Vietnam Veterans Speak

December 7, 2017 - 8:15am to 10:45am
101 Becker Communication Studies Building (BCSB), University of Iowa

Combat veterans Robert J. Konrardy and Bill D. Campbell will visit Professor Doris Witt's ENGL 4001 (Honors Seminar in 20th-21st Century American Literature: Writing and War) to speak about their experiences serving in Vietnam and the impact of those experiences on their lives thereafter--including Mr. Konrardy’s decision to embed in 2007 in Iraq with the same platoon he had commanded in Vietnam. ​

Free and open to members of the UI community and general public. Doors open at 8:00am. Questions about the event can be directed to



Robert J. Konrardy grew up in the Dubuque area and graduated from Loras College in June 1964. Five days later he entered the US Army and received his 2nd lieutenant’s commission in April 1965. He graduated from Ranger School in July 1965, was assigned to the 1st Cavalry (Airmobile) Division the same day, and was an Infantry Platoon Leader in Vietnam on 10 August 1965. Bob was seriously wounded in the Ia Drang Valley battle and returned home. Bob currently lives in Davenport, Iowa, is married and has three sons. One of his sons and one of his grandsons graduated from the University of Iowa. Bob retired from John Deere in 2002 and spends much of his leisure time working with veteran’s organizations. In March 2007 Bob embedded in Baghdad for one week with the same 1st Cavalry Platoon he commanded in Vietnam.  


Bill D. Campbell was born and raised on a family farm in Southwest Iowa. He attended Grand View Junior College for 2 years before volunteering for the draft. In March 1968 he was drafted, and after graduating from Basic Training, Advanced Infantry School, and the Non Commissioned Officers School was commissioned as a Sergeant E-5. He arrived in Vietnam in January 1968, and was immediately assigned to the A Company of the 1st of the 52nd Infantry, 198th Infantry Brigade (A co. 1/52 198th) of the Americal Division.  He served as a Squad Leader and as a Platoon Sergeant in the Infantry. He received a Purple Heart, Bronze Star for Valor, and an additional Bronze Star for Meritorious Service. He finished his two-year Army career as a Staff Sergeant. Together with his wife Jeanette, a high school teacher, he has four children: Kelly, who graduated from Drake University in Biochemistry/Molecular Biology before earning a BSN from Creighton University; Kurt, who graduated from the University of Iowa in Biological Sciences; Mark, who graduated from the University of Iowa in Economics; and Brian, who as a Presidential Scholar and Phi Beta Kappa at the University of Iowa majored in Economics and German and minored in International Studies. During Bill’s four-decade long career he has worked for Valmont Industries, Edward Jones, and the US Postal Service in the Marketing Division. He is retired and has been a member of the Military Order of the Purple Heart Veterans Organization, Indianola Rotary International Board of Directors, Gold Star Military Museum Board of Directors, Sons of the American Revolution, Des Moines Civil War Roundtable, Scottish Heritage Society, Des Moines Civil War Roundtable, and Disabled American Veterans, among other activities.