Documentarian Ken Burns, introduced his and, fellow documentarian, Lynn Novick’s upcoming ten part series, The Vietnam War, to the Command and General Staff College on Sept. 8, 2017 at the Lewis and Clark Center, Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. The 18-hour documentary series will premiere on PBS, Sunday Sept. 17, 2017.
During his presentation Burns showed 46 minutes of film clips from his 18-hour long series and sat in a panel discussion that included: Dr. Jim Willbanks, CGSC’s General of the Army George C. Marshall Chair of Military History who served as a consultant and subject matter expert on the project; Ms. Lynn Novick, co-director with Burns; and Dr. Jim Martin, CGSC Dean of Academics, who served as the moderator. The panel was conducted by first viewing a video clip, then discussing its impact with the audience.
Also present in the audience were a number of local Vietnam veterans invited by CGSC Chief of Staff Jeff LaMoe and Foundation CEO Doug Tystad, including Foundation Chairman Emeritus Lt. Gen. (Ret.) Robert Arter, who commanded a brigade of the 101st Airborne Division in Vietnam, and Lt. Col. (Ret.) Chuck Hagemeister, a recipient of the Medal of Honor for his actions in Vietnam. In addition to Lt. Gen. Arter, the Foundation had a number of trustees with Vietnam experience in attendance including Brig. Gen. (Ret.) Bill West, Brig. Gen. (Ret.) Stan Cherrie, and Col. (Ret) Bill Eckhardt. Foundation Chairman Mike Hockley also attended.
Also in attendance at the presentation were 22 University of Saint Mary students and their instructor from USM’s Vietnam History elective class. As part of the Foundation’s continuing outreach and coordination with USM (and other universities) on complimentary programs, Tystad coordinated with the College to get dedicated seating for them.
After the event, Tystad introduced Foundation Trustee Wes Westmoreland to Burns. Westmoreland’s great uncle was the commander in Vietnam, General William C. Westmoreland.
As part of the publicity leading up to the release of the documentary, Dr. Willbanks was interviewed by the local PBS station since he had served as a consultant to Burns. – See the complete interview with Willbanks along with other interviews on the KCPT website or on Youtube.