Dr. Rich Kiper, a retired Infantry/Special Forces officer, presented the seventh lecture in the Vietnam War Commemoration Lecture Series on May 4 at 6 p.m. in the Riverfront Community Center in downtown Leavenworth, Kansas.
CGSC Foundation CEO Doug Tystad began the evening with welcome remarks and was followed by CGSC’s General of the Army George C. Marshall Chair of Military History, Dr. Jim Willbanks, who introduced Kiper.
Kiper’s presentation “Army Special Forces in Vietnam,” was a discussion about the role of Special Forces in Vietnam including the Civilian Irregular Defense Group, creation of border camps and the Mike Force, and residual missions following the redeployment of the 5th Special Forces Group to the United States in 1971. He also spoke about the role of Special Forces in Laos and Thailand, along with the missions of the Studies and Observation Group.
Several Vietnam-era Special Forces veterans were in the audience along other Vietnam veterans, friends and others, some new and some regular attendees to this lecture series. Kiper demonstrated an in-depth understanding of the Special Forces presence during Vietnam. He spoke for a full hour on the background history and details of SF units and missions in Vietnam. Of particular note was the reaction that the Vietnam veterans in the audience had when Kiper showed a photo of Martha “Maggie” Raye, an actress and singer, who many of them knew as a champion of Soldiers in Vietnam and as an honorary Green Beret nicknamed “Colonel Maggie.”
Kiper is a West Point graduate and received his doctorate from the University of Kansas. He is a 26-year Army Infantry and Special Forces veteran with service in Special Forces assignments in Vietnam, the Pentagon, and in the Army 1st Special Operations Command. In addition to teaching at West Point and at the Command and General Staff College, Kiper taught American history at Kansas City Kansas Community College, has served as a historian with the Army Special Operations Command in Afghanistan, and as an analyst at the Army Counterinsurgency Center. He is the author of two books on the American Civil War and the co-author of a book on Special Operations in Afghanistan. His most recent book, Spare Not the Brave, is the story of an Army raider company during the Korean War. He has contributed to three other books and has published seventeen articles.
The Vietnam War Commemoration Lecture Series is presented by CGSC’s Department of Military History, U.S. Army Garrison Fort Leavenworth and supported by the CGSC Foundation and the Henry Leavenworth Chapter of AUSA. All lectures in the series are free and open to the public.
The series will begin again in Fall 2017 with specific dates to be determined.