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February 8, 2013

Vietnam War Chaplain James D. Johnson to Read at Syracuse University

Vietnam War Chaplain James D. Johnson to Read at Syracuse University

The SU Writing Program’s first Nonfiction Reading Series event of 2013 will be a reading by Vietnam War Chaplain James D. Johnson on Wednesday, Feb. 20, from 2:30-3:45 p.m. in Kittredge Auditorium, H.B. Crouse. The IVMF is proud to co-sponsor the event, along with the Department of Sociology, Department of Anthropology and Aging Studies Institute

Johnson will read from his book, “Combat Trauma: A Personal Look at Long-term Consequences,” (Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 2012). Members of the Syracuse Veterans’ Writing Group will also participate . The event is free and open to the public. Nearly four decades after serving in Vietnam, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) overtook Johnson, forcing him to give up his career. In his new book, Johnson and 15 of his comrades share their intimate experiences of the combat they waged in Vietnam, and that they continue to wage inside themselves.

As chaplain during the Vietnam War with the 3rd Battalion, 60th Infantry, 9th Division, Johnson didn’t carry a gun, but was in 22 firefights, 10 of which turned into major battles. Serving with the Mobile Riverine Force in the Mekong Delta for nearly a year, beginning in July 1967, Johnson was determined to be with his men when they needed him most–during combat. After Vietnam, Johnson stayed in the Army, serving at Fort Bliss and in Germany. After 15 years, he retired from the Army as a lieutenant colonel and earned his doctorate in marriage and family counseling.

Johnson holds degrees from Wake Forest University, Long Island University, and Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, and a doctorate from Eastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Philadelphia. He received several Bronze Stars for valor, the Air Medal and several Army Commendation and Meritorious Service Medals.

For more information, contact LouAnn Payne at or 315.443-1083.

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