Speaker Biographies

Vancouver Barracks 

World War One 

National Centennial Conference

May 25 - 27, 2018

(Last Updated 25 January 2018)








Mitchel Yockelson
Keynote Speaker

U. S. World War One
Centennial Commission

MITCH YOCKELSON directs the National Archives and Records Administration-Archival Recovery Program where he leads investigations of thefts of historical documents and museum artifacts.  His work has been featured in the New York Times, Washington Post, and the Los Angeles Times, and he has appeared on 60 Minutes, Fox News, PBS, and the History Channel  

Additionally, Mitch is a professor of military history at Norwich University and the author of four books: Forty-Seven Days: How Pershing’s Warriors Came of Age to Defeat the German Army World War I, Borrowed Soldiers: Americans under British Command, 1918, named one of the best military history books by The Independent (UK); MacArthur: America’s General; and Grant: Savior of the Union. He is currently writing a biography of American Field Service ambulance driver Roland Root Speers.

  The chief historical adviser to the U.S. World War One Centennial Commission, Mitch regularly leads tours of World War I battlefields for the New York Times Journeys and frequently lectures on military history.  He lives in Annapolis, Maryland.


Richard Burrows

The Historic Trust

Richard Burrows, a national leader in non-profit arts, culture and heritage advocacy, has worked at the local, state, national, and international level. He has a strong history of incubating, developing, and sustaining collaborative efforts with broad ranges of stakeholders. He worked successfully for many years in public education, post-secondary institutions, governmental service, agency executive leadership, and private consulting.


Burrows currently is the Director of Community Outreach & Engagement with The Historic Trust where he is developing new service delivery models, deepening constituent support, and helping ensure that diverse voices and communities can participate interactively in understanding their past, present and future.


Major Jefferson Davis (ret.)

President, Vancouver Barracks Military Association

Jeff Davis was born in Vancouver, Washington.  He grew up around the Vancouver Barracks, because his father was stationed there for many years.  Jeff served 32 years in the Army and Army Reserves.  His assignments ranged from Infantryman to Puppeteer, to Military Historian.  His career took him to Italy, Korea, Japan, Bosnia, and Southwest Asia. 


Duane Colt Denfeld, Ph.D.


Joint Base Lewis-McChord

Dr. Denfeld serves as a historian at Joint Base Lewis-McChord. He has been active in the documentation of JBLM’s 100th anniversary. His histories include essays on History Link, the Washington online encyclopedia. Dr. Denfeld spent over 10 years documenting the Word War II battlefields in the Pacific. His work there supported the National Park development and battlefield preservation.  As an Army reservist he trained at Vancouver Barracks and has a love for this historic post. 


Erik Flint, Director

Lewis, Military Museum
(Joint Base Lewis-McChord)

Erik Flint has been the Director of the Lewis Army Museum since July 2015.  He is a Lieutenant Colonel (promotable) in the U.S. Army Reserves with over 30 years in uniform including service as an active duty enlisted Marine, Washington State National Guardsman, active duty infantry officer, and Army Reserve officer.  He deployed twice to Iraq as U.S. Special Operations Command Combat Historian.  Erik holds a B.A. in History from the University of Washington, an M.A. in Land Warfare Studies from American Military University, and is currently working on a PhD in Modern History from the University of Birmingham in the United Kingdom.


MSG Jack Giesen (ret.)

Vancouver Barracks Military Association

Jack Giesen was born in Manitowoc, Wisconsin to a family with Army service in WWII. His Father rejoined the Army as Corps of Engineers Officer near the end of the Korean War. Jack grew up as an Army Brat, living on or near many Army post.  His family travels included several East coast Army posts, Fort Ord CA, and two years in Iceland.  Jack Giesen enlisted in the Regular U.S. Army in 1970 in order to serve 24 months in Germany and complete his military career. However he found the Army Reserve a good fit and continued for 34 years without a break in service. The majority of his service was with the 104th Division at Vancouver Barracks, WA.   Jack Giesen is a graduate of Eastern Washington University with a BA in Industrial Technology.  He is also a graduate of the U.S. Army Sergeant’s Major Academy.


Alisha Hamel

I Corps Historian, US Army

Alisha Hamel started working in Army history during the Lewis and Clark Bicentennial.  She created a Lewis and Clark presentation to be taken out to schools and managed multiple events.  She has also created a documentary on the 41st Infantry Division during World War II and written a book on Oregon Military History.  She worked as the Command Historian for the Oregon National Guard and created an Oregon National Guard yearbook and wrote and taught Oregon National Guard history.  She worked at the Center of Military History in Washington D.C. as a historian, the Chief of the Museum Support Center in Anniston, Alabama and as the Liaison for the western Military History Detachments. She currently works as the I Corps Historian at Joint Base Lewis/McChord.  She co-wrote a cover article for Army History Magazine called "The Underground Cities of World War I" and wrote many other published articles.  She just completed her Master's degree with a thesis titled, "Australian/American Relations during World War II


Pat Jollota

Independent Historian

Pat Jollota is a retired five term Vancouver city Councilmember as well as a twenty two year curator at the Clark County Historical Museum. She has written seven books on Clark county History.


FTG 1 (SS) Scott Lege, USN, USAF (ret)

Lewis and Clark College

PO Lege served 10 years on Submarines, then went on to Join the Air Force to finish out his military time until retirement, and retired as a Master Sergeant in the USAF.  He currently works as the Director of Grounds and Maintenance for Lewis and Clark College.


STS 1 SS William Lehman USN (ret)

Puget Sound Naval Shipyard and Intermediate Maintenance Activity

Petty Officer Lehman served on submarines for 20 years from 1980-2000.  Upon retirement from the Navy, he went back to work for them as a Civilian and currently serves as the Continuous Training Development Supervisor for the electrical shop.  In addition, he's an author writing the John Fisher Chronicles.


Frazier Raymond

Buffalo Soldiers - Moses Williams Pacific Northwest Chapter


Edward James (Jim) Moody, PhD

Industrial Workers of the World, the IWW

After serving six years in Air Force Intelligence Special Services as a Chinese Interpreter, I then attended the University of California where I majored in Oriental Languages. Upon graduation I was recruited by the CIA and served there for five years. I returned to the University where I was awarded a PhD in Anthropology and Linguistics. I was a professional Anthropologist and did research and taught at the University level, completing my career and retiring from Clark College. I am a lifelong active Union Member


Heidi Pierson, Curator

Lewis, Military Museum
(Joint Base Lewis-McChord)

Heidi Pierson has been curator at the Lewis Army Museum for the last three years. Previously, she worked at Fort Vancouver National Historic Site in their Cultural Resources Department. Heidi has a Master's Degree in Anthropology from California State University, Chico. She has written and presented Northwest History and Archaeology for the past 14 years.


Bradley Richardson – Historian and Executive Director, Clark County Historical Museum

Clark County Historical Museum

Brad Richardson has worked for CCHS for nearly seven years serving over that time as Museum Curator, Museum Experience Coordinator, and Visitor Services Coordinator. He now holds the position of Executive Director at the Museum and is the head administrator for the organization. Born and raised in Camas and Washougal, Washington, Brad Richardson holds an M.A. in Public History from Portland State University and a B.A. in History from Washington State University Vancouver. He was nominated for the 2017 George C. Marshall Public Leadership Award and recognized as a 2015 Visit Vancouver USA Tourism Ambassador.


Donna L. Sinclair, PhD

Independent Historian, Adjunct Professor, WSU Vancouver

Donna Sinclair, Ph.D., has worked as a public historian since the late 1990s. Sinclair’s work includes digital technology projects at the Center for Columbia River History (ccrh.org), social histories prepared for the National Park Service, an Historic Resources Study on Vancouver Barracks, and managing major oral history projects throughout the Pacific Northwest. She teaches Public History, Western Women’s History, and U.S. History at Washington State University Vancouver, Portland State University, and American History for the Humanities In Perspective program of Oregon’s state humanities program. Sinclair’s personal research focuses on women and minorities in the U.S. Forest Service. She is currently collaborating with Gloria Brown, the first African American woman forest supervisor in the nation, to write a co-written memoir of her experiences. The book will be available from Oregon State University Press in 2019. 


Fr. Art Wheeler, C.S.C.

Associate Professor of History, University of Portland – 1987 -

Undergraduate degree at the School of Foreign Service, Georgetown University, 1973.  Ph.D., University of Notre Dame, 1979.  Ordination as a Catholic priest, 1984.  After serving in primarily administrative positions (Director of Studies Abroad, Associate Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences) at the University of Portland for more than two decades, I returned to full-time teaching in May 2015.  Among my courses are American Military History, World War I, World War II, Anglo-French Global Rivalry 1688-1815, and British Empire 1815-1997.  I have lived as a chaplain in student residence halls for more than 35 years.