November 10, 2014
Nationwide, events on Nov. 11 focus on veterans. West Chester University has several special events planned in November that honor veterans beyond a single day.
As part of a 50th year commemoration of the Vietnam War, West Chester University is hosting a day-long program on Wednesday, Nov. 12, that looks at the history and unique contributions made by helicopters – from their use in transport and search and rescue to medical evacuations and as attack aircraft.
A highlight of the day will be a helicopter on display on High Street in front of Philips Memorial Building. The program is cohosted by WCU and the American Helicopter Museum and Education Center (AHMEC), located just outside West Chester.
WCU historian Robert Kodosky, who spearheaded the development of the program, has built a relationship with the museum. Students in several of his courses have conducted research there and created visitors guides for various artifacts or rotorcraft.
The "Helicopter War" speakers include veterans who were deployed in Korea, Vietnam, Bosnia, Iraq and Afghanistan, among them highly decorated U.S. Marine Corps Colonel (ret.) Leonard C. "Len" Bieberbach '62, who joined the Platoon Leaders Corps, Marine Corps Reserve in 1959 while a student at West Chester. He was promoted to Corporal in 1961 and commissioned upon graduation from college. As a Huey Gunship pilot, he flew 480 combat missions and served as personal pilot to several commanders, heads of state and governmental officials.
The University is also the site of the first-ever exhibit of the Wilford Collection, materials generously loaned for display from local resident Robert Wilford, son of rotor craft innovator E. Burke Wilford. AHMEC has also provided material for this exhibit. It will become part of the digital archives housed in Special Collections. Curated by Special Collections Librarian Tara Wink and WCU history major Adam Farence, the exhibit takes place at the University’s Francis Harvey Green Library throughout November.
The film Travis: A Soldier's Story, Thursday, Nov. 20, at 7:30 p.m. in Sykes Student Union Theater chronicles the inspiring true story of U.S. Army Staff Sergeant Travis Mills of the 82nd Airborne. Travis is one of only five quadruple-amputees from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan to survive their injuries.
It's also fitting that social workers and social work educators are on campus Monday, Nov. 10, to conference about Trauma-Informed Care, a topic related to veterans, but also extended to victims of domestic violence or childhood trauma. West Chester University ROTC Color Guard will both post and retire the Colors for the event.