Upcoming Events:



Past Events:

Thursday, March 24, 2016, 12:00 to 1:00 pm. Martin Luther King, Jr. Library, Room 255 

Mr. Al Conetto spoke about his new book The Jump: The 1st Battalion, 503rd Airborne Infantry, in the First Major Battle of the Vietnam War.   Mr. Conetto graduated from SJSU and was commissioned a Second Lieutenant from the Army ROTC.  He served in Vietnam as a Platoon Leader and fought in the first battle between U.S. forces and the Vietcong in 1965.  He returned to Vietnam in 1967 as a Captain in the First Cavalry.  In 1993 he received his MA from the History Department, SJSU.For information please contact Dr. Jonathan Roth, (408) 924-5505.

Here is a link to a video of the event:

Tuesday, December 1st, Time TBA

Prof. John Pettigrew will speak about his new book, “Light It Up: The Marine Eye for Battle in the War for Iraq” Tuesday, December 1st, 2015, 4:30 to 5:45 pm Room 225, Martin Luther King, Jr. Library San Jose State University Fourth and San Fernando, San Jose John Pettegrew is a historian of late-19th and 20th century U.S. thought and culture at Lehigh University specializing in the history of thought, culture, war, and visual culture. His current research includes the optics of combat in the Iraq War, and the emergence of empathy in 20th-century social thought. He is the Director of Lehigh’s Veterans Empathy Project. Prof. Pettegrew’s talk is sponsored by the SJSU College of Social Sciences, the History Department and the Burdick Military History Project. For information please contact Dr. Glen Gendzel at or (408) 924-5514.

Saturday, September 19th, All Day

First Air War: An Interactive, Multimedia Symposium, Student Union Ballroom, SJSU campus. 

Exhibits, displays, gaming and vendors focused on World War One Aviation.  Admission to the Ballroom is free and open to the public.  The Ballroom will be open from 9:30 am to 5:30 pm and food will be available at the food court downstairs.  Co-sponsored by the Burdick Military History Project, the World War One Historical Association and the League of Aviation Historians.  For more information go to

Saturday, September 19th, 11:00 to 4:30

2015 Burdick Military History Symposium: First Air War, Student Union Theater.

11:00 Jack Harris: "Creation of a Legend: Genesis of Fighter Aviation in World War One". This is the story of the origin and development of fighter aviation during World War One, the first air war, and the legend of the fighter ace. The story combines the exploits of the aces, the evolution of combat tactics, and the technical development of fighter aircraft from its primitive beginnings to the armistice, presaging the aerial arms race that continues today, when the fighter is the key offensive aerial weapon.  Jack Herris graduated Magna Cum Laude and Phi Beta Kappa from the University of Washington in 1971 with a Bachelor of Science in Aeronautics and Astronautics. He then served as a Navy aviator, flying P-3B Orion aircraft with VP-46. After leaving the Navy he worked in the Laser Fusion Program at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, then worked in the high tech industry in Silicon Valley. Jack has written more than 50 magazine articles and 18 books about WW1 aviation. He brings insight into these aircraft both from his engineering and military flying experience. He now publishes new titles under Aeronaut Books—


1:30 Graydon Turnstill: "Warfare on the Eastern Front: Ground and Air." Many people are aware of the events in the air on the Western Front in World War One, but the Eastern Front remains “the unknown war.” This talk will discuss the differences between the Eastern and Western fronts, and then trace the major battles on the ground and in the air in the East. The interaction of such events in the East will be explained in conjunction with the major clashes on the Western Front. Dr. Graydon Tunstall is a Senior Lecturer of History at the University of South Florida, as well as the National Executive Director for Phi Alpha Theta History Honor Society. He teaches classes on military history with an emphasis on the World Wars. He received his Ph.D. in Modern European History from Rutgers University and has published a number of books and articles including Blood in the Snow: The Carpathian Winter War of 1915. Professor Tunstall has won numerous Superior Teaching Awards, and lectured at the Sorbonne, the University of Vienna, multiple U.S. colleges and universities and several World War I Association national conferences.

2:30 James Davilla: "Back to the Future: How the Great War's Air War Influenced Today's Aviation." Although the technology of World War One aircraft is often dismissed as crude and unreliable, many innovations were introduced during the Great War that are still in use today. Stealth, unguided air-to-air missiles, variable incidence wings, and aerial cannons all underwent operational development during this period. This presentation will compare the introduction of these new technologies during 1914-1918 with their current use.  James Davilla is a physician practicing Gastroenterology in San Jose, California, but his passion is military aviation history. His publications include French Aircraft of the First World War, Salmson Aircraft of World War One, and SPAD Two-Seat Fighters. He is currently completing a 50,000-page encyclopedia of military aircraft which covers more than 7,500 different types produced from 1910 to 2010.

3:30 Steve Suddaby: "Unfulfilled Nightmares of World War One Aerial Bombing." 
This is a history of events that never happened—ideas and plans created for bombing in World War I that were never tried or were never successful during the war. These ideas and plans for aerial attacks reverberate into the 21st Century as the 9/11 attacks, drone strikes on terrorist leaders, and Syrian helicopters bombing opponents with chlorine gas. The Great War topics covered include the plan to bomb New York City from Zeppelins, the actual attempts to kill the Kaiser from the air, the plans to destroy London and Paris with firestorms, and ideas about bombing cities with poison gas or biological agents.  Steve Suddaby is past president of the World War One Historical Association. He is a two-time winner of the Thornton D. Hooper Award for Excellence in Aviation History. He and his father Allen published the English translation of René Martel’s 1939 history of French aerial bombing under the title French Strategic and Tactical Bombardment Forces of World War I (Scarecrow Press, 2007). Steve is a retired statistician and CIA analyst with extensive counternarcotics experience in Latin America and Southeast Asia.

Co-sponsored by the Burdick Military History Project, the World War One Historical Association and the League of Aviation Historians. For more information call Dr. Jonathan Roth at 408 924-5505 or email

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