Military Experience, the Military Historian and the Reality of Battle: A Conference in Honor of John F. Guilmartin

October 9, 2015
Friday, September 23, 2016 - 8:30am to Saturday, September 24, 2016 - 6:15pm
Mershon Center
Professor John F. Guilmartin

Professor John F. “Joe” Guilmartin Jr., Lieutenant Colonel, United States Air Force (Ret.), was a prominent member of the History Department at The Ohio State University for nearly three decades. Born in Alabama on September 18, 1940, Joe grew up in San Antonio and earned a BS degree in aerospace engineering and was graduated in 1962. After flight training, Joe began a twenty-one year career in the United States Air Force, flying search and rescue helicopters. He served two tours in the Vietnam War, logging more than 120 missions over Laos and North Vietnam in 1965-66 as a HH-3E “Jolly Green” helicopter pilot. For his wartime service Joe was awarded the Air Medal with five oak leaf clusters and two Silver Stars for bravery in combat.

Joe attended Princeton University, where he earned an MA (1969) and PhD (1971) in History, specializing in early modern European history. He served on the faculty of the History Department at the Air Force Academy from 1970-74 and after retirement from the military, he served on the faculties of the Naval War College and at Rice University before moving to Ohio State in 1987.
Dr. Guilmartin, simply “Dr. G” to his students, was an authority on military and maritime history, airpower history, military technology, and the Vietnam War. When asked by a colleague about his research interests he replied: “Anything that involves technology and the socially sanctioned application of violence.” During his twenty-nine years at Ohio State he supervised twenty-six graduate students through to completion of their PhD degrees. He also sat on more than 270 student examination committees – senior research essays; honors theses; graduate exams – a number that, according to the Graduate School, is more than any other faculty member on record.
The conference that will take place on Friday and Saturday, September 23rd and 24th will honor the career of this influential scholar. The Mershon Center for International Security Studies will host both events, which are being sponsored both by the OSU Department of History and also the Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation of Milwaukee. The Friday event will include presentations from Dr. Guilmartin’s fellow scholars and colleagues who wish to celebrate the significant impact his work had upon their own scholarship. The Saturday event is his celebratory Festschrift event and will feature papers by his former doctoral students. 

Military Experience, the Military Historian, and the Reality of Battle: A Conference in Honor of John F. Guilmartin
Friday, September 23rd

8:30-9:00AM              Coffee and Pastries (Mershon Center Lobby)

9:00-9:15AM              Intro, “Dankeschrift” Mission, Dr. Kelly DeVries

9:15-10:45AM            Panel I

·         Jamel Ostwald – “A Guilmartinesque Taxonomy of the Levels of War”

·         Brian R. Price – “The Technology of Personal Combat:  Arms, Armor and Fighting Techniques during the Hundred Years’ War”

·         Kelly DeVries – “A Soldier-Historian:  Jacques de Bourbon’s Eyewitness Account of the Siege of Rhodes in 1522”

10:45-11:00AM          Break

11:00AM-12:30PM   Panel II

·         John M. Stapleton – “Towards a Seventeenth Century Operational Art?  An Analysis of William III’s 1695 Campaign”

·         Andrew Mitchell – “Écrivez l’infame!:”Visions of the Common Soldier in the Writings and Films of Pierre Schoendoerffer

·         John Farquhar – “Airpower and Irregular Warfare:  A Battle of Ideas?”

·         Robert Rush – “Perspectives of a Deployed Historian”

12:30PM-1:30PM      Lunch (Mershon Center Lobby)

1:30PM-3:00PM        Panel III

·         Christopher Ives – “The Copper-Headed Mace:  Culture, Technology, Choice and the Second Indochina War

·         Leo J. Daugherty – “’An Expeditionary  Army at War': The U.S. Army and the Objective Force, 2001-2009”

·         Dean Shumate – “What’s in a Name:  A Strategic Analysis of the Islamic State”

·         John Lynn – “On Terrorism”

3:00-3:15PM              Break

3:15-4:15PM              “Military Experience, the Military Historian, and the Reality of Battle,” John F. Guilmartin, as read by Dr. Eugenia Guilmartin


4:15PM-4:30PM        Concluding Thoughts, Kelly DeVries


Technology, Violence, and Warfare
Saturday, September 24th


7:30-8:00AM              Coffee and Pastries (Mershon Center Lobby)

8:00-8:10AM              Welcome, Dr. Peter Mansoor

           Introduction and Festschrift Mission, Dr. Robert Ehlers

8:10-8:20AM              Gen Ron Fogleman, USAF (Ret.) recorded comments about Dr. Guilmartin

8:20-8:30AM              Lt Col Jerry Singleton, USAF (Ret.) comments about Dr. Guilmartin

8:30-8:45AM              Drs. Allan Millett and Williamson Murray comments about Dr. Guilmartin

8:45-10:30AM            PANEL I

Commentator: Jennifer Siegel

-          Jeffrey Seiken: Thomas Jefferson’s Gunboat Program

-          Edward McCaul: US Civil War Technology and Killing Zones

-          William Roberts: US Civil War Light Draft Monitors

-          Robert Clemm: 19th Century East Africa, Trains, and Imperial Conquest

10:30-10:40AM          Break

10:40-12:25PM          PANEL II

Commentator: Geoffrey Parker

-          Clifford J. Rogers: Cannon Development in Late Medieval Europe

-          Sarah K. Douglas: The Emergence of Late Medieval/Early Modern Ship Rigging

-          Andrew de la Garza: The Mughal Empire and the Development of Independent Technologies

-          Jason Warren: Native American Fortifications during the conflicts of European settlement

12:25-1:25PM            Lunch (Mershon Center Lobby)

1:25-3:10PM              PANEL III

Commentator: Allan Millett

-          Robyn Rodriguez: German Military Advisors in China and the Push for Technological Modernization

-          Sebastian Cox:WWII British Mosquito Development

-          Corbin Williams: WWII US/British Naval Technology Parity in the Pacific

-          Robert Ehlers: Allied and Axis Uses of Technologies in the Mediterranean Theater

-          Matt Hurley: The Portuguese Counterinsurgency in Africa in the 1960s

3:10-3:15PM              Break

3:15-5:00PM              PANEL IV

Commentator: Williamson Murray                            

-          Edward Coss: Fear, Physiology, and Behavior under Fire

-          Will Waddell: French Indochina, Feminizing Technology, and Counterinsurgent Warfare

-          Mark Grimsley: The Vietnam Combat Film Genre

-          Michael Pavelec: US Cyber Technology as a as Military Revolution

-          Peter Mansoor: The precision-information RMA and its limitations during the Iraq War, 2003-2011

5:00-5:10PM              Break

5:10-5:55PM              Concluding Address, Alan Beyerchen (

5:55PM-6:00PM         Conference Concluding Thoughts, Robert Ehlers and Sarah Douglas

To register, please contact Dr. Sarah K Douglas ( Firm RSVPs only please as space is very limited.