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AUSA book wins Norwich University William E. Colby Award

Wednesday, May 01, 2013

Norwich University officials recently announced that Lt. Col. Thomas P. McKenna, USA, Ret., of Stowe, Vt., is the 2013 William E. Colby Award winner for his book "Kontum: The Battle to Save South Vietnam," an Association of the United States Army book published by The University Press of Kentucky.

McKenna served as a military adviser to the South Vietnamese Army, and has published articles on military history in "Vietnam," "Military Officer," and "Military Heritage" magazines.

During his 22 years of service, McKenna served more than 12 years overseas in Germany, Italy, Korea and Vietnam.

His award-winning book is a non-fiction military history based on his second tour in Vietnam.

Assigned as a military adviser to the 23rd Division, McKenna participated in the battle of Kontum.

His book combines his personal experiences with years of interviews and research from primary sources to describe the events leading up to the invasion and the ensuing battle.

"Thomas P. McKenna was one of a handful of American advisers in Kontum in 1972. His first-hand knowledge, personal valor and superb research has resulted in a landmark account of one the most desperate and little known battles of the Vietnam War," Carlo D’Este, executive director of The William E. Colby Military Writers’ Symposium, said.

Adding, "Described by a former commanding general of the 82nd Airborne Division as ‘a soldier's soldier,’ Thomas McKenna joins an eminent group of authors as the newest winner of the Colby Award."

Named for the late ambassador and former CIA Director William E. Colby, the Colby Award recognizes a first work of fiction or non-fiction that has made a significant contribution to the public’s understanding of intelligence operations, military history or international affairs.

"I am especially honored to be selected for the Colby Award because I know the judges were people who read and know military history," McKenna said.

A $5,000 author honorarium is provided through a grant from Chicago-based Tawani Foundation. The award and honorarium were presented at Norwich University by D’Este during the 2013 Colby Military Writers’ Symposium at the Meet the Authors Dinner on April 11.

The William E. Colby Award originated at Norwich University in 1999.

Previous recipients of the Colby Award include: James Bradley, Nathanial Fick, Col. Jack Jacobs, Dexter Filkins, Marcus Lutrell, John Glusman and Karl Marlantes.

This AUSA book is available for purchase at $34.95. Special AUSA online price is available on the Association website, www.ausa.org, at a discount price of $22.72.