Kent Yrchik-Shoemaker, Assistant Dean of the College. Oral history interview for the Dartmouth Vietnam Project. Yrchik-Shoemaker describes his experience growing up in Minnesota, Washington D.C., and London, England. He discusses his experience attending Michigan State University as an undergraduate student and participating in the Air Force Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC). He describes racial tensions on campus and why he chose to participate in the ROTC. Yrchik-Shoemaker describes his internal conflict with not believing in the Vietnam War and his sense of duty to serve his country. He shares why his friends called him the “ROTC Hippie” and his involvement with anti-war protests. Yrchik-Shoemaker discusses race relations in the military, his feelings of paranoia, and decision to leave flight training school through a process called self-initiated elimination. He explains why and how he had a mental health note in his military file. He describes his transfer to Vandenberg Air Force Base in California where he was trained as a satellite operations controller and his job as crew chief. Yrchik-Shoemaker discusses how he stayed an extra two years in the service and attended classes for counseling. He describes how the Vietnam War was coming to a close and how it impacted his time in the Air Force. He shares his growing mistrust of the military the longer he worked for them. Yrchik-Shoemaker discusses his role as an Assistant Dean at Dartmouth and his involvement with the undergraduate veterans and the challenges returning to school presented for them. He shares his feelings on the current challenges veterans face when they were active military.
Susan E. Tavela. Wife of John E. Tavela, Class of 1964. Oral history interview for the Dartmouth Vietnam Project. Tavela explains that she participated in the project because her husband is in a nursing home for dementia and is unable to tell his own story. She describes her childhood growing up across the country and how she met her husband. She describes herself as a civil rights activist and provides a few examples of her and John’s participation in protests, marches, and political campaigns. She describes her marriage to John while he was attending Dartmouth. She explains how John was drafted after he completed his graduate studies at Johns Hopkins University. She describes John’s involvement in the Medical Service Corps. Tavela reads a number of excerpts from letters that John sent to her during his time during the Vietnam War. Tavela describes how she believes John’s dementia is a result of his participation in the war. She explains that John had a difficult time transitioning back from the Vietnam War. She shares how John was depressed after he returned home and the impact it had on him personally and on their family.
Dona Strauss, Associate Professor of Mathematics, 1966-1969. Oral history interview for the Dartmouth Vietnam Project. Strauss discusses growing up in South Africa during apartheid. She describes why her family moved from eastern Europe to South Africa. She describes her educational path and how she arrived at Dartmouth College to teach. Strauss discusses her time at Dartmouth and her participation with antiwar activity. Strauss describes a trip she took to a march in Washington D.C. with the Students for a Democratic Society and the Quakers. Strauss describes the student take-over of Parkhurst Hall, the administration building on May 6, 1969. She discusses her involvement and the college’s response to her participation with the event. She describes the disciplinary process that she and Paul S. Knapp went through by the Committee Advisory to the President. She discusses the outcome of the trial and her subsequent departure from Dartmouth College. Strauss discusses living in England, raising her children, and being a professor of mathematics at the University of Hull. She describes the differences between academia in England and the United States.
Lewis J. Stein oral history interview for the Dartmouth Vietnam Project. Stein describes growing up in New York City and attending Hunter College. He shares why he applied for the Peace Corps to avoid the draft. Stein describes attending Peace Corps training in French language immersion and cultural education at Dartmouth College. He discusses being assigned to a Peace Corps position in Togo. Stein describes what life was like in Togo and the work that he did with the Peace Corps. He explains how his experience in the Peace Corps reinforced his feelings of being in opposition to the Vietnam War. He shares why and how he petitioned to be a conscientious objector and what his two year service assignment was. Stein describes attending graduate school at the University of Connecticut and his career in special education administration.
John G. Spritzler, Class of 1968. Oral history interview documenting the anti-war movement at Dartmouth College, with a focus on the Parkhurst Hall protest of 1969. As a leader of the Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) chapter at Dartmouth at the time, Spritzler provides insight into the campus atmosphere and the deliberations of the anti-war movement from its core. Spritzler details interactions between the anti-war movement and the wider student body, the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC), the authorities, and the faculty of the college.
Spitzer, Leo Interview Abstract:
1. Childhood in La Paz, Bolivia
2. Middle School and Pressure to Assimilate in NYC
3. High School and College Outside NYC
4. Graduate Work and Interest in Africa
5. Coming to Dartmouth
6. Anti-Vietnam Sentiment on Campus
7. Anti-Apartheid Work and Race Relations
8. Developing Specialty Departments
Jeffrey L. Rogers, Dartmouth College Class of 1966. Rogers’ father was friend to Richard M. Nixon and secretary of state under his administration. At Dartmouth he played intramural sports, was the president of his fraternity, majored in History, and was a Senior Fellow. He talks about the spirit of activism surrounding the civil rights movement and the Vietnam war while at Dartmouth. Rogers attended Harvard Medical School but dropped out after the first year. He applied to Officer Candidate School [OCS] in the Navy to avoid being drafted into the Army while still serving. Rogers did well in OCS and trained in navigation. In Vietnam, he served as a navigator, an officer of the deck, and a landing signals officer aboard the USS Repose, a hospital ship. Rogers describes the ship and the operations aboard. For his second year of active duty he was stationed in the Pentagon. Afterwards he attended Yale Law School, a part of the class of 1973, where he befriended the Clintons. He then became a manager of an office in Portland, Oregon and retired as a lawyer in 2004. Rogers obtained a master’s degree in counseling, becoming a mental health counselor. He currently works as a counselor with combat vets, specifically focusing on PTSD [post-traumatic stress disorder]. Rogers discusses Watergate, government, recent wars, and returning to Vietnam in 2004, with his son.
Riggs, William Interview Abstract:
1. Childhood and Memories of the Cold War
2. Time at Dartmouth
3. Getting Drafted into the Training Aids Division
4. Support of the Anti-War Movement
5. Completing Service and Final Thoughts
Richard J. Parker, Class of 1968. Oral history interview documenting his experiences as an activist during the Vietnam War. Parker discusses his early interactions with national politics, his religious background, and his experiences with the civil rights movement. In particular, he describes his firsthand observations of the Watts riots in 1965, his work with the Dartmouth-Talladega Upward Bound program in Alabama in 1966, and his participation in campus protests. Parker discusses his time as a student at Dartmouth, including his involvement in Bones Gate, the crew team, Casque and Gauntlet, and the Dartmouth Christian Union (DCU). He recounts his initial attempts to obtain Conscientious Objector status with the Selective Service and his later decision to submit his draft card. Parker describes his participation in anti-war protests and his experiences campaigning for Eugene J. McCarthy during the 1968 presidential campaign.
V. Bruce Pacht, Class of 1967. Oral history interview documenting Pacht’s time as an anti-war protester, as well as his participation in the take-over of Parkhurst Hall. Pacht details his journey from Dartmouth College to Stanford University, the protest at Parkhurst, and life in the Wooden Shoe commune in Canaan, New Hampshire.
Francis X. Oscadal, Librarian at Dartmouth College Library, 1982-2016. Oral history interview documenting his experience as a conscientious objector (CO) during the Vietnam War. Oscadal describes the process of becoming recognized as a CO, his reasoning for pursuing CO status, and his work as a military draft counselor. He discusses the educational and career paths that led him to his position at Dartmouth.
Denis R. O’Neill, Dartmouth College Class of 1970. He played baseball, soccer, and hockey varsity sports at Dartmouth, until senior year during which he only played varsity Hockey. O’Neill discusses political climate at time in Westport, Connecticut and his father’s political engagement and anti-war activism with friends such as Theodore Geisel [“Dr. Seuss”]. He pledged Chi Phi Heorot [now Chi Heorot], was a member of Casque and Gauntlet senior society. He discusses how being in a fraternity shaped his views of the war, something which Billy Smoyer’s (Class of 1967) death did as well: as a catalyst for more war protests. O’Neill talks about the accuracy of reporting by journalists versus the government and various perceptions on campus. He describes the Parkhurst Protest of the war, led by the SDS [Students for a Democratic Society]. O’Neill discusses the campus climate during the lottery and his exemption. After graduating, he served as a seaman aboard the S.S. Mobil Fuel, then became a folk singer. Then, O’Neill attended Boston University’s School of Journalism and wrote a memoire titled WHIPLASH: When the Vietnam War Rolled a Hand Grenade into the Animal House.
Ray A. Meyer. Class of 1965. Oral history interview with the Dartmouth Vietnam Project. Meyer describes his childhood in Ridgewood, New Jersey as a son of immigrant parents from the Netherlands. Meyer explains how his family was working-class living in a wealthy suburb of New York City. He describes how being a Boy Scout might have contributed to his decision to join the Air Force Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) at Dartmouth. Meyer describes how Dartmouth’s Air Force ROTC experienced a reorganization and all members has to re-enroll at which point Meyer chose to not sign up again. Meyer describes participating in the Glee Club. Upon graduation from Dartmouth Meyer discusses his time in law school at Boston University (BU). Meyer shares his experience working in the Office of Legislative Services in New Hampshire. While working in New Hampshire he learned that he was accepted into the Foreign Service Civilian Operations and Rural Development Support (CORDS) program. Meyer shares his experience in Vietnam with CORDS. He describes his experience as very different than most people involved in the Vietnam War. In between his time spent in Vietnam he was sent to Brussels to the U.S. Mission to the European Union. Meyer shares his experience working in Bonn, Germany with the U.S. Mission to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development in 1989 and his involvement in lawyering the reunification of Germany. After his work in Germany Meyer discusses his involvement with nuclear nonproliferation law and civil liability for nuclear damage.
"Francis C. “Bud” McGrath. Class of 1964. Oral history interview for the Dartmouth Vietnam Project. McGrath shares details about his childhood in Massachusetts. He describes his transition to Dartmouth. He explains how he began as an engineering major and quickly began looking for a new major and became an English major. He discusses his participation in Alpha Theta fraternity, the Newman Club, and played on the hockey team. He describes his involvement with the Army ROTC [Reserve Officers’ Training Corps]. McGrath explains how he went directly into the Army after graduation. McGrath discusses why he selected to take a regular commission and his time spent in the Army. He explains how he began in Germany for two year, went to Fort Huachuca in Arizona to train soldiers going to Vietnam, and finally was sent to Vietnam for one year beyond his initial commitment to the military. He discusses his job as a company commander and what his experience was in Vietnam. McGrath shares how he became disillusioned and untrusting of the Army during his year in Vietnam. He describes his transition back to the United States after his tour in Vietnam. He describes how he became involved in antiwar activities as a graduate student at the University of Texas, Austin. McGrath describes his career path after graduate school. McGrath describes his involvement with Professor Edward Miller’s course at Dartmouth.
William P. Link. Oral history interview for the Dartmouth Vietnam Project. Link discusses his childhood, growing up in Laredo Texas in a family of eleven children. He shares his experience as a white child in a majority Mexican American community. He describes the transition from Texas to the Naval Academy where he attended college. Link shares what was expected of him as a student at the Naval Academy and an experience marching in JFK’s funeral as a midshipman. He describes his semester spent in Peru at the Peruvian Naval Academy. He describes his first assignment on the USS Nicholas, a destroyer out of Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. Link was a communications officer. He describes life on ship, his duties, and where the ship traveled. Link discusses command duty officer school in Newport, Rhode Island, prior to his assignment as chief engineer on the anti-submarine destroyer, the USS Brownson. He describes his time at Vietnamese language and counterinsurgency school in Coronado, California. Link discusses his time as an American advisor on a Vietnamese riverboat, Vietnamese ship 229, on the Mekong Delta. He shares his medals and service ribbons from combat. He discusses his experience at Northeastern University working on his master’s degree in business. Link describes his career post graduate school working in computer companies.
Keane, John Interview Abstract
1. Childhood and Political Awareness in Huntington, NY
2. Time at Dartmouth
3. Peace Corps Experience in Colombia
4. Time in Vietnam with the Foreign Service
5. Post-War Career and Final Thoughts
David C Johnston, Dartmouth Class of 1966. Johnston shares home of his family: his parents background and his various siblings. He considered attending a military academy, but eventually settled on Dartmouth and was recruited for football, but quit shortly after joining. He also joined a fraternity, and majored in Government. He founded the Negro College Exchange Fund at Tucker Foundation (now The Tucker Center). Joined the U.S. Air Force ROTC [Reserve Officers Training Corps]. Attended University of Madison Wisconsin at Madison for a Masters in Urban Planning. He was part of the Dow Chemical riot of 1966. Discusses the trend of war in U.S. history, and international politics. He then describes his later life: meeting his wife and working for the Annie E. Casey Foundation. Johnston describes his retirement and creation of his own organization, the Center for Higher Education Retention Excellence. He also teaches college at Eastern Connecticut State University.
John D. Isaacs. Dartmouth Class of 1967. Oral history interview documenting his work with the United States Foreign Service during the Vietnam War. Isaacs describes his undergraduate years at Dartmouth College, including a brief enrollment with the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC), and his experience as a graduate student at Johns Hopkins University’s Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies, including involvement in the antiwar movement. He recounts his deployment to Vietnam in 1970 and his assignment working with refugees in Binh Tuy Province, Bien Hoa, and Saigon through CORDS (Civil Operations and Revolutionary Development Support). Isaacs describes his later work in Washington, D.C., including his contributions to help pass the War Powers Resolution of 1973, and his work with the Indochina Resource Center. Isaacs discusses U.S. foreign policy and the country’s role in contemporary conflicts in Iraq, Afghanistan, and with the Islamic State (ISIS or ISIL).
David C. Hoeh, Associate Director of Public Affairs in the Public Affairs Center at Dartmouth College, lecturer in Social Science at Dartmouth College, coordinator of Dartmouth College/Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) program. Oral history interview documenting his memories of World War II (WWII) as a child in Newton, Massachusetts, and his involvement in the Democratic Party of New Hampshire, first in student government at the University of New Hampshire (UNH), then in state government from 1963 to 1967. Hoeh discusses his experience and involvement in the Vietnam War era and Lyndon B. Johnson (LBJ) era at Dartmouth College, as well as his service as Chairman of the New Hampshire [Eugene] McCarthy For President Committee. Hoeh graduated from UNH in the Class of 1960 and earned his Masters from Boston University and PhD from the University of Massachusetts Amherst.
Paul Hodes, Class of 1972. Oral history interview documenting Paul Hodes’ activism in the popular movement against the Vietnam War, during his time at Dartmouth College. Hodes details the occupation of the administrative building, Parkhurst, by Dartmouth College student activists, and his role as bearing a bull horn to warn the occupants of the arriving police force. Hodes recalls the impact of the 1970 Kent State shootings, and his decision to participate in the March on Washington in the same year. Hodes also narrates his involvement with SDS (Students for a Democratic Society), his childhood in New York City, and his decision to run for Congress in New Hampshire in 2006.
Hayes, Stephen Interview Abstract
1. Childhood in Delaware
2. Coming to Dartmouth
3. Training at OCS
4. Naval Service in Japan and Vietnam
5. Life and Career Post-Vietnam
Green, David Interview Abstract
1. Childhood in Baltimore
2. Sports and Activism at Dartmouth
3. The Parkhurst Takeover
4. Jail Time and Expulsion
5. Continued Activism in Maryland and Cuba
6. Life and Career After College
Gene R Garthwaite, Professor of History and Middle Eastern Studies at Dartmouth College. St. Olaf College Class of 1955. At St. Olaf, Garthwaite majored in English, was the feature editor of the college newspaper, and served in ROTC [Reserve Officers’ Training Corps]. He married after going into the Air Force. After flying B-47s over the Soviet Union, he was awarded a Wilson Fellowship and enrolled in University of Chicago to obtain his Ph.D in English literature. After a year and a half, he delayed taking his prelims to go on an archaeological dig to Iran. Upon returning, he found a job in the management division of Aerojet General [Corporation] in Sacramento, California. He then transferred fields, and schools, and went to study Middle Eastern studies at UCLA [University of California, Los Angeles] to complete his Ph.D. He began to work at Dartmouth College in 1968, upon completion of his doctorate. He was part of a younger, liberal group of professors which formed to socialize and discuss the Vietnam war, and other issues such as civil rights. Garthwaite discusses the campus’ climate and how it changed, the admittance of women into Dartmouth, as well as Anti-war protests such as the Parkhurst sit-in in 1969. He participated in sit-ins and protests around civil rights and the war, and discusses those events as well.
Frank, Justin Interview Abstract
1. Early Childhood and Political Consciousness in California
2. Undergraduate Education
3. Med School and Early Activism in Louisville
4. Securing Conscientious Objector Status
5. C.O. Status and Faith, Patriotism
6. Political Engagement and Writing Career in Adulthood
Long history of patriotism and military service on his fathers side of the family. Dates back to 1635 in New England.
Growing up in Gardner Ma, diversity in town –
Applying to Dartmouth
Freshmen teams vs varsity teams
President of Dartmouth rowing club
Happy as all male school – all male campus culture
Coached freshman crew as a student
Undergraduate Judiciary Committee
ROTC freshman year only
Lived in Casque & Gauntlet
Didn’t know what to do after college so joined peace corps
New Mexico for training
Honduras – setup a clinic – went to Caribbean to setup a track & field event for kids
Organized student protests while at Michigan
Marched in Belzoni Mississippi
Freedom Now movement to Black Power movement - At the event in Greenwood Mississippi
Got in touch with PBS Eyes on the Prize series – they wanted to know about transition to Black Power – only white witness they could find
Protesting the war
Dinner with McNamamara
Worked for Warren Wiggins in Chicago
Wrote a book about the Vice Lords
Got a grant from Rockefeller Foundation to improve life with Vice Lords
Returned to Mass and began working for the state/governor
Worked at Dartmouth in development office
Guilt of not going