CCAC Vietnam War conference to include veterans, anti-war activists, Vietnamese community

September 27, 2018
John Dorsey, of Republic and served 1968-69 as a Sergeant in United States Marines Corps stand at attention during the annual vigil and memorial service held at the Fayette County Vietnam Memorial in Hopwood on Friday, May 18, 2012. Evan R. Sanders | Tribune-Review

The Community College of Allegheny County will host a conference aimed at exploring varying perspectives of those touched by the Vietnam War.

The event, “Vietnam: A Working Class War,” will be held Sept. 22 on the Allegheny Campus in Pittsburgh’s North Side.

The conference will include veterans of the war, anti-war activists and members of the Vietnamese community.

“We have worked diligently to assemble passionate voices -- some of whom have deep regional roots -- from every side of the conflict for this conference. It is our goal for attendees to leave with an interpretation of the substantive lessons learned from the Vietnam War based on the experiences and reflections of the panelists and participants,” the college said in a release.

Following the conference participants will be encouraged to march to the North Shore’s Vietnam Memorial for a ceremony honoring the building trades workers who built the memorial with donated labor and T.J. McGarvey, a Vietnam-era Marine who is said to be the driving force behind the monument. McGarvey passed away in November.

Tickets cost $25, or $10 for veterans and active military personnel.

CCAC students, faculty and staff may attend for free.

Registration begins at 8 a.m. The conference starts at 9 a.m. and runs until 2:30. The tribute at the Vietnam War Memorial will take place at 3:15 p.m.

All attendees will receive breakfast and lunch.

Event panelists

The Vietnam Veterans panel will include:

• Chris Moore, talk show host, KDKA radio and PCNC-TV; U.S. Army, 46th Engineers, 20th Brigade

• Jack Wagner, former Pennsylvania auditor general and state senator; former Pittsburgh City Council president; U.S. Marines, 2nd Battalion, 9th Marines Regiment

• Nick Molnar, U.S. Airforce, crew chief C130; former president of United Mine Workers District 2

• Pat Conroy, 1st Marine Airwing, HMM 161, Tango Security; Insulators Local 2

The Anti-War panel will include:

• Rick Adams, director, CCAC Center for Excellence in Funded Programs; a leader of the 1968 Westinghouse High School walkout

• Mike Stout, singer/songwriter and anti-war activist; co-founder, Indochina Solidarity Committee; former Homestead Steel Works Grievance chairman; United Steelworkers Local 1397

• Carl Davidson, national secretary, Students for a Democratic Society (1966-68); writer for The Guardian (1968-76); Committees of Correspondence for Democracy and Socialism; Beaver County Peace Links

• Sandy Kalson, U.S. Army (1963-1966); past president, Veterans for Peace; lawyer; labor arbitrator

• Jessie Medvan, Pennsylvania Army National Guard (2000-2008), deployed to Iraq in 2005; lead organizer, Veterans for Peace Chapter 47 of Western PA.

The Impact on Vietnam panel will include:

• Diana Nelson Jones, reporter, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette; little sister of Golf Company 2nd Battalion, 5th Marines

• Tony Accamando, U.S. Army veteran (1967); co-founder, Friends of Da Nang

• Koi Tran, former president, Vietnamese Association of Pittsburgh; publisher of books on Vietnamese history; editor of Dan Chim Viet magazine

• Maria Somma, born in Pleiku, adopted by U.S. serviceman and brought to the U.S. in 1970; director of Organizing, United Steelworkers.

• Pat Conroy, 1st Marine Airwing, HMM 161, Tango Security; Insulators Local 2.

If you go

What: Vietnam: A Working Class War

Where: Foerster Student Service Center, 808 Ridge Avenue, Pittsburgh

When: 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sept. 22

Cost: $25, $10 for veterans and active duty military, CCAC students and staff are free with ID

Tickets: eventbrite.com/e/vietnam-a-working-class-war-tickets