infantrymen covered ground so fast in moving from one battle to the next that they soon were dubbed "foot cavalry." Despite being outnumbered 3 to 1, the Confederate general maneuvered his forces skillfully and made them appear to be numerically much stronger. As Krick will discuss, Jackson would prove to be one of the most effective commanders for the South until he died in action at the Battle of Chancellorsville in May 1863.
April 11, 2012 — Dr. Ethan Rafuse, a widely published author on the Civil War, will give the inaugural presentation of the DoD Historical Speaker Series at 1130 on 11 April in the Pentagon Auditorium. His talk will assess the opening months of the conflict President Lincoln called "A People's Contest." The ongoing program is planned and coordinated by the historical offices of OSD, the Joint Staff, and the four military services. A primary theme will be the commemoration of our nation’s past conflicts, to include the 200th anniversary of the War of 1812 (1812–1815), the 150th anniversary of the Civil War (1861–1865), the 100th anniversary of World War I (1914–1918), and the 50th anniversary of the Vietnam War (1956–1975).