BRISTOL – Bristol Public Library will host a panel discussion featuring three veterans of America’s Middle East conflicts Nov. 13.
The program, "Serving in the Middle East: Perspectives from Those Who Were There," is sponsored by Bristol Public Library and the Memorial Military Museum. It will be held at 2 p.m. at the library at 5 High St. and will feature guest speakers Colonel Peter Mack, who served in the U.S. Army, Senior Chief Joseph Bogdanski, who served in the U.S. Navy, and Lieutenant Amy Johndro, who served in the U.S. Air Force.
“This is a rare opportunity to hear what it was like from those who were there,” said Carol Denehy, vice president of the Memorial Military Museum. “Each of these veterans brings the perspective of active duty personnel, officers and NCO, who supplemented their careers of service in the Reserves and National Guard as well.”
Denehy said the program will be an opportunity to hear the perspectives of service members who engaged in Operations Desert Storm, Shock & Awe and Enduring Freedom. The guest speakers served in the roles of nursing, division-level medical operations, intelligence, air operations, construction and logistical support, Naval Expeditionary Forces and the Tikrit Task Force among others.
Bogdanski enlisted in 1988 and served on active duty until 1995 during Operation Desert Storm with the Fleet. He was affiliated with the Naval Reserves in 1996 and served until 2014.
“While in the Naval Reserves I did one deployment with the Naval Expeditionary Logistics Support Force during Operation Shock and Awe,” he said. “Another deployment was with the Seabees 30th Naval Construction Regiment in support of Enduring Freedom in Iraq.”
Johndro was deployed to Ecuador in 2003, Guatemala in 2005, Hurricane Katrina in 2006 and Baghdad, Iraq in 2008. She served for 16 years with the U.S. Air Force.
Mack was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the U.S. Army Medical Service Corps after graduating with a B.S. degree in Aerodynamics from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in 1991. After completing the Army Medical Department Officer Basic Course at Fort Sam Houston, he was selected for flight training and attended the U.S. Army Initial Entry Rotary Wing Course at Fort Rucker, Alabama in 1992.
After completing the IERW course, he served as a 67J Aeromedical Evacuation Platoon Leader in the 377th Medical Company (Air Ambulance) in Seoul, Korea. There he flew Sikorsky UH-60 MEDEVAC helicopters on the Korea demilitarized zone from 1993 through 1995.
Mack’s subsequent assignments include MEDEVAC Detachment Commander of the 214th Medical Detachment in Comayagua, Honduras from 1995 to 1996, Medical Research Test Pilot with the U.S. Army Aeromedical Research Laboratory in Fort Rucker, Alabama from 1996 to 1999 and Headquarters and Headquarters Company Commander, 78th Aviation Battalion in Camp Zama, Japan from 1999 to 2002.
Mack left active duty in September 2002 and continued to serve in the U.S. Army Reserves.
The idea for the program, Denehy said, began a few months ago when Scott Stanton, assistant director of the Bristol Public Library, asked the Memorial Military Museum to present a program in November in honor of Veterans Day.
“We appreciate being asked and will always say ‘yes’ to our library, one of the most welcoming public places in our hometown,” Denehy said. “Scott agreed that together the museum and library could begin to show our town's gratitude to those few among us who chose to serve during the past 20 years.”
Denehy said the story of the 21st century generation of veterans has been “largely under-represented” in the media and today’s museums.
“Some veterans of the Middle East conflicts who have created families and post-service careers are our own Bristol neighbors, co-workers, public servants,” she said. “We are honored that three veterans have agreed to share their stories and invite the public to meet and hear them on Nov. 13.”
The program is free to attend. To RSVP, visit bristollib.com, call 860-584-7787, ext. 3 or visit the library.
Brian M. Johnson can be reached at 860-973-1806 or firstname.lastname@example.org.