Texas Tech University

Ron Milam

Professor and Executive Director, Institute for Peace and Conflict (IPAC)
U.S. History, Vietnam War, Military

Email: Ron.Milam@ttu.edu

Office: 151D Humanities

Ph.D., University of Houston

Ron Milam is an Associate Professor of History, a Fulbright Scholar to the Socialist Republic of Vietnam, and the founding Faculty advisor to the Veterans' 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 and Cambodia. He has also taught at the Diplomatic Academy of Vietnam under a Ford Foundation grant.

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, and the editor of The Vietnam War in Popular Culture: The Influence of America's Most Controversial War on Everyday Life (2 volumes), published by ABC-CLIO/Praeger. He is currently working on “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.

Dr. Milam is a member of the Texas Tech Teaching Academy, recipient of the President's Excellence in Teaching Award, the Chancellor's Council Excellence in Teaching Award, the President's Excellence in Teaching Professorship and is an Integrated Scholar. Dr. Milam is the Executive Director of the Institute for Peace & Conflict (IPAC), which includes the world renowned Vietnam Center and Sam Johnson Vietnam Archive, and is a member of the Board of Directors of the David Westphall Veterans Foundation, which operates the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Angel Fire, New Mexico. He was recently named by Secretary of Veteran's Affairs Robert Wilke to the Veteran's Advisory Committee on Rehabilitation (VACOR).

Dr. Milam is a combat veteran of the Vietnam War, and in 2015 was inducted into the Officer Candidate School (OCS) Hall of Fame at the National Infantry Museum at Fort Benning, Georgia. He rides and collects motorcycles.

Ron Milam

Select Publications

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

not a gentleman's warWars 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.

Learn more at Amazon.com.

The Vietnam War in Popular Culture: The Influence of America's Most Controversial War on Everyday Life

popular cultureCovering many aspects of the Vietnam War that have not been addressed before, this book supplies new perspectives from academics as well as Vietnam veterans that explore how this key conflict of the 20th century has influenced everyday life and popular culture during the war as well as for the past 50 years.

Accessibly written and appropriate for students and general readers, this work documents how the war that occurred on the other side of the globe in the jungles of Vietnam impacted everyday life in the United States and influenced various entertainment modes. It not only covers the impact of the counterculture revolution, popular music about Vietnam recorded while the war was being fought (and after), and films made immediately following the end of the war in the 1970s, but also draws connections to more modern events and popular culture expressions, such as films made in the aftermath of September 11, 2001. Attention is paid to the impact of social movements like the environmental movement and the civil rights movement and their relationships to the Vietnam War. The set will also highlight how the experiences and events of the Vietnam War are still impacting current generations through television shows such as Mad Men.

Learn more at Amazon.com.