Dr. Heather Stur, professor in the School of Humanities at the University of Southern Mississippi (USM) and internationally recognized expert on the Vietnam War, is the recipient of the Charles W. Moorman Distinguished Alumni Professor of Humanities for 2021- 2 3, one of the most prestigious distinctions awarded to a member of the faculty of the University.
The Moorman Chair honors Dr. Charles W. Moorman, longtime USM professor of English and vice-president of academic affairs in the 1970s. It is made possible by the USM Foundation through a matching grant from the USM Phil Hardin Foundation and is awarded every two years for a two-year term to a Senior Professor of English, History, Foreign Languages or Philosophy.
Dr. Stur will receive support through the Moorman Chair for his research on his book on General Buford “Buff” Blount and the 2003 US Army Third Infantry Division Invasion of Iraq. The book, which is under contract with Osprey Publishing, will be released in 2023 to mark the 20th anniversary of the operation, which resulted in the capture of Baghdad and the dismantling of Saddam Hussein’s regime. She will also be presenting a public lecture at the end of her tenure as Professor Moorman.
“Receiving the Moorman Chair is one of the greatest honors of my career so far,” said Dr Stur. “This designation puts me in the company of some of my most accomplished colleagues in the School of Humanities, including my friend and mentor, Andrew Wiest.
“I am grateful to the Moorman Prize committee and external reviewers for believing in the value of my project. The fact that the committee selects me from a pool of competitive candidates is a wonderful validation of my work.
Graduating from USM in 1971, Blount enjoyed a distinguished career in the United States Army, earning the rank of Major General before retiring in 2005. The Bassfield, Mississippi native led the 3rd Division of the United States. US infantry in Baghdad in 2003, overthrowing the regime of Iraqi dictator Saddam. Hussein in the Second Gulf War. The University’s Dale Center for the Study of War & Society honored General Blount by establishing the General Buford “Buff” Blount Professor General in Military History, which Dr. Stur obtained in 2017.
“With General Blount a Mississippian native and USM alumnus, there is a fascinating connection between our university, our state and one of the most significant military interventions of the turn of the 21st century,” continued Dr Stur.
As part of his research for the book, Dr. Stur traveled with General Blount to Fort Stewart, Georgia, where the Third Infantry Division is stationed. She was able to get into a tank, watch a simulated battle, and talk to armored personnel carriers to get a feel for their work in Iraq and Kuwait, the invasion staging area.
“Over the past few years, I have had the good fortune to get to know General Blount and speak at length with him about his rich military career,” said Dr Stur. “As commander of the Third Infantry Division, his decisions shaped the course of US military history in Iraq. Having access to someone who made history like this is amazing.
“I have spent most of my career immersed in the history of the Vietnam War, so it has been invigorating to focus on a new time and a new conflict. I have learned a lot over the past few years researching this subject, and I am delighted to write the book.
Dr Stur obtained his doctorate. from the University of Wisconsin and joined USM’s Faculty of History in 2008. An internationally recognized expert on the Vietnam War, she was selected for a Fulbright Prize in 2013 to study and teach in Vietnam at the University of Social and Human Sciences of Ho Chi Minh City. Her research expertise includes gender and war, American foreign relations and post-1945 America. She is the most recent author of Saigon at war: South Vietnam and the global sixties, and American military and civil rights since World War II, which were supported by the Blount Chair; and Beyond Combat: Women and Gender in the Vietnam War Era, among other books and articles in academic journals. She was one of four USM faculty members and two USM alumni who contributed to a 2017 New York Times series titled “Vietnam ’67” which captured the political and cultural turmoil that rocked America in 1967, with the Vietnam War as the centerpiece.
Co-director of the USM’s Dale Center for the Study of War and Society, Dr Stur was a former co-director of the University’s Center for Oral History and Cultural Heritage; she is currently director graduate studies for the USM history program. Among many other honors. Dr. Stur is also the inaugural recipient of the USM’s Nina Bell Suggs Chair and its College of Arts and Letters Young Faculty Research Award.
“Dr. Stur’s selection as New Distinguished Professor Moorman recognizes the quality, impact and relevance of her work in military history nationally and internationally,” said Dr. Chris Winstead, Dean of USM College of Arts and Sciences. “His scholarship builds on and extends the outstanding work of the Dale Center, and captures important lessons learned in Iraq that will inform not only students and scholars of history, but future civilian and military leaders. as they consider their options in international business.
“His work is also particularly compelling, given our commitment as an institution to our veterans and the engagement of former military leaders in the USM and Hattiesburg communities. “
For more information on the Dale Center for the Study of War & Society, visit https://www.usm.edu/dale-center-war-society/. of Arts and Sciences, visit https://www.usm.edu/arts-sciences/index.php.aq