Iowa Public Television Presents Iowa Experience: Vietnam

Posted: September 21, 2017

Iowa Public Television announced today the premiere of Iowa Experience: Vietnam Monday, October 2 at 7 p.m. The hour-long program will air again Tuesday, October 24 at 9:30 p.m. on statewide Iowa Public Television and Saturday, October 28 at 9 a.m. on IPTV WORLD (.3).

Iowa Experience: Vietnam features a panel of Iowa’s veterans sharing their diverse experiences of life before, during and after the war. Veterans discuss experiences that changed them forever and challenged them to reclaim a sense of home in a country different from the one they left.

The panel, moderated by former Iowa Press host Dean Borg, was recorded at an event at IPTV’s studio in Johnston on September 10, 2017. Panelists include Caesar Smith, Hien Van Le, Dan Gannon and Bao Cam Lo.

Speaker biographies:

Dean Borg – Moderator: Dean Borg is a U.S. Air Force veteran as well as a long-time reporter and Iowa Public Television host. Borg spent time reporting from Vietnam for Cedar Rapids radio and television stations during the war. He covered protests on the University of Iowa campus and was in Paris during the Paris Peace Talks.

Caesar Smith – Panelist: Caesar Smith was a career military officer who served two tours in Vietnam. In 1964, he was a U.S. advisor to South Vietnamese troops and in 1968 he lead a company of soldiers in combat. He’s received numerous medals, including three Bronze Stars. After 20 years in the U.S. Army, Smith retired, was appointed professor of Military Science at Southern University in Baton Rouge, LA, and became the first EEO Officer for the United States Recruiting Command.

Hien Van Le – Panelist: Hien Van Le spent 21 years in the military. He rose to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel and was the Head of Military Intelligence of the South Vietnam Marine Corps from 1970 until the Fall of Saigon on April 30, 1975. He was imprisoned for 10 years and under surveillance for four more, before eventually resettling in Des Moines as part of the Special Release Reeducation Center Detainee Resettlement program.

Dan Gannon – Panelist: Dan Gannon is a Marine Corps veteran who served in Vietnam from 1969 to 1970. He spent more than 300 days in combat, rising to the rank of Captain before leaving the military. Gannon received the Navy-Marine Corps Commendation medal with the “V” device for valor in combat and is currently the Chair of the Iowa Commission of Veteran Affairs.

Bao Cam Lo – Panelist: Bao Cam Lo served as a Lieutenant Colonel in the South Vietnamese Army and lead Phu Bon province as its Chief and Sector Commander. Throughout his military career, he participated in many battles against the Viet Cong. He was awarded the Medal of Honor in 1966 and 1968 by the Vietnamese government and the Bronze Star with the “V” device for heroism by the U.S. government. He retired from the Iowa Bureau of Refugee Services and resides in Des Moines.