Ron Milam

Ron Milam

Associate Professor - U.S. History, Vietnam War, Military

Ph.D., University of Houston

Ron Milam is an Associate Professor of History, a Fulbright Scholar to the Socialist Republic of Vietnam, and the Faculty Advisor to the Veteran’s Association at Texas Tech. He teaches both halves of the U.S. Survey, the Vietnam War, and graduate and undergraduate courses in Military History. His latest teaching interest is terrorism and insurgency, an interest that developed from his having been named an Academic Fellow for the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies. He also serves as the Academic Advisor for the semi-annual Vietnam Center sponsored student trips to Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, and Thailand. He has also taught at the Diplomatic Academy of Vietnam under a Ford Foundation Grant. He currently serves on the Content Advisory Committee tasked with writing the history of the Vietnam War for the new Education Center at The Wall in Washington, D.C.

Dr. Milam is the author of Not a Gentleman’s War: an Inside View of Junior Officers in the Vietnam War, published by the University of North Carolina Press. He also has written a chapter on the Vietnam War published in the Companion to Military History by Wiley-Blackwell Publishing. He is currently working on two book projects: “The Siege of Phu Nhon: Montagnards and Americans as Allies in Battle,” which deals with one of the most significant battles in the late days of the Vietnam War, and “Cambodia and Kent State: Killing in the Jungle and on the College Campuses,” which deals with the American incursion into Cambodia in May 1970 and the subsequent campus demonstrations that resulted in the death of college students. He is currently under contract to produce a two-volume book for ABC-CLIO entitled, “The Vietnam War and Popular Culture.”

Dr. Milam is a member of the Texas Tech Vietnam Center Advisory Board, the Board of Directors of the David Westphall Veteran’s Foundation, which operates the Vietnam Veterans Memorial State Park in Angel Fire, New Mexico, and the Texas Aviation Historical Foundation. He is also a member of the Board of Directors of the Music From Angel Fire Chamber Festival.

Dr. Milam is a combat veteran of the Vietnam War, and collects and rides motorcycles.

Published Works

Not a Gentleman's War: An Inside View of Junior Officers in the Vietnam War

Not a Gentleman's War: An Inside View of Junior Officers in the Vietnam War by Dr. Ron Milam

Wars are not fought by politicians and generals--they are fought by soldiers. Written by a combat veteran of the Vietnam War, Not a Gentleman's War is about such soldiers--a gritty, against-the-grain defense of the much-maligned junior officer.

Conventional wisdom holds that the junior officer in Vietnam was a no-talent, poorly trained, unmotivated soldier typified by Lt. William Calley of My Lai infamy. Drawing on oral histories, after-action reports, diaries, letters, and other archival sources, Ron Milam debunks this view, demonstrating that most of the lieutenants who served in combat performed their duties well and effectively, serving with great skill, dedication, and commitment to the men they led. Milam's narrative provides a vivid, on-the-ground portrait of what the platoon leader faced: training his men, keeping racial tensions at bay, and preventing alcohol and drug abuse, all in a war without fronts. Yet despite these obstacles, junior officers performed admirably, as documented by field reports and evaluations of their superior officers.

More than 4,000 junior officers died in Vietnam; all of them had volunteered to lead men in battle. Based on meticulous and wide-ranging research, this book provides a much-needed serious treatment of these men--the only such study in print--shedding new light on the longest war in American history.

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Contact Information

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