AFHF Symposium 2023

(left to right: AFHF 1st Vice Chair, Mag Gen John Barry (USAF, Ret), Maj Daniel Jackson (AFHF Book Prize recipient), Col Phillip Meilinger (USAF, Ret. I.B. Holley Award recipient), Dr. Ted Young (AFHF Best Article Award recipient), former USAF Chief of Staff Gen Ronald Fogleman, and the AFHF President, Jonna Doolittle Hoppes)

From September 15-18, the AFHF held a symposium that focused on the American exit from Vietnam in 1973. Presentations were delivered by museum professionals, Vietnam veterans, expert historians, and Air Force Historical Foundation members. It was, perhaps, the most eclectic gathering of presenters and attendees for such an event. Topics ranged from Vietnam era helicopter history and restoration, to teaching lessons about the War in Southeast Asia to Cadets and college students, to personal storytelling by a panel of combat veterans of the war.

The Kickoff speech was delivered by renowned Vietnam War expert, Larry Berman (PhD, Princeton University), Professor Emeritus at the University of California, Davis. He served on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund Content Advisory Committee for the Education Center at the Wall project. He is a frequent speaker at Vietnam Veterans events and reunions. Berman has been an invited speaker at the Air Force Academy, the Air War College, West Point, The Naval Academy and the National War College. His presentation set the perfect tone for the conference.

To summarize each of the terrific panel and individual presentations would take many pages. Thankfully, we do not have to. The entire conference was recorded by a wonderful videographer, Ramón Purcell (Boneyard Safari), and each session—including a wonderful dinner address by the I.B. Holley Award recipient Col. Phillip Meilinger and the full awards presentation on September18— can be accessed directly on our  YouTube channel:

We have many to thank for their contributions and assistance in the symposium effort. Jelly Belly sponsored our videographer and kickoff speaker. The Super Sabre Society made the symposium possible on many levels. With their generous support, the event was elevated in content and outcome. Wings Over the Rockies Air & Space Museum hosted the awards event. This included an aerial demonstration, a terrific live band, great food, and a spectacular program that included the presentation of AFHF awards, a commemoration of Vietnam Veterans, and the capstone speech by AFHF member and former CSAF, Gen. Ron Fogleman.

If you have the opportunity to review the symposium panel presentations, speeches, or awards presentation, please consider a donation to the Foundation to help with next year’s symposium. Every donation to that end will go directly to the 2024 symposium currently in the planning phase.