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Posted on Mar 22, 2011 in Stuff We Like

William E. Colby Military Writers’ Symposium 2011

By Carlo D'Este

The 16th annual William E. Colby Miltiary Writers' Symposium will be held at Norwich University, March 31, 2011.

As the Executive Director, I’m very pleased to announce that Armchair General will be actively participating in the 16th annual William E. Colby Military Writers’ Symposium, to be held at Norwich University, Northfield, Vermont. 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 31, 2011.

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. Click here to download an updated Colby Symposium program.


Col. (Ret) Jerry Morelock, USA
Jerry Morelock graduated from the US 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’s US Army assignments included numerous command and staff positions in field artillery units in the US, 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.

Donna McAleer
Donna McAleer is the award-winning author of the groundbreaking book Porcelain on Steel: Women of West Point’s Long Gray Line. She is also an inspirational speaker, addressing the topics of leadership, strong role models, team building and breaking boundaries. McAleer graduated from West Point in 1987 and served in Germany as an Army officer. She left the service in 1991 to pursue an MBA at the University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business. From there she moved to her successful professional career in corporate consulting and global logistics with roles in public, private and non-profit corporations. In February 2000, she left the corporate world and moved to Park City, Utah, in pursuit of a lifelong dream. She committed herself to the pursuit of a unique opportunity — representing the United States in the 2002 Winter Olympic Games in the medal debut of women’s bobsled. As a bobsled driver, she finished fourth in Olympic trials.

Doug Stanton
Doug Stanton is the author of the New York Times bestsellers In Harm’s Way: The Sinking of the U.S.S. Indianapolis and the Extraordinary Story of Its Survivors; and Horse Soldiers: The Extraordinary Story Of A Band Of U.S. Soldiers Who Rode To Victory In Afghanistan. His writing has appeared in Esquire, The New York Times, TIME, the Washington Post, and other national publications. He is also a founder of the National Writers Series, a book festival bringing great conversations to life with America’s greatest writers. NWS is considered by writers, editors and readers to be one of the United States’ top-tier book events. Stanton’s recent book, Horse Soldiers, spent more than three months on the New York Times bestseller list, reaching #2. Horse Soldiers was also named a 2009 “Notable Book” by The New York Times, and it was chosen as a “Best Book Of 2009” by Publishers Weekly, Christian Science Monitor, Barnes & Noble and Amazon. Stanton lives and writes in Michigan.

James Hornfischer
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. His latest book is Neptune’s Inferno: The U.S. Navy at Guadalcanal (Bantam, 2011) is an acclaimed new account of the Guadalcanal naval campaign. 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.

Jack Segal
Jack Segal is a US Army Vietnam veteran awarded the Bronze Star and two Meritorious Service Medals. Segal served for 22 years as a senior US diplomat at the State Department, including service as National Security Council director for Russia and Eurasia. He also served 10 years with NATO, including working as foreign policy advisor to NATO’s Afghanistan commander. He is a Visiting Distinguished Fellow at National Defense University, and a lecturer at Northwestern Michigan College.

Dr. Christopher Coppola
Christopher Coppola, MD, received his commission as a reserve officer in the United States Air Force in 1990. He served through the two Gulf Wars and deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2005 and 2007. In Iraq, he worked as a trauma surgeon at a combat support hospital in Balad, 40 miles north of Baghdad, where he treated seriously injured US troops, Iraqi soldiers, civilians and enemy detainees alike. He has completed humanitarian missions to Brazil and Haiti and now resides with his family in Pennsylvania where he is a civilian pediatric surgeon. He recently published his memoir of his time in Iraq, Coppola: A Pediatric Surgeon in Iraq. He is also a 2008 graduate of Norwich University’s Master of Business Administration (MBA) program.

The Colby Award

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.

19 Distinguished Works in 12 Seasons

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

2011 Colby Award Winner
Karl Marlantes – Matterhorn
Karl Marlantes has written one of the most acclaimed novels of the Vietnam War. 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 10 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. His next book, a non-fiction work entitled What It’s Like to Go to War, will be published by Atlantic Monthly Press in Fall 2011.

Matterhorn draws from Marlantes’ service as an officer in the Marine Corps. The year is 1969, and 2nd Lt. Waino Mellas has been assigned to lead a rifle platoon of 40 Marines as their company builds a fire support base in the mountains near the border with Laos. His platoon is full of young men who’d been at war for months; and some for several years. Mellas, fresh out of college, is overwhelmed by his responsibilities as a leader and the dense jungle landscape that surrounds them. As casualties mount, Mellas and his platoon fight through a series of conflicting missions — they are ordered to abandon their newly-built base, then ordered to take it back from the North Vietnamese Army, and then ordered to abandon it again. While their commanding officers fight the war from a distance, little aware of how their decisions affect men on the ground, Mellas and his platoon endure sweltering heat, monsoon rains, racial tension and a growing sense of futility. They struggle to understand and trust each other, and forge powerful bonds that will overcome fear, doubt, and loss. “Matterhorn is a powerful first work that defines the tragic cost of the Vietnam War in human terms,” said Colby co-founder and New York Times best-selling author W.E.B. Griffin. “Marlantes’ breakneck writing style is both passionate and haunting, thrusting the reader into alternating moments of chaos and courage reflecting the fragility of our Marines on the ground — and their leadership — in combat.”

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 “Meet the Authors” dinner at Norwich on March 31, 2011. 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 ACG’s growing contributions to the field of military history. We are honored to have Jerry Morelock’s participation in the 2011 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 Dr. Stephen Sodergren,
158 Harmon Drive, Northfield VT 05663
 Office – 802.485.2631
Fax – 802.485.2090

After the event, a limited number of autographed 2011 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 Dr. Sodergren.


  1. Please pass this to Jack Segal:

    I just watched a replay on C-Span of your participation in the Military Writer’s confab on 3/31/11 at Norwich University, and hasten to send this brief note to laud your absolutely superb commentary on Afghanistan (where I was the State Dept rep to a UK PRT in Mazar-e-Sharif, 2003-4) and other subjects. On a very personal note, I greatly appreciated your mention of Arnie Raphel (whom I had replaced in Tehran as Staff Aide to Douglas MacArthur II, in 1970) and about whose unexplained death I thought about writing a few years ago.

    While I have read your biography on the internet, and see that we had more than a few opportunities to cross paths, I do not think we have ever met. But, to hear your calm, incisive views on our involvement in Afghanistan (and Libya) reminded me of my reply in early 2004 to visiting journalists at our PRT in Mazar: When one of them asked me and my U.K. commanding officer how long this would take, the Colonel replied, “40 years,” and I said, “Check with my grandsons.”

    So, although Traverse City may be a splendid place to retire, I regret that you are not in the inner circles of policy-making any longer. If you were, there might be a greater likelihood that we could figure out how to get out of this unending — and aimless — undertaking.

    For years, I have been quietly hoping we could figure out how to bring the Northern Alliance back into the fore, before Abdul Rashid Dostum so blotted his copybook with the international community. By the way, I was a great admirer of David Barno, albeit less so of Karl Eikenberry.

    Kind regards, and again, JOB WEL DONE!


    Thomas R. Hutson
    U.S. Consul General (ret.)
    510 East Street, P.O. Box 121
    Thurman, Iowa 51654

    • Actually, I am trying to communicate again with Jack Segal whose personal email I have somehow misplaced. My message to Jack is threefold:

      1.) Clearly, we are finally beginning the long journey out of Afghanistan, something we could have done much more coherently had you [Jack Segal] been in the circle of advisors to this administration. While it would defy all of the counsel the President is being given, I would get us out of there much more rapidly, and focus our national security attention on the drug-monopoly that has reached even into my hometown of Omaha, Nebraska. I have been on the periphery of the efforts of Steven Seagal who believes this is the main threat to our national security, and look for ways to bring his enormous contribution and willingness to be a sure target for that mafia into greater national focus.

      2.) Might I have my publisher (River Junction Press, Kira Gale, Publisher, 3419 North 49th Street, Omaha, Nebraska 68970, tel: 402-451-2878) send you an Advance Review Copy of my new book, “Doug & Wahwee: Ambassador Douglas MacArthur II, the General’s Nephew and his Unconventional Wife: Their Life in the Foreign Service” for any review you might write, especially in this forum where the MacArthur name still rings loud and true.

      3.) Am presently beginning to put together the book about Arnie Raphel whose name you had mentioned in your presentation on 3/11/11, and which caught my attention. The names of others involved include John B. Roberts II (former Reagan speechwriter and friend of many years), Shahid Malik (the late George Crile’s former personal assistant for some 15 years who is working on a sequel to “Charlie Wilson’s War), Asad Karim Qurani (the noted British/Pakistani documentary film-maker), and Aman Ullah Khan, Arnie’s senior FSNE political advisor and very close personal friend who is also finishing a splendid book about his observations from within Embassy Islamabad over his career about the machinations of American policy-makers with the conundrum called “Pakistan”.


      Thomas R. Hutson
      U.S. Consul General (ret.)
      c/o CONSULTIMATE Group of Companies
      401 North Webster Street
      Red Cloud, Nebraska 68970
      (o) 402-746-3613
      (c) 402-206-8783
      (c) 402-206-8727