By Ray Kozakewicz, Fort Lee Public Affairs
FORT LEE, Va. – Fort Lee and the Robert E. Lee Chapter, Association of United States Army will co-sponsor a POW/MIA Recognition Day observance and luncheon, Sept. 17, 11:30 a.m., at the Lee Club.
The program will commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Vietnam War and feature a Missing Man Table with an Honors Ceremony.
The guest speaker is Robert Hodierne, chair of the University of Richmond’s Department of Journalism, who began his 40-year journalism career as a freelance photographer covering the Vietnam War in 1967.
Retired Col. David J. Kolleda, president of the local AUSA chapter and deputy to the U.S. Army Chief of Transportation, said he became aware of Hodierne’s background in March when the Richmond Times-Dispatch featured a story on the former Vietnam War photographer.
“AUSA teams with the garrison to put this program on every year,” said Kolleda. “When I read the article, I realized he was the guy we were looking for as our next speaker, and I contacted him. We wanted someone who could take us back that far.”
“I was the youngest, fully accredited foreign journalist to cover the war,” Hodierne wrote on his website that features many of his photographs. “My photographs appeared in all major U.S. and European magazines. The 1968 Popular Photography Annual includes a portfolio of my work. My photos have appeared in the Time-Life series of Vietnam books.”
Hodierne wrote he was certain the war in Vietnam would blow over before he could finish college, so he dropped out in 1966 and went to Saigon to work as a freelance photographer – a stringer in the terms of the day. He stayed until the summer of 1967. After finishing college, he returned again in early 1969 and left in the spring of 1970.
He covered the war from the DMZ in the north to the Mekong Delta in the south, from the Central Highlands to the coastal plains. He photographed Soldiers, Sailors, Marines, Airmen and Vietnamese civilians caught up in the war. Hodierne later worked as a reporter and editor for newspapers, wire services, magazines, television, radio and on the Internet.
In 1981, he was part of a team that won most American journalism awards including the Pulitzer Prize.
From 2001-2008, he was senior managing editor for MilitaryTimes, an organization that produced the weekly newspapers Army Times, Navy Times, Marine Corps Times, Air Force Times, Defense News and Federal Times, plus the monthly Armed Forces Journal and several other publications and websites.
In early 2004 he spent six weeks embedded with American forces in Iraq and the following year he spent another month there.
He will share his Vietnam War experiences at the luncheon after being introduced by Kolleda. During the ceremony, Col. Paul K. Brooks, Fort Lee garrison commander, also will offer remarks. The 392nd Army Band Jazz Combo will provide music, and a Fort Lee Honor Guard will participate.
Tickets are $15 and can be purchased by calling (804) 765-1941.