NCTC invites community to Vietnam War presentation

Elizabeth F. Abu | Nov 21, 2017

North Central Texas College invites all members of the community to come out for a special presentation on the Vietnam War on December 7th from 9:30-11 AM. The presentation will include personal stories from Colonel Kevin Sweeney, and NCTC Dean of Instructional Administration Dr. Larry Gilbert about their time as pilots in the 905th Air Refueling Squadron, a unit tasked with refueling planes conducting combat missions over Vietnam and the strategic bombers operating under the Strategic Air Command.

Colonel Sweeney served in the United States Air Force, and the USAF Air National Guard from the Vietnam War through Operation Desert Storm. During Desert Storm, Col. Sweeny’s plane lost two engines at night on a combat mission, yet he managed to return his crew to their base safely. The skill and bravery of his flight crew won them the USAF Distinguished Flying Cross. Since leaving the Air Force, Col. Sweeney has been active as a corporate executive, speaker, and author of books, such as: Pressure Cooker Confidence: How to Lead When the Heat is On and Conversations with the Colonel: Lessons in Life, Leadership, and Wisdom.

Dr. Gilbert entered the USAF in 1970, and served until 1976. During his time in the military, Dr. Gilbert completed two tours of duty in Vietnam, earning the Air Medal for combat in the process. Upon leaving the Air Force, Dr. Gilbert became an educator, first as a teacher in public high schools, then as an administrator at several community colleges throughout the state. In 2001, Dr. Gilbert was hired as NCTC’s Dean of Arts and Sciences, and in 2017 he changed positions to become the Dean of Instructional Administration—Dual Credit.

Both Col. Sweeney and Dr. Gilbert flew missions the 905th Air Refueling Squadron during the war. This unit had the dangerous task of serving as refueling platforms for both the planes conducting combat missions over Vietnam, and the long-range bombers operating under the Strategic Air Command.

The presentation is part of the NCTC Humanities class on the Cold War, led by Professors Pat Ledbetter and James Jones.

Gilbert-Air-Force.jpg

Crew R-129, Operational Readiness Inspection (ORI) Best Crew at Grand Forks AFD, ND, Aug 1974 (L to R:  NCTC Dean of Instructional Administration Larry Gilbert, Nick Stooke, Robin Robinson, Glenn Haywood)