Erik S. Kristensen Memorial Lecture Series Honors Fallen Navy SEAL
Established in 2013, this lecture series jointly sponsored by St. John’s College and the U.S. Naval Academy honors LCDR Erik S. Kristensen, an alumnus of the United States Naval Academy and the St. John's College Graduate Institute in Liberal Education. As recounted in the new film Lone Survivor, Kristensen, a Navy SEAL, was killed in the line of duty while leading a bold search and rescue mission in Afghanistan in 2005. The annual lecture series was initiated by another St. John’s alumnus, Lt. Michael Zampella, along with friends and family, to create even greater ties between his two alma maters and to educate the public about civil-military relations by emphasizing the role of the liberal arts in naval and military education. “He was the model scholar-warrior, with a passion for learning that equaled his passion for military service,” writes President Christopher Nelson in his blog SignPosts for Liberal Education.
The Honorable Francis J. “Bing” West, war correspondent and military historian, will give this year’s lecture titled “Lessons from a Decade of Frustrating War” at St. John’s College. The lecture, which is free and open to the public, will be held in McDowell Hall on Wednesday, April 9 at 7:30 p.m.
West served as assistant secretary of Defense in the Reagan administration. Other posts he has held include vice president of the Hudson Institute and dean of Research at the Naval War College, among others. He was an adviser to the commander of the US Central Command and embedded with US troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. West is the author of numerous bestselling military books. These include The Village, a narrative of advising and surviving under fire that has been on the Marine Commandant’s Reading List for 40 years; The Strongest Tribe: A History of the Iraq War; and The Wrong War: A History of the Afghanistan War. His latest book, Into the Fire, describes the actions of a Marine sergeant who was awarded the Medal of Honor.