Vietnam Expert to Speak at CSU's Freshman Convocation

COLUMBUS, Ga. — Maj. Gen. H.R. McMaster, commander of the Maneuver Center of Excellence at Fort Benning, will be the featured speaker at Columbus State University’s 2012 Freshman Convocation at 4 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 19 in University Hall.

The convocation is a tradition designed to officially welcome the university's freshmen. Faculty will wear full academic regalia for the event, which will also include remarks by CSU President Tim Mescon, Student Government Association President Benjamin Long and chemistry professor Anil Banerjee, CSU's 2012 Educator of the Year.

Sunday's address by McMaster, author of Dereliction of Duty: Lyndon Johnson, Robert McNamara, The Joint Chiefs of Staff, and the Lies that Led to Vietnam, will launch a year-long exploration of and reflection on the Vietnam War by Columbus State.

Throughout the year, the university will host a series of events  lectures, movies, exhibits and a CSU night at the National Infantry Museum  to better understand the era of war and civil unrest. The Things They Carried, a 1990 finalist for the Pulitzer Prize, is a common reading for all CSU freshmen, and students will hear from its author, Tim O’Brien, during a campus lecture in March, when O'Brien will also speak at the 2013 Southern Literary Festival hosted by Columbus State.

H.R. McMasterMcMaster, referred to by the Wall Street Journal in May as "arguably the Pentagon's foremost warrior-scholar," wrote Dereliction of Duty, his analysis of how and why the U.S. became involved in the war in Southeast Asia, as part of his thesis toward a Ph.D. in military history at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. The 1997 book focuses on central figures such as President Lyndon Johnson, Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara, Gen. Maxwell Taylor, National Security Advisor McGeorge Bundy who McMaster says deliberately deceived the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Congress and the American public.

McMaster assumed command at Fort Benning June 13. Immediately before that, he served as commander of the Kabul-based Combined Joint Inter-Agency Task Force Shafafiyat (Transparency), one of three military agencies working to root out corruption in Afghanistan. Before that, he served as director of concept development and learning at the U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command in Fort Eustis, Va. He previously served as commanding officer of armored Calvary units in Germany, Colorado, Southwest Asia and Iraq. He also served as an assistant professor of history at West Point from 1994-1996.

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Photo: Maj. Gen. H.R. McMaster (full-resolution original)