Robert J. Thompson III, Ph.D.

Current Position

Historian, Films Team, Army University Press, Fort Leavenworth, Kansas (September 2018 – Present)


Ph.D. U.S. History, University of Southern Mississippi, Hattiesburg, Mississippi (2016)

MA, History, Wilfrid Laurier University, Waterloo, Ontario, Canada (2007)

BA, History, Honors, Virginia Wesleyan College, Norfolk, Virginia (2006)



Clear, Hold, and Destroy: Pacification in Phú Yên and the American War in Vietnam. Norman: Oklahoma University Press, 2021, https://bit.ly/clrhlddstr.

Book Chapters

“The Vietnam War.” In Daily Life of U.S. Soldiers: From the American Revolution to the Afghanistan War. Volume 3. Eds. Chris Mortenson and Paul Springer. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, June 2019.

“Arriving in Vietnam,” “World of Hurt,” and “Freedom Bird.” In Andrew Wiest. Vietnam: A View From the Front Lines. Oxford: Osprey Press, April 2013.


“Counterinsurgency in United States Army History, 1860 to 1975.” In Oxford Research Encyclopedia of American History, https://doi.org/10.1093/acrefore/9780199329175.013.257, July 2020.

“Military Incidents: Not the Edge of the Abyss,” The Strategy Bridge, https://thestrategybridge.org/the-bridge/2017/8/16/military-incidents-not-the-edge-of-the-abyss, 16 August 2017.

“Vietnamization and the Advisory Crisis,” The Strategy Bridge, https://thestrategybridge.org/the-bridge/2017/5/16/vietnamization-and-the-advisory-crisis, 16 May 2017.

“Pacification, Through the Barrel of a Gun,” The New York Times, https://www.nytimes.com/2017/03/10/opinion/pacification-through-the-barrel-of-a-gun.html, 10 March 2017.

“Lessons Not Learned: Viet Cong Infrastructure and the War in South Vietnam,” The Strategy Bridge, https://thestrategybridge.org/the-bridge/2017/2/22/lessons-not-learned-viet-cong-infrastructure-and-the-war-in-south-vietnam, 22 February 2017.

“Geronimo: Strategy Lessons from History’s Periphery,” The Strategy Bridge, http://thestrategybridge.org/the-bridge/2016/12/4/geronimo-strategy-lessons-from-historys-periphery, 4 December 2016.

“The Battle of Cung Son,” The Strategy Bridge, http://www.thestrategybridge.com/the-bridge/2016/8/18/the-battle-of-cung-son, 18 August 2016.

“Stany Zjednoczone wobec problemu pacyfikacji Republiki Wietnamu,” in Studia nad wojnami w Indochinach, Vol. II. Eds P. Benken, J. Slowiak and Zabrze-Tarnowskie Gory, Oświęcim 2014, pp. 100-120.

“Udział Australii w wojnie wietnamskiej,” in Studia nad wojnami w Indochinach. Ed. P. Benken, Oświęcim 2013, pp. 163-181.


Review of William M. Waddell III, In the Year of the Tiger: The War for Cochinchina, 1945-1951 (Norman, University of Oklahoma Press, 2018). Civil Wars, 24 June 2020. Available at: https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/13698249.2020.1777646

Review of Andrew Gawthorpe, To Build As Well As Destroy:  American National Building in South Vietnam (New York: Cornell University Press, 2018). H-Diplo Roundtable, 17 February 2020. Available at: https://networks.h-net.org/node/28443/discussions/5868542/h-diplo-roundtable-xxi-29-build-well-destroy-american-nation

Review of Gregory A. Daddis, Withdrawal: Reassessing America’s Final Years in Vietnam (New York: Oxford University Press, 2017). H-Diplo Roundtable, 12 November 2018. Available at: https://issforum.org/roundtables/PDF/Roundtable-XX-13.pdf.

Review of Thomas Richardson, Destroy and Build: Pacification in Phuoc Tuy, 1966-72 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2017). History Australia, 12 February 2018. Available at: https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/14490854.2018.1416550?needAccess=true&journalCode=raha20.

Review of Kenneth Payne, The Psychology of Strategy: Exploring Rationality in the Vietnam War (London: Hurst & Company, 2015). The British Journal of Military History, 9 February 2018. Available at: https://bjmh.org.uk/index.php/bjmh/article/download/225/190.

Review of Daniel A. Sjursen, Ghost Riders of Baghdad: Soldiers, Civilians, and the Myth of the Surge (Lebanon, NH: ForeEdge, 2015). H-FedHist, 15 January 2018. Available at: https://www.h-net.org/reviews/showpdf.php?id=51367.

Review of Warren K. Wilkins, Nine Days In May: The Battles of the 4th Infantry Division on the Cambodian Border, 1967 (Norman: Oklahoma University Press, 2017). The Strategy Bridge, 6 November 2017. Available at: https://thestrategybridge.org/the-bridge/2017/11/6/reviewing-nine-days-in-may.

Review of Edward A. Hagan, To Vietnam in Vain: Memoir of an Irish-American Intelligence Advisor, 1969-1970 (Jefferson: McFarland, 2015). H-Net, October 2016. Available at: https://www.h-net.org/reviews/showpdf.php?id=45874.

Review of Peter Sills, Toxic War: The Story of Agent Orange (Nashville: Vanderbilt University Press, 2014). H-Net, April 2016. Available at: https://www.h-net.org/reviews/showpdf.php?id=42005.

Review of Andrew Mertha, Brothers in Arms: Chinese Aid to the Khmer Rouge, 1975-1979. (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2014). H-Net, 21 March 2015. Available at: https://www.h-net.org/reviews/showpdf.php?id=42004.

Review of James H. Willbanks, A Raid Too Far: Operation Lam Son 719 and Vietnamization in Laos (College Station, TX: Texas A&M University Press, 2014). U.S. Military History Review, Volume 2, Number 1, December 2015.

Review of Major General Ira A. Hunt, Losing Vietnam: How America Abandoned Southeast Asia (University Press of Kentucky, 2013). On Point, Fall 2014.

Review of Jessica M. Chapman, Cauldron of Resistance: Ngo Dinh Diem, the United States, and 1950s Southern Vietnam (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2013). H-Net, 8 August 2014. Available at: https://www.h-net.org/reviews/showpdf.php?id=38945.

Review of James G. Hershberg, Marigold: The Lost Chance for Peace in Vietnam (Stanford University Press, 2012). H-Net, 29 April 2014. Available at: https://www.h-net.org/reviews/showpdf.php?id=36273.

Review of By George C. Veith, Black April: The Fall of South Vietnam, 1973-75 (Encounter Books, 2011). H-Net, 26 February 2013. Available at: https://www.h-net.org/reviews/showpdf.php?id=36272.

Review of Nicholas Evan Sarantakes, Allies Against The Rising Sun: The United States, the British Nations, and the Defeat of Imperial Japan (University Press of Kansas, 2009). Army History, 13 June 2012.

Encyclopedia Entries

“Jerusalem,” “Mishmar HaEmek,” “Latrun,” “Ashdod,” “Lydda,” “Operation Dekkel,” “Operation Keddem,” “Operation Yoav,” “Operation Hiram,” “Operation Horev,” and “Lang Son.” In Encyclopedia of Warfare. Ed. Sarah Uttridge. London, Amber Books, 2013.

“Pleiku,” “Viet Minh,” “Westmoreland, William.” In Encyclopedia of the Nineteen Sixties: A Decade of Culture and Counterculture. Edited by Jim Baugess and Abbe Debolt. Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-CLIO, 2012.

Online Textbook Chapter

“The Vietnam War.” In The American Yawp. Eds. Joseph Locke and Ben Wright, http://www.americanyawp.com, 2014.


Korea: Chipyong-ni,” Army University Press, 2020. Co-author, co-director, and historical research.

Korea: Twin Tunnels,” Army University Press, 2019. Co-author, co-director, and historical research.

Awards and Honors

Featured Contributor at The Strategy Bridge (2017)

University of Southern Mississippi’s nominee for the Council of Graduate Schools/Proquest 2017 Dissertation Award in the Humanities (2017)

Russell F. Weigley Graduate Student Travel Grant for the Society for Military History’s 83rd Annual Meeting in Ottawa, Ontario (2016)

U.S. Army Center for Military History Dissertation Fellowship, Ft. McNair, Washington D.C (2015 – 2016)

Silas Palmer Research Fellowship, Hoover Institution Library and Archives, Stanford University, California (2015)

Travel Award for the Society for Military History’s 81st Annual Meeting in Kansas City, Missouri from the History Department, University of Southern Mississippi (2014)

Graduate Student Travel Grant, University of Southern Mississippi: Multiple Awards (2011 – 2013)

Teaching Assistantship, University of Southern Mississippi (2009 – 2014)

Balsillie Fellowship, Wilfrid Laurier University (2006 – 2007)

Research and Teaching Interests

20th Century American History, War and Society, Diplomacy, Cold War, Vietnam War, First World War, Second World War, Pacification

Teaching Experience

Teaching Assistant, University of Southern Mississippi (August 2009 – May 2014)

History 101 (pre-modern World History)

  • Responsible for grading, holding office hours, proctoring of exams, and guest lectures

History 102 (World History since 1500)

  • Responsible for grading, holding office hours, proctoring of exams, and guest lectures

Adjunct Instructor, University of Southern Mississippi (Summer 2013)

History 101 (pre-modern World History)

  • Instructor of record–responsible for lecture preparation and delivery, grading, office hours

Adjunct Instructor, Virginia Wesleyan College (2007 – 2009)

History 111 (pre-modern World History)

  • Instructor of record–responsible for lecture preparation and delivery, grading, office hours

History 113 (U.S. History from the colonial period to 1877)

  • Instructor of record–responsible for lecture preparation and delivery, grading, office hours

Previous Non-Academic Employment

Researcher, Public Radio International (June – July 2017)

Searched databases for audio and textual records pertinent to Lyndon Baines Johnson’s actions towards the end of his presidency. PRI used the collected materials to inform a radio series that mirrored Ken Burn’s Vietnam War documentary.

Consultant, RAND Corporation (December 2016 – January 2017)

Advised RAND on the “Will to Fight” project, which involved Phu Yen Province. Duties included assisting a RAND employee with discerning, and photographing, records of value at the U.S. Army Center of Military History.

Intern, Don Pathways Summer Internship (June – August 2015)

Conducted archival research at the National Archives and Records Administration, College Park on behalf of Professor Dale Smith of the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences. Photographed and organized records pertinent to the Mayo Clinic’s relationship with the U.S. Navy.

Assistant to Web Designer, Programer, Computer Services, Virginia Wesleyan College (September 2007 – July 2009)

Maintained college webpages with routine content updates, and instructed faculty and staff on content management.

Conference Presentations

“Traps at precisely the same places: French and American Pacification Experiences in Phu Yen,” 87th Annual Meeting of the Society for Military History, Arlington, Virginia, 30 April-3 May 2018. Paper accepted, but not presented because of COVID-19.

“The Province that went to Sleep: The Advisory Crisis, 1970,” Texas Tech University, Lubbock, Texas, 9-11 April 2020. Paper accepted, but not presented because of COVID-19.

“The Accelerated Pacification Campaign and the Monsoon: Phu Yen Province, 1969,” Texas Tech University, Lubbock, Texas, 25-27 April 2019. Paper accepted, but not presented because of ill-health.

“Undoing Pacification: Tet 1968 in Phu Yen,” 1968 and the Tet Offensive, Texas Tech University, Lubbock, Texas, 26-28 April 2018.

“Defeat in Victory: Geography and the 1971 Battle of Cung Son, Phu Yen Province, Republic of Vietnam,” 85th Annual Meeting of the Society for Military History, Louisville, Kentucky, 5-8 April 2018.

“Popular Attitudes, Unpopular War: American and South Vietnamese Sentiments and the 1968 Tet Offensive,” 84th Annual Meeting of the Society for Military History, Jacksonville, Florida, 2017.

“The Spectre of 1954-55,” the U.S. Advisory Effort in Phu Yen, Republic of Vietnam, 1969-1970,” 83rd Annual Meeting of The Society for Military History, Ottawa, Ontario, 14-17 April 2016.

“No Peace in War: Pacification in the Republic of Vietnam, 1968-1972,” 81st Annual Meeting The Society for Military History, Kansas City, Missouri, 3-6 April 2014.

Highway or Hamlet?: U.S. Decision Making in Phu Yen, Republic of Vietnam, 1970-1971,” 80th Annual Meeting of The Society for Military History, New Orleans, Louisiana, 14-17 March 2013.

“’Appearance Lies’: Pacification in the Republic of Vietnam,” 79th Annual Meeting of The Society for Military History, Arlington, Virginia, 10-13 May 2012.

“Pacification in South Vietnam: Construed Reality,” Windy City Graduate Student History Conference, University of Illinois at Chicago, 5 November 2011.

“The Pacific Community and the Vietnam War,” Graduate Student Research Symposium, University of Southern Mississippi, 18 March 2011.

“‘We Need You!’ The Coast Artillery Corps on the Western Front, 1917-1918,” Graduate Student Research Symposium, University of Southern Mississippi, 2007.

“‘We Need You!’ The Coast Artillery Corps on the Western Front, 1917-1918,” 19th Military History Colloquium, Laurier Centre for Military Strategic and Disarmament Studies, 2006.

Publication Reviewer


  • Army University Press


  • War & Society

Media Appearances

“Rebuilding Nepal and Learning Vietnam,” Have Your Say, BBC World Service, 30 April 2015, beginning at 45:06 minute mark, http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p02psvhq.

  • Invited guest–discussed how the Vietnam War is taught in university classrooms.


Academic Memberships

  • Society for Military History

Previous Institutional Memberships

History Graduate Society, University of Southern Mississippi

  • President (2011-2012)
  • Vice President (2010-2011)

Phi Alpha Theta, Virginia Wesleyan College

  • President (2005-2006)
  • Vice President (2004-2005)


References available upon request.