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Posted on Feb 25, 2010 in Carlo D'Este, War College

Armchair General and the Colby Symposium in 2010

By Carlo D'Este

Capt. Brian Roeder (center) leads his troops on a joint patrol with Iraqi army soldiers in Samarra, Iraq, on Oct. 21, 2006. (DoD photo by Spc. Joshua R. Ford)


AMERICA AT THE CROSSROADS: The Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan

As the Executive Director I’m very pleased to announce that Armchair General will be actively participating in the 15th annual William E. Colby Military Writers’ Symposium. Editor-in-Chief, Jerry Morelock will attend the Symposium as a panelist and will present the Armchair General Award at a dinner at Norwich the evening of March 4, 2010.


Since 2007 Armchair General has been a dedicated supporter of only program of its kind held at an American university. A more complete description of the Colby Symposium is on the full program, a copy of which is attached.

Col. (Ret) Jerry MorelockCOL. (RET) JERRY MORELOCK, USA
Jerry Morelock graduated from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point in 1969, spending a total of 36 years in uniform. A decorated combat veteran of the Vietnam War, COL (RET) Morelock U.S. Army assignments included numerous command and staff positions in field artillery units in the U.S., Germany and Korea, and two tours in the Pentagon. Colonel Morelock’s final active duty tour was as the Director of the Combat Studies Institute–the history department of the Army’s Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth. Dr. Morelock received his PhD from the University of Kansas and is a prize-winning military historian whose numerous publications include the books, Generals of the Ardennes: American Leadership in the Battle of the Bulge and Great Land Battles From the Civil War to the Gulf War. He is presently the editor-in-chief of Armchair General magazine.

Richard Iron is an active service Colonel in the British Army, currently Defence Fellow at Oxford University. He has served in, studied and written on counterinsurgency operations including Oman, Northern Ireland and Sierra Leone. He contributed the chapter on Northern Ireland in Counterinsurgency in Modern Warfare. His most recent operational experience was as senior mentor to the Iraqi Commander in Basra during 2008, including planning and executing Operation Charge of the Knights.

Col. (Ret) Peter MansoorCOL. (RET) PETER MANSOOR, USA
Peter Mansoor, US Army Colonel (Retired), is the General Raymond E. Mason, Jr. Chair of Military History at the Ohio State University. After graduation from West Point in 1982, he completed a 26-year career in the U.S. Army that included two combat tours in Iraq and which culminated in his service as the executive officer to General David Petraeus in Iraq. Col. Mansoor was also the founding director of the U.S. Army/Marine Corps Counterinsurgency Center. He is the author of Baghdad at Sunrise: A Brigade Commander’s War in Iraq (Yale University Press, 2008).

James Hornfischer is the author of two works of naval history. The Last Stand of the Tin Can Sailors (2004) won the Samuel Eliot Morison Award for Naval Literature and was recently named by Naval History magazine as one of a dozen all-time naval classics. His second book, Ship of Ghosts, about the cruiser USS Houston, was a Main Selection of the History Book Club and the Military Book Club and was chosen by Proceedings magazine as a Notable Book of 2006. Hornfischer’s third book, Neptune’s Inferno, a major new account of the Guadalcanal naval campaign, will be published by Bantam in early 2011. A former editor at HarperCollins, and now president of the literary agency, Hornfischer Literary Management, he has handled a number of nonfiction bestsellers, including the #1 New York Times bestseller and Colby Award winner Flags of Our Fathers.

Lt. Col. (Ret) Conrad CraneLT. COL. (RET) CONRAD CRANE, USA
Conrad C. Crane is the Director of the U.S. Army Military History Institute at Carlisle Barracks. Conrad Crane is a U.S. Army Lieutenant Colonel (Retired) and has a Ph.D. from Stanford. He has authored or edited books and monographs on the Civil War, World War I, World War II, Korea and Vietnam, and has written and lectured widely on airpower and landpower issues. In early 2003 he coauthored a prewar study on Reconstructing Iraq that influenced Army planners and has attracted much attention from the media. He was the lead author for the new U.S. Army-Marine Corps Counterinsurgency Field Manual, which was released in December 2006. For that effort he was named one of Newsweek’s people to watch in 2007. He visited Iraq in November 2007, at General Petraeus’ request to evaluate the new doctrine in action. In November 2008, he was named the international Archivist of the Year by the Scone Foundation.

Staff Sgt. David BellaviaSTAFF SGT. DAVID BELLAVIA
David Bellavia is the author of House to House, an Epic Memoir of War. Bellavia is a former Army Staff Sergeant who served in the First Infantry Division for six years. He has been recommended for the Medal of Honor by his leadership, and has been nominated for the Distinguished Service Cross. He holds the Silver and Bronze Stars for actions during Operation Iraqi Freedom II. His Task Force 2-2 Infantry has fought on such battlefields as Al Muqdadiyah, An Najaf, Al Fallujah, Mosul, and Baqubah. Bellavia has returned to the Iraqi battlefield four times as an embedded reporter. His reports and op-eds have appeared in The Weekly Standard, National Review, Washington Post, Miami Herald, The Philadelphia Inquirer and The Wall Street Journal. A frequent military analyst on news networks: Al Jazeera, BBC News, FOX and the CNN networks, Bellavia co founded the non-partisan veteran’s advocacy group, Vets For Freedom in 2005. The group has grown to become the largest organization of Afghanistan and Iraqi combat veterans in America today and numbers over 150,000 combat veterans.

Established in 1999, the Colby Award recognizes a first work of fiction or nonfiction which has made a major contribution to the under-standing of intelligence operations, military history, or international affairs.

2009 Lone Survivor – Marcus Luttrell

2009 The Forever War – Dexter Filkins

2008 Twice Armed: An American Soldier’s Battle for the Hearts and Minds in Iraq – R. Alan King

2007 Six Frigates: The Epic history of the Founding of the American Navy – Ian W. Toll

2007 Conduct Under Fire: Four American Doctors: Their Fight for Life as Prisoners of the Japanese, 1941-1945 – John A. Glusman

2006 One Bullet Away – Nathaniel Fick

2006 Lincoln’s Tragic Admiral – Kevin J. Weddle

2005 Hope and Honor – MG Sid Shachnow USA (Ret.) & Jann Robbins

2005 Franklin and Winston: An Intimate Portrait of an Epic Friendship – Jon Meacham

2004 The March Up: Taking Baghdad with the 1st Marine Division – Bing West & MG Ray L. Smith, USMC (Ret.)

2004 No Gun Ri: A Military History of the Korean War Incident – Robert L. Bateman

2003 Hitler’s Jewish Soldiers – Bryan Mark Rigg

2002 The Last Battle – Ralph Wetterhahn

2002 Beyond Valor – Patrick K. O’Donnell

2001 Flags of our Fathers – James Bradley with Ron Powers

2000 Stolen Valor – B.G. Burkett & Glenna Whitley

1999 A Road We Do Not Know: A Novel of Custer at the Little Big Horn – Fred Chiaventone

1999 Circle William – Bill Harlow

Col. (Ret) Jack JacobsIn his memoir, If Not Now, When? (Berkley, 2008), Jacobs describes his childhood in post-World War II New York City, his experiences at Rutgers University where he joined the ROTC program, and how that decision eventually led him to his service in Vietnam. As an advisor to a Vietnamese infantry battalion, Jacobs was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor for saving the lives of 13 allied soldiers during an intensive firefight despite severe wounds. “I am honored that my book has been chosen for an award associated with William Colby,” said Jacobs. “His legacy stands as a model for all members of our Armed Forces, past and present.” “This is an important piece of history … a story of extraordinary service in combat on the battlefield and in Washington,” said W.E.B. Griffin, on behalf of the Award Selection Committee. “Bill Colby would be very proud of Colonel Jacobs’ fine memoir.” In addition to the Medal of Honor, Jacobs’ distinguished military record includes two Silver Stars and three Bronze Stars. Following two tours in Vietnam, he served on the faculties of the National War College in Washington, DC and the United States Military Academy at West Point. He retired from the Army in 1987 and had a successful career on Wall Street. He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and a military analyst for NBC/MSNBC.

Armchair General Award
In 2007, Armchair General publisher and CEO, Eric Weider and Editor-in-Chief, Jerry D. Morelock, began an association with the Colby and Norwich University. Armchair General is donating $500 annually (a figure matched by Norwich) to an outstanding student in military history who enrolls in the Norwich Master of Arts in Military History online graduate program. Jerry will present the award at the Colby Award dinner at Norwich on March 4, 2010. In addition, Armchair General is also donating free subscriptions to the magazine for interested Norwich military history students. My sincere thanks to both Eric and Jerry for their generous support. It is yet another example of AG’s growing contributions to the field of military history. We are honored to have Jerry Morelock’s participation in the 2010 Colby.

The Colby Symposium is also open to the public and anyone interested in attending is cordially invited to do so. Further information can be found at the Colby website:

Or contact Ellalou Zirblis,
158 Harmon Drive, Northfield VT 05663

Office: (802) 485-2631 or 
Fax: (802) 485-2090

After the event, a limited number of autographed 2009 full color Colby posters will be available for sale, each signed by the authors attending this year’s event. Posters from previous years are also available at a nominal fee. Contact or by phone at Office: (802) 485-2631 or Fax: (802) 485-2090.

Click here to download a pdf copy of the entire 2010 program.