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Posted on Apr 2, 2013 in Carlo D'Este, War College

Armchair General and the Colby Symposium in 2013

By Carlo D'Este

Armchair General will again support the 18th annual William E. Colby Military Writers’ Symposium, to be held at Norwich University, Northfield, Vermont on 10-11 April 2013. As a part of the symposium the sixth annual Armchair General Award will be presented at a dinner at Norwich the evening of 11 April.

Since 2007 Armchair General has been a dedicated supporter of the only program of its kind held at an American university. A more complete description of the Colby Symposium is in the program’s website

The theme for this year is “Coming Home: The Hopes, Fears, and Challenges of Veterans Returning from War.”


James Wright

The son of a WWII veteran, James Wright joined the Marines at age 17 and served for three years, primarily with the First Marine Brigade in Hawaii and Japan. He earned a PhD at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, became a history professor at Dartmouth College in 1969, and served as president of Dartmouth from 1998 to 2009. Since 2005 he has visited military hospitals over two dozen times and has worked to establish educational and counseling programs for wounded veterans, efforts featured in the New York Times, Boston Globe, Christian Science Monitor, National Public Radio, ABC World News and VFW Magazine, and recognized by educational, veteran, and service organizations. He is the author of Those Who Have Borne the Battle: A History of America’s Wars and Those Who Fought Them. Dr. Wright lives in New Hampshire.


David McIntryre

David McIntyre graduated West Point and spent thirty years in the United States Army, retiring as a colonel. His time was divided between duty with airborne and armored reconnaissance units and writing and teaching strategy at the national level. He also taught English at West Point. He retired as the Dean of Faculty and Academics at the National War College. For two years after 9/11 he was deputy director of a national think tank on homeland security, and for four years the director of a graduate program in homeland security at Texas A&M. He has also taught national and homeland security at George Washington University, the University of Texas, the National Graduate School, and Colorado Technical University.

He is presently a Distinguished Visiting Fellow at the Homeland Security Studies and Analysis Institute, and at the Bipartisan WMD Terrorism Research Center, both in Washington, DC. Dr. McIntyre has: a BS in Engineering from the United States Military Academy; an MA in English and American Literature from Auburn University; a PhD in Political Science from the University of Maryland.

He is the author of Centerline.

Karl Marlantes

A graduate of Yale University and a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford University, Karl Marlantes served as a Marine in Vietnam, where he was awarded the Navy Cross, the Bronze Star, two Navy Commendation Medals for valor, two Purple Hearts, and ten air medals. Matterhorn: A Novel of the Vietnam War, his debut, was a New York Times and USA Today bestseller, a New York Times Book Review Notable Book, and a “Best of 2010” in Time, Entertainment Weekly, Esquire, and the Washington Post.

Matterhorn received the 2011 Colby Award. What It Is Like to Go to War was published in September 2011.

Colonel Jon Coffin, (Ret. VTARNG)

Col. Jon Coffin recently retired after 39 years service with the Vermont National Guard. As one of only six psychologists in the National Guard system, he has played a critical role in assisting veterans returning from war. A graduate of Middlebury College, he served as a Signal Platoon Leader in Southeast Asia from 1968-1970. He joined the Vermont National Guard in 1973, and has served as a Medical Platoon Executive officer and Mountain Infantry Battalion Commander. For nineteen years Coffin has served in the capacity of Staff Psychologist. He and his critical incident team have debriefed nearly every soldier returning from overseas deployment ― 96 platoon-level debriefings at 10 Army debarkation locations around the country. Col. Coffin was the subject of an eloquent recent article in Yankee magazine called “The Man Who Listens to Soldiers.”

Stephen Pomeroy

Stephen Pomeroy is currently serving as the Associate Director and Lecturer, School of Business & Management at Norwich University, where he teaches three undergraduate courses: “Introduction to Business,” “Organizational Behavior,” and “Organizational Leadership.” While on active duty, Pomeroy served as the Dean of the School of National Services and the Professor of Naval Science at Norwich University. As a Marine Corps leader, he served as Commanding Officer of a carrier-based F/A-18 Fighter Squadron from 1997-1999, and Commanding Officer of a Marine Aircraft Group from 2002 to 2004. Pomeroy participated in exercises and combat operations across the globe and has extensive operational and combat experience.

Pomeroy will moderate the 2013 panel discussion.


Established in 1999, the Colby Award recognizes a first work of fiction or nonfiction that has made a major contribution to the under-standing of intelligence operations, military history, or international affairs. Through the generous support of James N. Pritzker (Col. Illinois National Guard, Ret.) and the Tawani Foundation in Chicago, the winner of the Colby Award receives a $5,000 honorarium.

The 2013 Colby Award winner

Thomas P. McKenna

Tom McKenna enlisted in the 82d Airborne Division in 1948 and won an appointment to West Point a year later. He was commissioned in 1953 as a second lieutenant in the infantry. During his 22 years of service, he graduated from the army’s Parachute and Glider School, Basic and Advanced Infantry Officer Courses, Ranger School, Airborne Pathfinder School, the Command and General Staff College, and earned an MA in History from the University of Kansas.

Tom served a total of 12-1/2 years overseas in Germany, Italy, Korea, and Vietnam. Kontum: The Battle to Save South Vietnam is based on his second tour in Vietnam as a participant in the battle.


2012 A Nightmare’s Prayer – Michael Franzak

2011 Matterhorn – Karl Marlantes

2010 If Not Now, When? – Jack Jacobs

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


Michael Franzak’s A Nightmare’s Prayer

Michael Franzak was serving overseas last year and will be presented with the 2012 Colby Award at this year’s symposium.

Armchair General Award

In 2007, Armchair General founder and publisher, Eric Weider, and Editor-in-Chief, Jerry D. Morelock, began an association with the Colby and Norwich University. Armchair General donates $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. The award will be presented at the Colby “Meet the Authors” dinner at Norwich on April 11, 2013. In addition, Armchair General is also donating 100 free copies of the magazine for dinner attendees. 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.


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 Cara Gauthier,
158 Harmon Drive, Northfield VT 05663, Office: 802-485-2811, Fax: 802-485-2802 or e-mail

After the event, a limited number of autographed 2013 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 is Cara Gauthier.



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