Hal BidlackHal BidlackJuly 17, 20186min311

Way back in the last century, I was a young captain fresh into an assignment teaching political science at the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs. It was a great assignment to be sure – smart students, wonderful colleagues, and a few perks. Among these perks was the opportunity to attend a conference every year that would enhance one’s intellectual development and skills as a teacher. Which is how I found myself in D.C., at the annual meeting of the Federalist Society.


Hal BidlackHal BidlackFebruary 13, 20187min759

In 1984 I was in a military parade. Well, not exactly. I was in the military and I was in a parade, up in Cheyenne, Wyoming. Our Olympic Arena team had won several trophies for excellence at the missile operations competition (think Red Flag for missiles), and the nice folks running Cheyenne Frontier Days that year invited us to participate in a parade through downtown Cheyenne. There were several of us, on a flatbed truck with bunting around the edges, and three really big trophies. We waived to the nice folks, as we followed behind a couple of big tractors and in front of (always be in front of) a bunch of horses. That is the totality of my experience marching as a military member in public parades.


Dan NjegomirDan NjegomirNovember 13, 201711min505
A Texan by birth, a Coloradan by choice and a Republican for life. That’s not so much a part of Jeff Hays’s resume as it is a strand of his DNA. OK, maybe we’re not qualified to analyze Hays’s DNA, but Hays himself is: It turns out the state chair of the Colorado Republican Party […]

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Tom Roeder, The GazetteTom Roeder, The GazetteAugust 25, 20174min487

Filmmaker Ken Burns thinks his new 10-part documentary on the Vietnam War could spark a public discussion of the issues dividing Americans in 2017.

Burns, who gave Air Force Academy cadets a sneak-peek at the documentary Thursday night, pointed to how his 1990 documentary “The Civil War” drove a discussion ahead of the 1991 Persian Gulf War.

The Vietnam series, he said, shows combat through the eyes of troops on both sides and also examines how 10 years of combat there drove a wedge into the U.S. populace, sparking widespread unrest.

“That era sewed some seeds of disunion,” Burns said.

Burns’ latest effort, co-directed with Lynn Novick, is set to debut on public television Sept. 17. He said it compiles a decade of work and dozens of interviews into 10 episodes that begin profiling Southeast Asia at the time of French colonialism in the 1850s.

The characters who help Burns illustrate the war include retired Air Force Gen. Tony McPeak, who flew 285 missions over Southeast Asia during the war. McPeak later served as the Air Force’s top general and said the lessons of Vietnam greatly influenced what the service has become.

“There are a lot of lessons we can learn from Vietnam,” McPeak said.

McPeak also served as a technical adviser on the Burns project, helping trim hundreds of hours of video into an 18-hour series.

“It was tough to cut down,” Burns said.

Burns said he has mixed feelings ahead of the documentary’s public release.

“It’s like a kid, you’re never done with it,” he said. And letting it out is like sending it off to college.”

McPeak, who served as a forward-air-controller in Vietnam, said the Burns work is something that Americans will use to assess the war for generations.

“This is going to become the standard history of Vietnam,” he said.

With 10 episodes, Vietnam is Burns’ most ambitious project in a 40-year career that includes Emmy-winning series including “Baseball” and “The National Parks: America’s Best Idea.”

It relies on similar methods of other Burns’ work, including sharp narrative from many characters and driving music that pulls viewers through the episodes.

The Vietnam episodes also include interviews with the troops who opposed the U.S. and political figures in the communist nation who are beginning to question how North Vietnamese leaders conducted the war.

“You have to look at all sides,” Burns said.

Burns’ decision to show off his work at the Air Force Academy is no surprise. The filmmaker also visited the Colorado Springs school in 2007 to show cadets excerpts from his documentary series “The War,” which examined America in World War II.

“It’s a way of honoring their commitment,” Burns said of visiting the cadets.

Burns also hopes his film helps American families talk about the wounds that America still suffers from the Vietnam War.

The history he’s put before television audiences often addresses the present as much as it does the past, he said, pointing to his most acclaimed work, “The Civil War.”

Just look at protests in Charlottesville, Va., this month, he said.

“As the events of last week showed, the Civil War isn’t over,” he said.


Dan NjegomirDan NjegomirMarch 8, 20172min322

Gov. John Hickenlooper soon could ink legislation to help combine overlapping services — like schools, restaurants, parks and shops— that are provided at military bases and by the local communities that host them. House Bill 1054, which was OK’d unanimously by the state Senate, was touted today in a press release by the Senate Democrats as “creating a closer community with Colorado civilians and our men and women in uniform.” HB 1054 was previously approved overwhelmingly in the House.

The bipartisan measure is sponsored by Democratic Sen. Nancy Todd of Aurora in the upper chamber and was introduced earlier in the House by Republican Reps. Terri Carver and Dan Nordberg of Colorado Springs. Both communities are home to military installations — Buckley Air Force Base in Aurora and the Army’s Fort Carson, the U.S. Air Force Academy and Peterson Air Force Base, among others, in Colorado Springs.

The measure’s focus on eliminating costly duplication and fostering closer links between the installations and their surrounding communities is intended to “cut costs and increase efficiencies in providing governmental services,” according to the bill’s official summary. The bill “directs the department of local affairs to support cooperative intergovernmental agreements between military installations and local governments.”

In a statement issued by the Senate Democratic press office, Todd said:

“We need to support and make sure our service members feel welcomed to our community. With all the responsibilities our men and women in uniform face protecting our country, we need to make sure we provide a supportive environment. And when they become veterans, hopefully they will choose to continue to call their host community home.”




Michael McGradyMichael McGradyMay 21, 20167min721

Gov. John Hickenlooper signed legislation on the steps of the El Pomar Center Friday at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs. At a bill signing ceremony crowded with state legislators and other high ranking officals, he jotted his signature on an act establishing Colorado’s formal push to become a national leader in cybersecurity. House Bill 16-1453 establishes the National Cyber Intelligence Center (NCIC) on the campus of UCCS, a university certified by the U.S. National Security Administration and Department for Homeland Security as a National Center of Academic Excellence. NCIC is intended to occupy an old manufacturing facility located in the northwest portion of Colorado Springs. Currently, the facility is owned by the university and is used as a storage warehouse for the campus.