JBU Commemorated 50th Anniversary of Tet Offensive

Retired National Guard Col. Anita Deason and Three Vietnam Veterans to Speak

SILOAM SPRINGS, Arkansas (Jan. 23, 2018) – John Brown University will commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Tet Offensive, the military campaign that became a turning point in the Vietnam War, on Feb. 6, 2018 at 7 p.m. in the Simmons Great Hall. Titled “The Vietnam War & the Men Who Fought It,” the event will feature personal stories from three combat Vietnam veterans and a presentation from Col. Anita Deason, retired National Guard Colonel and current military affairs liaison for Arkansas Senator John Boozman.

"For most of us, this commemoration is likely a once-in-a-lifetime chance to hear personally from three combat veterans who were in Vietnam at the peak of the war," Preston Jones, JBU associate professor of history and event facilitator, said. “The event is an opportunity to learn more about our history, while encouraging veterans to continue to tell their stories.”

The Tet Offensive was a series of attacks launched on the Vietnamese New Year in 1968 throughout South Vietnam by the North Vietnamese Army (NVA) and Vietcong (VC) guerilla fighters from South Vietnam. Trying to encourage a rebellion among South Vietnamese civilians, the NVA and VC instead met with military defeat by the U.S. military and South Vietnamese Army but not before both sides suffered heavy casualties. The attacks marked the turning point when public sentiment and U.S. leaders wanted to scale back involvement in the Vietnam War, despite a clear military victory.

The three combat Vietnam veterans who will speak are Jerry Toler, who served as door gunner and crew chief aboard Chinook helicopters from 1967 – 1968; Derl Horn, who served as a Marine at Con Thien in the second half of 1967; and Kenneth Buchanan, who served as a Marine and was wounded and evacuated on the first day of the Battle of Hue City.

Deason, who will also give a presentation at the event, served in the military for 33 years transitioning from a variety of command and staff assignments, including detachment commander, company commander and ultimately Colonel. Throughout her career, Deason has earned numerous decorations and awards such as Legion of Merit, Meritorious Service Medal and the Arkansas Commendation Medal.

The event is free and open to the public.

John Brown University is a leading private Christian university, training students to honor God and serve others since 1919. Arkansas’ top ranked regional university (U.S. News Best Colleges, 2018), JBU enrolls more than 2,500 students from 41 states and 50 countries in its traditional undergraduate, graduate, online and concurrent education programs. JBU offers more than 40 majors, with top programs including business administration, graphic design, engineering, construction management, counseling, teacher education and nursing.

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