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History authority speaks to area veterans

Posted on Monday, December 24, 2012 at 12:54 pm

Dr. Derek Frisby

Dr. Derek Frisby

Dr. Derek W. Frisby, associate professor of history at Middle Tennessee State University, teaching Tennessee, U.S., and military history, will be the guest speaker at the Vietnam Era Veterans group’s first meeting of the year.

The meeting, set for Thursday, Jan. 3, at 6:30 p.m., will be held at the American Legion post in Shelbyville.

Those wishing to attend should call Tom Taylor at 931-684-2557 (home) or 931-703-5096 (cell) or Bob Eid at 931-680-9679 by New Year’s Eve.

Dr. Frisby is a Middle Tennessee native, MTSU alum and U.S. Marine Corps veteran whose research interests deal with military occupation and reconstruction strategies.  Frisby received his doctoral degree from the University of Alabama-Tuscaloosa under George Rable and has authored numerous articles and essays dealing with Tennessee’s Civil War occupation and Reconstruction experiences.  He is completing his first book dealing with southerners who remained loyal to the Union during the Civil War and their role in the region’s occupation and restoration. 

In 2007, MTSU tasked Dr. Frisby with publicly outlining the institution’s association with Nathan Bedford Forrest’s image as controversy again swirled over proposals to rename Forrest Hall, the university’s ROTC building, and presented this research discussing the role of Confederate iconography in southern history and MTSU’s heritage for the 2009 MTSU Honors Lecture series and in essay form for the university’s book, MTSU: A Centennial Legacy. 

Dr. Frisby was a 2003 military history fellow at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, was coordinating director of the Society for Military History’s 2009 annual conference in Murfreesboro and edited the West Tennessee Historical Society Papers (one of three academic state historical journals) for six years. He serves as historical consultant to the staffs of regional ROTC programs (including MTSU), Fort Campbell and Fort Knox, frequently leading battlefield tours, conducting “staff rides,” and teaching military history courses.

During the spring semester 2009, Dr. Frisby led a group to explore and study World War II battlefields in the Central Pacific, including Guam, Peleliu and Iwo Jima.  He returned to Guam and Peleliu in 2010 and conducted a tour of World War I and World War II Europe in 2011 and 2012. These courses are just one of three “Signature Study Abroad Programs” and plans are underway to visit Vietnam and Europe in 2013.

Frisby is also actively involved in various campus initiatives as a member of the MTSU Veterans Memorial Committee that established a monument plaza to MTSU veterans near the Tom Jackson Building and continues to enhance veterans’ services on campus as a grant writer and representative on the MTSU Veterans and Military Affairs Committee. He was appointed to the MTSU Centennial Celebration Planning Committee and selected as Theme, Events, and Scheduling subcommittee chair.  He was also honored with a 2009 MTSU Outstanding Teaching Award and a 2009 Daily News Journal Ruthie Award for “Favorite MTSU professor.”

He recently appeared on the NatGeo Channel’s Civil War series, “Civil Warriors: Episode 3: Hard War” detailing the perilous conditions in Union occupied Middle Tennessee.