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Interview with John H. Haley, August 14, 2006 | UNCW Archives and Special Collections Online Database

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Interview with John H. Haley, August 14, 2006
August 14, 2006
Dr. John Haley discusses his career in this visual oral history interview. He served in the United States Army for 20 years, retiring as a Lieutenant Colonel in 1974. His service included four overseas tours, two of which were in Vietnam. While in the Army, he taught Korean language, military history, and other topics. After the service, Dr. Haley continued teaching, first at a community college and then at UNCW beginning in January 1976. He completed his doctorate in history in 1981 from UNC-Chapel Hill. He discusses his work in the history department, which was located on the 2nd floor of Alderman Hall when he began at UNCW. Dr. Haley's specialty was race relations in the American South, especially North Carolina. He also taught military history, Asian history, the Civil War, and U.S. History. He was instrumental in preparing the community for the Centennial commemoration of the 1898 Wilmington racial violence. Since retirement from UNCW in 2001, he continues to serve the community. For example, he serves on the Cape Fear Museum Board of Directors, and also as the historian for the Wilmington Race Riot Commission, N.C. Department of Archives and History.
Phys. Desc:

Interviewee: Haley, John Interviewer: Riggins, Adina Date of Interview: 8/14/2006 Series: Voices of UNCW Length: 2 hours, 15 minutes

Riggins: Hello. My name is Adina Riggins. I am the university archivist for UNCW. Again, Adina Riggins, in case that was left off of the tape. I am going to be in the background today interviewing somebody for our Voices of UNCW Oral History Program. We have here an Emeritus Professor in History. Please, sir, state your name for the tape.

John Haley: John Haley.

Riggins: Thank you, Dr. Haley. Today is August 14th, 2006, and I will proceed with our interview. Dr. Haley, I know you were in our History Department for a long time, but before you got here you were born and grew up somewhere. So where were you born and where did you grow up?

John Haley: I was born in Warrenton, Virginia, and grew up in Warrenton.

Riggins: Okay. Is that a rural part of Virginia?

John Haley: It was rural then, but now it's part of what they call the Northern Virginia side of D.C.

Riggins: A suburb.

John Haley: Um hm.

Riggins: Where did you go to school then, and were you in the public schools then?

John Haley: Yes. I went to the local school, of course a segregated school. And then I went to Virginia State University in Petersburg for my bachelor's degree.

Riggins: Okay. What area did you study there?

John Haley: History, lots of history.

Riggins: Lots of history, intensive history. What did you find yourself doing upon graduation?

John Haley: Well, upon graduation I had to go into the military. I had not been in the mandatory ROTC program while I was in college. So I went into the military with the intention of staying two years and getting out. Twenty years later...

Riggins: Really.

John Haley: Twenty years later I left the military.

Riggins: Oh. So you became career military.

John Haley: Yes, I was a career military person.

Riggins: I should have known since you're so punctual, right. That is a habit that has stayed.

John Haley: Yeah, you know.

Riggins: You are punctual, and I guess there is a certain mindset for people who choose to make a career in the military. Yeah. You have to--

John Haley: You have to be on time.

Riggins: Be on time.

John Haley: Right.

Riggins: Well, what branch of the military did you serve in?

John Haley: I was in the Army, and specifically for 14 years I was in Special Operations of the Green Beret.

Riggins: Wow.

John Haley: I also worked in Civil Affairs and Psychological Operations and Counter Insurgency.

Riggins: And I understand that you did serve abroad, as well.

John Haley: Yes, mainly in East Asia, but I did serve four years in Central America, and in Asia three tours of Viet Nam.

Riggins: What was it like during those times? Did that pique your interest in history? Military history became a specialty of yours, didn't it?

John Haley: Well, yes. I got into military history sort of the back door. Of course, you have to study military history while in the history. And then I was the professor of Military Science at Norfolk State University, and the officer in charge of their ROTC detachments. And one of the things that I taught was military history, and our cadets took years of military history.

Riggins: What does that involve? For the novice who doesn't know military, is that military history all the way from pre-Revolutionary days?

John Haley: Yes. You know, from I guess what we probably would call the pre-history or pre-literate man, and I think one of the things that humans have had in common over the years is fighting.

Riggins: Um hm. So not only United States history in military history, but every, all.

John Haley: Everywhere.

Riggins: Well, let's back up. When you became a professor, was that after you had obtained some other degrees? Did you attend graduate school while you were in the military?

John Haley: Yes. I got a Master's in history at Old Dominion University while I was in the military. And I also taught a couple of courses for Fayetteville State University at Fort Bragg while I was in the military.

Riggins: So you were moved around quite a bit, it sounds like.

John Haley: Yes, quite a bit, within the U.S. and in Asia and Central America.

Riggins: What was your specialty at Old Dominion, your master's degree?

John Haley: Well, let's see. Basically United States history and, of course, my thesis, my research thesis, was on the latter days of the American Colonization Society, the group that basically sponsored the founding of Liberia.

Riggins: Oh, okay. That sounds like that would be a potential as a hot research topic, too. Liberia is very interesting, at least to me as a novice.

John Haley: Well, then it piqued my interests, mainly because I found a good set of documents to work from, and also because the years that I covered from 1850 to 1865, no one had done that. They generally stopped around the 1840s. So I took it from the '50s through 1865.

Riggins: Wow. Was this after your service during Viet Nam that you got your master's degree?

John Haley: Well, yes and no. I did a lot of writing drafts and stuff my last tour in Viet Nam. And then, when I came back, the military gave me a year off to complete the degree. So I basically had my thesis all done. Viet Nam was never far away, because then, especially on the campus of Old Dominion, was a lot of anti-war sentiment. And much of my defense for my dissertation was discussing Viet Nam, believe it or not.

Riggins: That's what they kept turning to, I guess.

John Haley: Yes.

Riggins: Really. So, yeah, it just was always there. What were the conditions like in Southeast Asia?

John Haley: While I was there, I could see the war in thirds. My first tour was 1961 to '62, and within three months of Kennedy's inauguration I was in Viet Nam, basically in a non-military role. When I say that, I wasn't wearing a uniform. I went back again in 1965 and then again in 1969, '70. So I could see the war basically in thirds, and I was always in the same general vicinity, always stationed in the same corp area. So I have seen a beautiful...

Riggins: Wow. That is interesting.

John Haley: I saw a really beautiful country mainly devastated, I guess in the name of saving it. I have seen friendly faces, friendly people change over time to the point where my last tour there, they would turn their backs if they saw Americans.

Riggins: Wow. It is educational to have that experience, to go back and see the way it evolved through time. What an experience. How did you find your reception at home?

John Haley: At home, well, let's see. When I was at Norfolk State and Old Dominion, I had several confrontations with the administration and it involved, you know, controlling demonstrators' demonstrations. The old faculty at Norfolk State was much more receptive to the Viet Nam war than the young faculty. And on the campus was a group of teaching fellows, National Teaching Fellows. They were a little anti-war.

Riggins: Really.

John Haley: But when I would go to Old Dominion to school I would just basically change clothes, and even though my professors knew that I was in the military, no one else did.

Riggins: You would find it a distraction, too much of a distraction if they knew?

John Haley: Well, I did not want to explain U.S. policy, or try to explain U.S. policy to everyone, and possibly the target of any anti-war sentiment.

Riggins: Right, right.

John Haley: When I was hired here for almost 10 years, nobody knew I had been in the military, and for a long time no one knew that I had been in the military. There was this big gap in my life. I got out of college and 20 years later I show up, this is 21 years later, I show up looking for a job. Well, actually taking a job, because I never applied for a job here.

Riggins: Oh, okay. We'll get to that. We'll find out- that is something I always ask is how people found their way to UNCW. So I will remember that. So for 20 years you were in the Marines, in the Army.

John Haley: In the Army.

Riggins: Army.

John Haley: Yes.

Riggins: Okay.

John Haley: No, there's nothing wrong with the Marines.

Riggins: You weren't in the Marines.

John Haley: I was not a Marine.

Riggins: Oh.

John Haley: No.

Riggins: The Green Berets is...

John Haley: Army.

Riggins: Army. I see.

John Haley: Yes.

Riggins: I see.

John Haley: Then, it was the only unit in the military that wore berets. Now everybody wears them.

Riggins: Okay. So demanding, I suppose.

John Haley: It was interesting.

Riggins: It was interesting. Your last tour in Southeast Asia was in...

John Haley: It was '69 to '70.

Riggins: So you never went back at the very end, as people were.

John Haley: No.

Riggins: That the American GIs were leaving.

John Haley: Strange thing. I volunteered to go twice, the first and the last. But I never had any grand desire to go back to Southeast Asia.

Riggins: Oh, I see what you're saying. Yes. Never, never did. Well, what did you feel your experiences teaching? What did they show you, that you enjoyed teaching as you were teaching at Norfolk State, and everything with that?

John Haley: Well, yes, and a lot of, well, to go back. I always had in my mind a desire from the time I was, you know, in elementary school, that I was going to be a school teacher, and I was going to teach history. When I graduated from Virginia State, you know, I had to go into the military. But even if I did not, there was no graduate school in the State of Virginia that would have admitted me in a history program without, of course, because I could not go to UVA. I did, well, it was just not- The State would pay my tuition to go somewhere else, but tuition is a very small cost of a graduate education. So I went into the military and always kept this desire for history, not necessarily to teach. But when I was at Norfolk State, then I got accustomed, you know, to an academic environment, and back to teaching, much of what you do in the military is teaching. And teaching was just a natural thing. Now when I retired from the military, I thought, well, I could be a high school social studies teacher. And if I cannot do that, I am not going to do anything. But even though I had a master's, the State of North Carolina, you know, they put all kinds of obstacles like take the NT. So I took the NT and scored extremely high, without ever taking a day of educational classes. So I said, "Okay, give me my certificate." And what they gave me was a Class A Provisional Certificate good for one year, and a big packet of information telling me I needed to enroll in an approved education program and take 24 hours of education. So I figured out in my little head that 24 hours of school could get me a PhD if I wanted to go back to school. But then I just threw that notion out of my head. I am not going to teach. I am not going to do anything. I am going to stay up here. Then I was living in Columbus County, and be just a gentleman, do nothing.

Riggins: How long did that last?

John Haley: Oh, that lasted about a year while I was building the house and then I...

Riggins: This was in Columbus County, North Carolina?

John Haley: Yeah.

Riggins: Oh, okay. And that is where you retired from the military?

John Haley: Um hm.

Riggins: You were last stationed in North Carolina?

John Haley: In Fort Bragg, yeah.

Riggins: Fort Bragg.

John Haley: Fort Bragg was basically my home base.

Riggins: Really.

John Haley: Um hm.

Riggins: That's I guess how a lot of people find their way to that part.

John Haley: That's how I found my way to North Carolina.

Riggins: Right. So that was your home base. Did you do anything with the Air Force Base out there?

John Haley: Pope?

Riggins: Pope, yeah.

John Haley: We used to go down there and catch airplanes to jump in, you know. It was a main staging area. If you had to go somewhere you had to go down to Pope. But other than that, you know, I would hang out in the Officer's Club down there, or go to the commissary or something.

Riggins: What officer rank were you?

John Haley: I retired as a Lieutenant Colonel.

Riggins: Oh. Yeah. And you lived in Fayetteville or Fort Bragg?

John Haley: I lived in Fayetteville right next to Pope, just the base.

Riggins: I used to live in Fayetteville, not for too long. But how did you like it?

John Haley: I liked it.

Riggins: Yeah?

John Haley: Yes. I liked Fayetteville. Of course, you know, it has sort of lost its charm now and become gentrified. But for a Green Beret it was just an ideal town. Now, when I first went there.

Riggins: You felt very much at home, right?

John Haley: Yeah. When I first went to Fort Bragg though, Fayetteville was extremely segregated. It was a very segregated town.

Riggins: I'm sure. And that was in?

John Haley: Actually, it was in the winter of 1958.

Riggins: Oh, yeah. Oh, it was really segregated.

John Haley: Yes.

Riggins: So that was not quite as.

John Haley: No. It was six months before I left post. I stayed on post for six months.

Riggins: Because that is a much more- it was not segregated on post, was it? Was it segregated on post?

John Haley: No. It was not segregated on post.

Riggins: Yeah.

John Haley: But once you left you did not know what you would encounter if you went downtown.

Riggins: Alright. Yes. So you said.

John Haley: And, you know, that might have helped explain why two years later I volunteered to go to Viet Nam. I volunteered to go on a mission somewhere, and so it was the luck of the draw I wound up in the group that went to Viet Nam.

Riggins: At that time, nobody had heard of Viet Nam, right?

John Haley: No. My mother asked me was I going to drive my car. I told her, "Yes."

Riggins: They were not calling Fayetteville Viet Nam at that point.

John Haley: No.

Riggins: Did you hear about, people used to call Fayetteville Viet Nam?

John Haley: They used to call it- what did they call Fayetteville? When I was there they just called it Fatalburg. It was, you know, the Ville. But Viet Nam had not caught on, and much of what Special Ops was doing was in Laos or in Cuba, and Viet Nam was not thought of.

Riggins: When you went there the first time you said people were friendly, had not probably met many Americans, or any Americans, before.

John Haley: They had not met many Americans and the corp area I was in the, what we call I-Corp, which was the five northern provinces that bordered the demilitarized zone. And there was not enough Americans up there in those five provinces to get a good baseball game going. And you could drive. If you wanted to you could drive from one end of Viet Nam to the next- South Viet Nam to the next.

Riggins: Without any.

John Haley: Well, you know, somebody might shoot at you. But if it did, it was- I mean, it was not accidental, but it was, you know, something extraordinary and unexpected.

Riggins: I suppose they were used to the French more.

John Haley: They were used to the French. And as a matter of fact, you know, a lot of the Vietnamese who spoke to me and talked to me thought that I might have been a remnant from the Legion, because the Legion had a lot of Singhalese and Moroccan troops up in the area.

Riggins: Were the French, well, I guess, if you went right when Kennedy was inaugurated, the French were already pulling out of Viet Nam?

John Haley: The French were out of there, but there was still a lot of- the French military, as far as I know. But there was definitely a French influence. Most of the signs and buildings, restaurants, whatever, French and Vietnamese, the menus, French and Vietnamese. The French still had their rubber plantations. Michelin still had its rubber plantation. A lot of the infrastructure was still run by the French. So there was definitely a French influence.

Riggins: Colonial influence.

John Haley: And towards the end, you know, the restaurants and the building signs were Vietnamese English.

Riggins: Yeah. So it was being replacing one for another. What were your duties the first time you were there?

John Haley: What were my duties?

Riggins: Yeah.

John Haley: Oh, area assessments, surveys, training, training Vietnamese, mainly sites for potential bases, Special Forces bases or camps or whatever.

Riggins: The North Vietnamese were perceived as a threat at that time? Was there a civil war at that time?

John Haley: Well, it probably- it was a civil war. It just could not- it took a long time for people to arrive at that conclusion. But the imminent threat was the danger of a Viet Cong takeover, and mainly what we were supposed to be doing was training the army of South Viet Nam that had been expanded so that it could counter this Viet Cong threat. Probably there was very little incursions from North Viet Nam in the way of uniformed military. Its supplies came from North Viet Nam. Probably some supplies came through Cambodia or through Laos, but the shooting had not really commenced in earnest.

Riggins: The Viet Congs being the militias.

John Haley: The Viet Cong?

Riggins: Yes.

John Haley: The Viet Cong was the indigenous arm. They were Communists. But probably most of them were either South Vietnamese or North Vietnamese living in the south.

Riggins: And they are supported or funded by, who knows?

John Haley: Well, they were probably funded by, no doubt they were supported by the North Vietnamese who, at that time, were supported by the Soviet Block.

Riggins: Right, right. So geopolitics right in that region.

John Haley: But it was not all, you know, it was not all. No great signals. It took a long time for Americans to realize just what it was that they were encountering. They were mainly interested in counting VC sightings, VC suspects, or whatever. And it was optimist that we were going to train the Vietnamese. We were going to supply them. And then we would go somewhere else, and everything would be fine.

Riggins: Right.

John Haley: I was there six months and they said, okay, put on your uniforms. Come out of civilian clothes and put on your uniforms. So.

Riggins: Um hm. Tells you something right there.

John Haley: Yeah. A little bit. That meant that the United States had decided to overtly expand its military by the assistance group beyond the set number that was specified in the Geneva Accords. And you just begin to expand, expand, expand, expand.

Riggins: So you could see how. I mean, that was your first time. How long were you there that first?

John Haley: The first time would be a year.

Riggins: A year. You came back to Virginia at that time?

John Haley: No. I came back to, gosh, to Fort Dix, New Jersey. And I was told I would be there for three years and I threatened to resign. So.

Riggins: Why is that?

John Haley: Because I did not want to be in Fort Dix, New Jersey.

Riggins: Why?

John Haley: With trainees. You know, there was a basic training and advance infantry training, and I just did not want to be there. That was not me.

Riggins: Were you in charge of training or something, or were you supposed to?

John Haley: I just did not want to mess with basic trainees. They have lots and lots of problems. And, you know, many of them were, just thought that they could evade their duties and put in the time and then leave. But anyway, I said I would resign. I would just leave. So I was sent to the Defense Language Institute in Monterey, to study Korean for a year, which was a nice assignment.

Riggins: Not as many trainees.

John Haley: No trainees. No- no trainees there. You know, trainees, there is nothing with them. Somebody has to do it, but you are basically a den mother for a bunch of people who think they are smarter than you are, you know, in the sense that they think they can get over and evade their duties. And even though it is not as bad then as it is now, the Army had made a decision that trainees had rights, which meant, you know.

Riggins: Even though you did not have any rights back when you enlisted. You are enlisted, right?

John Haley: No.

Riggins: Oh, you were drafted?

John Haley: No. I went in as a commissioned officer.

Riggins: Oh, you went in as an officer.

John Haley: Um hm.

Riggins: Oh, okay.

John Haley: That is this ROTC that was telling me that I had to go in.

Riggins: Right. Okay. Right. You had your college degree.

John Haley: Right.

Riggins: Right. Okay. So you went in as an officer and you had your agreement to do your several years.

John Haley: Two years, right.

Riggins: Okay. So you the Army recognized that trainees had rights and that was problems for the officers.

John Haley: Well, you know, that was just not a good place for me. So I wound up in California.

Riggins: And that was a nice area. Had you ever been out there before?

John Haley: Only to visit.

Riggins: Yeah. Yes.

John Haley: But I spent a year and two months on Monterey peninsula studying Korean.

Riggins: And how did you like that, learning the language?

John Haley: It was interesting. It is a concocted language, you know. All the rules and everything was decided on by a group of scholars who put it together, and said, okay, let's come up with a formalized structure for a language. And you have to know some Chinese characters, and many of the modern technical words were just Romanized. They were phonetically spelled English words. But I enjoyed it, and I was the top grad in the whole school.

Riggins: You finished with a graduate certificate or some kind of diploma from the Monterey Institute?

John Haley: The Defense Language Institute.

Riggins: The Defense Language Institute. Okay. What did you do after that?

John Haley: After that I went to Korea.

Riggins: Ah ha. And this was in the mid-'60s?

John Haley: This was, let's see. I graduated in August of '64, and October of '64 I was in Korea.

Riggins: Okay.

(crew talk)

Riggins: I was going to try and ask you about your second overseas deployment, and that was when you went to Korea.

John Haley: Okay. That was my third one, actually.

Riggins: Oh, that was your third one.

John Haley: My first overseas deployment was actually in Panama.

Riggins: Oh.

John Haley: And that is what sold me on the military.

Riggins: Really?

John Haley: Yeah.

Riggins: So that was soon after you...

John Haley: Graduated from college.

Riggins: Okay. And what were you doing there?

John Haley: Well, I was teaching in the United States Jungle Warfare Operation Center. And at first I was assigned to a regular infantry unit, and then for some reason they decided to take all the bachelors and put us out in the jungle. So we all went to- there was 21 lieutenants assigned to the Jungle Operations Center, which was sort of a new school starting up. And 19 of those lieutenants were West Point graduates, and two of us were not. But that was the main spot in the United States Army that trained people in jungle operations. So I wound up there until they ran me home. Four years later they said, "Get out. You have been overseas too long."

Riggins: Really. Someone is going to miss you.

John Haley: And, you know, that was the end. Certainly we had traveled onto Nicaragua and Costa Rica and Columbia. But mainly I was at the Jungle Operation Center as an instructor and later as the detachment commander. So. Yeah. It was sort of a hard job, but it got me familiarized with the jungle. I just feel at home in the jungle and had no qualms when I got to Viet Nam about being in the jungle. And also when I was not teaching or in the jungle, I just loved the culture and the lifestyle of Anglo-Panamanians.

Riggins: Wow. Okay. So you got to just learn about that culture, meet people, etc.

John Haley: Um hm. So from there I came back. I left Panama and went to Fort Bragg. And then there we go from Fort Bragg to Viet Nam the first time, to Fort Dix, to Monterey, and then I was in Korea as the Senior Advisor to the Korean Special Forces. And I was there about four months, well from October to January, and suddenly ordered to get my rucksack together and go to Viet Nam.

Riggins: Yeah, suddenly.

John Haley: Because just about every detachment commander, every team, had been shot up and here I was, you know, doing ski training in Korea the week before Christmas and then by New Year's, the day after New Year's, I was.

Riggins: Ski training.

John Haley: By the day after New Year's I was in Viet Nam in a camp out on the Laotian border, doing border surveillance supposedly.

Riggins: Did you come from a military background? Were your family?

John Haley: Un uh.

Riggins: No. Not at all.

John Haley: Un uh.

Riggins: Nothing. How did you find being in the service? People you were teaching, training, were from all over the United States. What did you like about? What didn't you like about it?

John Haley: Well, what I liked was I had a captive audience. And it was a structured environment. It was a disciplined environment. Mainly I taught from what was called approved lesson plans. Every lesson plan that I wrote somebody had to approve it. I was teaching theory and then later on the application of theory to practice. And often in training you would go on field exercises. When I was training Vietnamese, their end of training was the actual thing, and we went with them. So they didn't learn it right, we didn't teach it right, then we suffered part of the consequences of it. But the military profession is, you know, fighting is just a very- combat is a very, very small part of it. The largest part of it is training. And that is the reason why I suspect some of your best teachers are former military people, and not individuals who have gone through approved teacher education program, because they seem not to ever know what it is they want to do and how to teach.

Riggins: How to teach. How to motivate people.

John Haley: Yeah.

Riggins: Since you were always an officer, I suppose some of the people you were teaching were also officers.

John Haley: Some were officers. Some were enlisted. Many were allied persons, allied officers, allied enlisted people. Some were from the deep, segregated South when I first started teaching. I used to teach at Fort Bragg in the summers, you know, when these reserves and National Guard would come for training. They would come from--

Riggins: They all had to take your course.

John Haley: Yeah. They would come from West Virginia, Alabama, Utah. And I was teaching demolitions.

Riggins: I'm sorry. You were teaching what?

John Haley: One of the things, demolitions, explosives, demolitions. And one thing I told them, you know, I don't want you to go blow up anything with this knowledge that you have learned. But in all training situations, just about all training situations of that nature, you had a group of non-commissioned officers and officers who were responsible for the rest of them. And you had a body of knowledge to teach, and they hopefully learned it.

Riggins: So you were teaching a wide variety of subjects.

John Haley: Um hm.

Riggins: But military history was always sort of a theme in your...

John Haley: Well, when I was with the ROTC, I formally taught military history, basically in a classroom setting with cadets. And it was just like college. It was just another college class, except most of them were cadets. Others could take it as an elective. And we had the same textbooks, same grading scale, everything. I taught military history here when they had an ROTC program. I taught the first military history courses, think, some of the first military history courses here.

(crew talk)

Riggins: The first deployment overseas was in Panama, and then you went to Viet Nam, then Korea, and then they sent you to, you are having too much ski training.

John Haley: We were doing ski training, and we had to go back to Viet Nam. And, of course, this time I was only there for three months, because this was '65 was the big NVA build up. And most of the Special Forces camps in I-Corp and II-Corp along the Laotian border had been attacked and they just needed a commander. So I did not have a detachment. I left my detachment back in Korea, and I got on an airplane and went to Okinawa first, and got my jungle gear, and from there to Viet Nam. And that camp, eventually, that was sort of a border surveillance camp. And we had a nice, long, sophisticated runway that we over-flew the Laotian border and also sent patrols up and down, allegedly the Ho Chi Minh Trail. In March, a detachment I was with was sort of ambushed and that tour was cut short. I came back in March. I had a little wound, too. It was nothing, you know, that was extremely life-threatening or anything. So I left and went from there to- did not go back to Korea, but I went to Okinawa, and from Okinawa I would go to Korea quite, quite frequently because I was the unconventional warfare planner for contingency plans for Korea. So whenever they needed the plans, they needed updating or exercising, I would go, and mainly because I was a very good linguist. People laughed at me. The Koreans laughed at me the first time I started talking to them. They told me I talked like a North Korean woman.

Riggins: What is that? What did they mean by that?

John Haley: Well, my, you know--

Riggins: Being polite?

John Haley: In Monterey, each--

Riggins: Is that like saying the Queen's English or something?

John Haley: No. When I was in Monterey we, you know, most of the classes that you had like three instructors for eight or nine people in groups. And two of my instructors were North Korean women. So I just managed to pick up their mannerisms. There are infixes and suffixes that you could mix up with stem words in Korean that will tell you whether or not you are talking like a woman.

Riggins: Oh, I see. How funny. That is great. They were just...

John Haley: So it did not take long to change. Did not take long to change that by, you know, hanging out with the troops and the enlisted people and stuff . It didn't take long to train them. So I left Okinawa, and I had a A-Team detachment, and a B detachment. And I was also the planner up in Korea. But I left there in '67 and went to Norfolk State.

Riggins: And that is when you first pursued your graduate?

John Haley: Yeah, well, yeah. Since there was a graduate school not that far away, Old Dominion had just become Old Dominion University. Then it used to be the Norfolk campus of William and Mary.

Riggins: Oh, really?

John Haley: And they started a grad. They had a grad program in history, so I enrolled in addition to doing my other duties. And it was an interesting time of being on a college campus. I was there '68. I was there when King was assassinated, and Bobby Kennedy was assassinated. I was there for the Orangeburg massacre in South Carolina. And I saw frustrated students, you know, who really did not know how to confront or respond to national events. This was a time when Black Power was rampant on campuses, anti-war movements, student youth movements, and I remember the lacmooses [ph?]. I would not say that I was radicalized by them, but I clearly understood their points of view. Well, King was assassinated on the 4th. Three days later I had my ROTC Ball, and they wanted me- the administration wanted me to cancel my ROTC Ball, and I said I would not, that the cadets had spent all their money and I was going to let them decide. They decided they wanted to have their Ball. Somebody had planted a bomb in the- allegedly planted a bomb and broke up my Ball. And shortly thereafter I make a trip to the Pentagon, and say where can I go? I want to go away from this place. They said, "Well, you can always go to Viet Nam." I said, "Fine. I'll take it."

Riggins: Ah, really?

John Haley: Really.

Riggins: So with the ROTC at Norfolk State you were the...

John Haley: Professor of Military Science.

Riggins: Professor of Military Science.

John Haley: And the officer in charge of the detachment.

Riggins: Of the cadets. Yeah. So it sounds like--

John Haley: And I had cadets.

Riggins: You were their advocate, I guess, too.

John Haley: Yeah. Well, I had cadets from three schools. Old Dominion did not have an ROTC department, so students from Old Dominion could cross-enroll at Norfolk State, and Virginia Wesleyan, which is in Virginia Beach, did not have an ROTC department. So I had students from those three places, the largest ROTC in the State of Virginia.

Riggins: And you felt it was just unsafe?

John Haley: Well, it was not unsafe. It is just that I had real weapons, you know, that my rifle T [ph?]. They were only 22's but, you know. I had military uniforms. I had military equipment, and I asked the administration what plans did they have to secure it. And they did not have any plans. So I made some plans of my own. Then I got lectures about university autonomy and all that stuff. And I just decided, you know, that I would be more comfortable off their campus. And before I made my final deal to go back to Viet Nam, I had secured a commitment that I happened to put in writing and put in my file, that at the end of that I would get a year off to complete my degree, my master's. So I left.

Riggins: So you had to leave.

John Haley: Yeah. I left went back to Viet Nam.

Riggins: Three tours in Viet Nam. That is what I have counted so far.

John Haley: Um hm.

Riggins: Yeah. In the same area. So you went back.

John Haley: Same area.

Riggins: And how was this different than the previous last time?

John Haley: Well, this time I went back and I worked with a civil affairs group, which mainly supported the operations of State Department and United States agents with international development, the group called CORDS. The CORDS was Civil Operations and Revolutionary Development Support. And I had teams or detachments all over I-CORP working in public administration, in agriculture, in economics, in public safety. BIC program that I had was refugee resettlement. As a matter of fact, I am probably one of the few people that has ever been to Viet Nam that has a social services medal from the government of South Viet Nam.

Riggins: Really.

John Haley: And it was mainly for resettling refugees.

Riggins: The Vietnamese refugees from outside the country?

John Haley: Where were they from?

Riggins: Or where did they resettle?

John Haley: Well, this was taking them out of refugee camps in detention centers and putting them in, sometimes satellited them on other villages or hamlets, and sometimes starting new ones. But some of those people had been refugees from North Viet Nam in '54. Then they were refugees from various U.S. military operations. Some were identified as VC suspects. They had no way to prove they were not. And it was over a million refugees in I-CORP. So we just decided to resettle them in various locations so they could build permanent homes, and often their homes were torn down or destroyed or burned by the NVA or the Viet Cong, and they had to do it all over again. But at least they were not in camps.

Riggins: Alright. Wow. That was a completely different.

John Haley: It was different. It was a different thing. But it was supposedly, you know, the heart of the pacification program.

Riggins: This was after...

John Haley: This was the year after Tet. This was the year after Tet, which was particularly devastating in I-CORP.

Riggins: And I-CORP is?

John Haley: That was the five northern provinces, and the big cities there were Quang Tri, Hue, and Da Nang. And Hue was almost totally destroyed during Tet.

Riggins: Speaking from someone who doesn't know much, but that could be a potential viewer or a student, Hanoi was.

John Haley: Hanoi was the capital of North Viet Nam.

Riggins: Well, of course, it was renamed, I guess later on. But did that get bombed at one point?

John Haley: Hanoi was bombed. As a matter of fact, North Viet Nam had more bombs dropped on them than supposedly in all of World War II. But bombing can wreak damage on people, strategic bombing. But it also has, you know, the risk of strengthening resolve.

Riggins: Of what?

John Haley: Strengthening the peoples' resolve to resist. And sometimes when you have an opponent that is not economically sophisticated, is not totally urbanized, that has no great infrastructure, then you have more bombs than you have lucrative or real targets to use them on. And always there is this misconception that you can bomb people into submission. But the reality is in the end someone has to be on the ground to make the survivors of your bombing think and act the way you want them to think and act, which is the real object of war. So the bombing, you know, it was probably good for the defense industry, and maybe the ego of a few pilots. But it just- it did not stop the influx of equipment and manpower, and it did not stop the North Vietnamese from reproducing. And they were reproducing at rates equal to or better than our killing rates. And they had an ideology that sustained them through the war.

Riggins: Interesting. Yeah.

John Haley: They were going to build a nation, and this is their home, and we will have a stake in the outcome. We want to be nationalists, but if being Communist is the only way to achieve nationhood, we will take it. And now the United States is dealing with a Communist country, investing money, having cultural exchanges, and I think we have diplomatic relations with them now.

Riggins: Um hm. Yeah. That is fascinating.

John Haley: So that is the irony of Viet Nam.

Riggins: Right, right. They got what they wanted in the end. So you are there a year after Tet.

John Haley: Um hm.

Riggins: Expansion of the war into Cambodia that occurred...

John Haley: In '71, yeah.

Riggins: Yeah, something like that, yeah.

John Haley: '70, '71.

Riggins: You are encountering, and you talked to people, high-ranking people, I suppose. How did you learn these things about how people were invested in their own nationhood and things like that, just by talking to them?

John Haley: Well, you could talk to them. And one of the things, you know, they had the psychological operations, psychological warfare. You began to try to see what it was that made the North Vietnamese, and even the Viet Cong, suffer real personal hardships and privations in pursuit of an idea. And sometimes, you know, you could look at what they would carry with them. Everything that they owned would carry around their neck. And they were sustained by an idea, which is the hardest thing to stamp out. Now, a lot of it, I guess, my analysis now is much more sophisticated. I did say in '65 that none of those camps in I-CORP would ever hold up. If the NVA wanted them or the VC wanted, they could get every one. And every one of them did, in fact, go down. But I do not know where that action report is of mine. They probably did not pay any attention to it. But as a result of, you know, academic courses, intense reading, discussions, I went to military history seminars at West Point, I could apply a level of analysis to what I had been doing. Because to be honest, I never, ever thought the U.S. would walk out of there a loser.

Riggins: Really.

John Haley: That, some way, they would put something up their sleeve or just decide, well, we are going to chip Viet Nam off the Asian continent, which is extreme.

Riggins: Destroy it to death.

John Haley: Yeah. But, you know.

Riggins: Wow.

John Haley: I never thought that that was going to. It would end the way it ended.

Riggins: Was your perception maybe not seeing what was happening at home until it happened? The U.S. had never seen anything like that, the response at home, had they?

John Haley: The anti-war stuff?

Riggins: Um hm. Did that have something to do with it, do you think?

John Haley: Did it have something to do with the outcome of the war?

Riggins: Yeah.

John Haley: Yes. Uh huh. Because your armies are sustained by the home front.

Riggins: Right, in a democracy.

John Haley: And in the United States then we had, I do not think we had a politicized military. You know, the military was responsive to civilian, civilian control. And I think that the influence of the business community, intellectuals, youth, because we did have a draft up until 1973. I think we did have a draft. All those things converged and even the politicians saw that the war was actually undermining the United States here at home. As Ho Chi Minh said, you know, the war will be won in the streets of America. He and Giap said it would not be won on the battlefields of Viet Nam. And that is what happened.

(crew talk)

Riggins: Okay, we're back. This is Tape 2 on August 14, 2006. My name is Adina Riggins, university archivist, and I'm here with Dr. John Haley. And we're picking up from where we left off on Tape 1. We're talking about your last tour in Vietnam, and that was your last overseas deployment?

John Haley: Yes.

Riggins: And how long were you there that time?

John Haley: A year.

Riggins: And you preferred it to the college administrators back in Norfolk State.

John Haley: I was more comfortable there, yes.

Riggins: More comfortable with the politics and the operations, is that right?

John Haley: I was more comfortable in Southeast Asia, than I was on the campus at Norfolk State.

Riggins: And we have that on record.

John Haley: Okay.

Riggins: How is that you ended up going back for a year, did you say you've been here too long again, or...?

John Haley: How was it I went back where?

Riggins: How did you end up going back to the United States after being there a year?

John Haley: Well, a year, it was my time to-- remember, I had a year to complete my degree, so I actually had a draft of a thesis that I had done in bits and pieces in Vietnam and then when I came back from Vietnam, I was assigned to the JFK Center for military assistance at Fort Bragg, this was Special Operations, with a duty station in Norfolk. But in actuality I was working at home and would go to Norfolk to discuss with my professors the progress of my thesis and to get ready for my comps. And I did it. And then after that I was assigned to Fort Bragg, so I was designated to establish the office of G-5 for civil military operations, so I was the first G-5 of the JFK Center, which is general staff for civil military operations.

Riggins: So you had a year after you got back in the United States to do your thesis, and you chose to be there in Fort Bragg?

John Haley: Yes.

Riggins: And commute to-- so you felt comfortable in Fort Bragg at that point?

John Haley: Yes.

Riggins: Working there. Did you live on post?

John Haley: I lived off-post.

Riggins: Near post.

John Haley: Yeah. And after I set that office up, I was a G-5, then almost three years later I was assigned to the Psychological Operations and Civil Affairs Group which is still part of the JFK Center, and then I retired.

Riggins: What did you like about setting the office up? Was that a good assignment?

John Haley: Well, it was a very good assignment. To be honest, I don't think anybody wanted it, but it was a job, a slot within the U.S. military that had to have someone with a graduate degree and some of these slots, like West Point or teaching at the Commander General staff school, so when I walked through the halls of the JFK Center, and told them that I had just completed my degree, it was like they threw it at me. And it was important because I was basically in charge of the civil affairs and psychological operations that supported Special Forces worldwide. And that involved contingency planning and training. It wasn't that bad because at least, you know, I had an airborne slot, you know, a jump slot, and I had good NCOs, and ultimately we did establish a very good G-5.

Riggins: To support the Special ops.

John Haley: And of course you work with 18th Airborne Corps.

Riggins: So then you had your 20 years?

John Haley: Well, I went on over to the civil affairs unit. My last alert almost was probably to go to Wounded Knee, but we didn't go, we didn't go. So I retired in November of '74.

Riggins: And you didn't really know what you were going to do?

John Haley: Well, I knew one thing. It was not too much in Columbus County I wanted to do.

Riggins: What brought you to Columbus County again?

John Haley: Personal reasons.

Riggins: Okay. So you were going to-

John Haley: I was going to be a gentleman-- a gentleman do-nothing. I was going to fish and hunt and maybe garden and paint or something, but I knew there was nothing in the county that I wanted to do. I did put out some feelers, maybe about teaching, and that's when I got this drill, and in that little county, you won't believe it, teaching's a political job.

Riggins: Sure, and they said okay, you've got to do all this stuff.

John Haley: Yeah, and I said, I'm not gonna do that.

Riggins: You said, "Look, I've been teaching for 20 years, I've been in the military, I'm not going to do all that."

John Haley: Yeah, you know, that's what they said. I did pass the CTE, but I was not going to waste my time in a teacher's ed program. For what they pay teachers, I would probably wind up losing money. So after-- I didn't really wanna do anything anyway. But after I got a house built and my fish pond stocked and everything, then I said, maybe I should look for a job. So I heard there was a job opening possibly up at Bladen Technical College and I went for an interview and was hired and then the community college system had a relationship with four colleges and universities. I had to be sort of scrutinized by the history department down here, because it was almost like a free transfer, and we use the same textbooks, so I came down here and met members of the history department and I don't know whether they passed any judgment on me or not, but I ended up with a job at Bladen Tech teaching history and government; Western Civ and both parts of the U.S. survey, and United States government. So I did that for a quarter, maybe a quarter and a half, but over the Christmas holidays I was called by the chairman of the history department here, to see if I would like a job.

Riggins: Who was the chair at that time?

John Haley: Gus Craugie(ph?), Dr. Craugie. And this was during Christmas and I was supposed to start down here for the spring semester, and I had taught a half of a quarter, I had students up there, but after exploring the situation, and searching my soul, I decided that they could find somebody up there, so I resigned from Bladen Tech, and the director of instruction told me that he'd do the same thing, and came down here and started teaching survey and Western Civ. That was in January of 1976. And I liked it, you know, it was no different in content.

Riggins: In what you did at community college?

John Haley: Yeah.

Riggins: And how did you like that?

John Haley: Community college, you had a mix of all kinds of people, from little old ladies who were pillars of the community and probably couldn't find anything better to do during the day to students who could not afford probably to go to a four-year school, to some who were probably getting money just to go to school, and others were using up the GI-Bill. But there was this little core of students that were very, very good and they're the ones that succeeded. Had to go every day and some were semi-literate, who could barely write, but it was interesting. And it was not much different from what I had occasionally experienced in the military, except for the discipline part. But if you tell students what you want and what you expect out of them, they generally will cooperate. But down here, when I came down here, the level of students, academically, was a little higher, it was a lot higher.

Riggins: That was in '76.

John Haley: And the department was small. We were located on the second floor of Alderman and that way I got to meet the administrators and I found the campus to be an extremely friendly environment. It was small. But I also found out that, you know, unless you had a terminal degree, a Ph.D., you could know as much as anyone else, you just didn't have the authority, so I didn't know whether I was going to stay here or go back to school.

Riggins: Because they made it clear at that point that you wouldn't be eligible for promotion, tenure and all that?

John Haley: Actually, I was hired as an instructor. No, a lecturer. They had that position, you know, in many schools you can be a lecturer forever and ever. And it's only, well, when Dr. McLaurin came, when McLaurin came as chair he suggested that, something that I'd been thinking about, "Why don't you just go back to school?" Before that, the first summer, the summer of '76, I just said to hell with it, I had applied to go to summer school at Carolina, and I did, you know, I went to both sessions, and did extremely well, so they could not say I couldn't do Ph.D. work. And then in talking to McLaurin and with the encouragement from Dean Plyler, and Cahill and McGowan, you know, they were the big three that sort of ran the administration, I decided to go full time. They got me some financial assistance to go the spring semester of the following year, '77, and then I went the full year, and probably set some kind of a record in getting a Ph.D. Part of it I was teaching here, too, while I was doing my dissertation and getting ready for my comps. So that's how I got a doctorate and put on a tenure track.

Riggins: Do you remember when you completed it?

John Haley: I completed it in '82, but that's mainly-- well, you know, I had my dissertation already, but it was a good way to spend summers and I was also-

Riggins: In a college town?

John Haley: Yeah, and I was also, you know, getting the GI-Bill. So, I finished in '81.

Riggins: What was your area for your dissertation?

John Haley: Race relations, primarily in North Carolina and my fields of specialty were the Civil War and Reconstruction; the American South.

Riggins: What time period were you looking at for race relations history?

John Haley: The whole spectrum.

Riggins: There must have been a lot of materials at Chapel Hill. Is that where you-

John Haley: Well, there was a lot of material at Chapel Hill, but it was something that I had studied as an undergrad with someone who was probably one of the pioneers in race relations at Virginia State. And much of what he taught me, you know, it still stuck with me.

Riggins: Who was that?

John Haley: His name is James Hugo Johnston and __________ was Old Dominion, you know, I didn't get into race relations, mainly in diplomatic and Civil War; I had to take courses that would take into account my full time job. I even took a course on Louis the Eleventh. But you know, at Carolina, I had the advantage of using Carolina and Duke. The individual I researched for my dissertation, his papers were at Duke, not at Chapel Hill.

Riggins: Who was that?

John Haley: It was someone named Charles Hunter who was a slave in Raleigh in 1851 and he died in Raleigh in 1931, and he was educated. Prolific writer of letters to everybody from presidents on down, and he was a schoolteacher, and he was a journalist. But his papers were what's significant for someone of that time period. And fortunately I was probably one of the first ones to really get in there and use them currently.

Riggins: Spent a lot of time at the manuscripts library at Duke?

John Haley: Yeah, Perkins Library, yes, at the manuscript department. Nice library.

Riggins: Yes, it is. So, and I guess you had discussions with Dr. McLaurin all along about your topic?

John Haley: Not really. He was down here, I was up there.

Riggins: So you were able to have like one year full time?

John Haley: Yeah. I really don't know how many people down here actually thought I was going to finish. You know. There were people in Chapel Hill who didn't think I was going to finish. They had seen ex-military come through, hang around until the GI-Bill ran out, do an ABD and just sort of fade away. But I just had sort of a sense of obligation, plus it's something that I really, really, wanted to do. I had lots of discussions with Dr. McLaurin on race and a whole host of things, after I got my degree.

Riggins: Yeah, like you said, because you hang with these younger people-

John Haley: Well, actually when I was at Carolina, the first summer, I told you I was there in the summer, I made the stupid mistake of staying over in the graduate dorm, in the dorm. And they had grand parties and stuff like that, no one perceived of me then, you know, as being exceptionally old. Now, I would hear them-- we would discuss and they would say, "Well, were you living when Kennedy was assassinated? Good God, was I living, I was out in California. I remember. And maybe I wasn't as old-- I think when I started I was 42 or something.

Riggins: You look young now, so-

John Haley: Yeah, you know, in those days you could grow your hair long, which I never did in the military, but then I did. I never carried a backpack. I used a paper bag, a plastic bag from the student bookstore to carry my stuff in, but there were probably some graduate students there as old as I, some of them former teachers or whatever. I was as old as some of my professors.

Riggins: Did you like the history department out there?

John Haley: Yeah, it was a good history department.

Riggins: So you came back here; you said, "Hello!"

John Haley: Yeah, "I'm back."

Riggins: "You told me to get a Ph.D., so I called your bluff."

John Haley: "I'm back," and you know, I really enjoyed my early years here. and the students, they appeared to me to be more interested in doing their work; they might not have all been, and they're not all A and B students, but they worked hard, they tried hard.

Riggins: More so than in later years?

John Haley: Oh, yes. And I don't know whether-- I don't even know if they had rigid admission requirements.

Riggins: Back then, it was not as rigid probably. It was "come on."

John Haley: There's nothing wrong with that. If I could run a university, I would have just a total open door. You'll get in, but you might not get out until you learn this, this and this. But the way that students are chosen now are basically about tests. And I think grade point average and letters of recommendation are much more important than how you perform on a certain day for three or four hours in a class taking a test that you may or may not have the answers to in advance. But anyway, that is another story.

Riggins: So you're back, you're on the tenure track-

John Haley: Yeah, and I taught African American history, surveys that everybody had to teach, I taught world history, both parts of Western Civ, I taught the first courses in Asian history, we did northeast Asia and China and Japan. And comparative slavery, civil rights movement, the evolution of warfare and then I came out of the closet, I was forced out of the closet when they put an ROTC unit on campus.

Riggins: Yes, let's hear about that. I did interview Lee Sherman a long time ago. So they were going to start an ROTC.

John Haley: They were going to start an ROTC and they had, what do you call it, a satellite program that was part of Campbell, it was a branch of the ROTC at Campbell, and they had some instructors here. They taught classes over in Hoggard and they had no real space to call their own. And they had a very good group of cadets. I don't know whether it was inter-campus politics or what that caused that unit to leave. But they had some good young men and women cadets. And all of them had to take military history. We had someone who was doing military history, but he left. And then I decided that I would do military history.

Riggins: And that's when you said you had that background or...?

John Haley: Well, they knew it, I think Dr. McLaurin, he knew it, and some of the best classes I had, full classes, I used to have waiting lists, standing room only, were in it was called The American Military Experience, and then I taught The Evolution of War, warfare. The evolution of warfare was essentially a course in world history, but because I had that little one word in there, "warfare," students flocked to it and they didn't realize that what they were getting is war as a carrier of culture. And that's exactly what they got. The American military experience I taught from the colonial period through Vietnam.

Riggins: Was it an interesting mix to have the cadets and other students in the same class? Did you get some interesting discussion?

John Haley: Well, they were students, you know, they didn't wear uniforms, so you really didn't know who they were. A few of the cadets were a little more gung-ho than others, they were just, you know, interested people. And some of them have had, I think, fairly good careers in the military. But the students just liked it, probably still do.

Riggins: So that must have required a lot of preparation, teaching all this list of classes, which I suppose a lot of people had to do since it was a small department.

John Haley: Well, it was demanding and I had this notion that no student was ever going to ask me a question I didn't know the answer to, and I don't think they ever did, if it pertained to the course. Now they might ask me about something going on downtown or something and I might not know the answer. I spent a lot of time preparing for classes, reading, going to meetings, and I did that-- I wanted to know content and I just wanted to be prepared for any possible eventuality.

Riggins: How can you do that?

John Haley: Well, you know, if I looked at, I could do a syllabus and I always had notes. I might never use them, I don't think too many people can remember me teaching from notes, but I always had them. And I would just think, now, if I say this, suppose somebody would say that, you know, what we used to call in the military, war gaming. If I say this and they say that-

Riggins: Just to think ahead.

John Haley: Yeah. Or I could ask them a leading question and know that there would be four or five different responses and you'd have to have the answers. We didn't have graduate students then but that was true when I taught graduates.

Riggins: When I interviewed Sue Cody, she said what she remembers is that you had a real good way of asking a question to get somebody to think about it a little bit more and that would inform her later research. That really helped her in some of her research. You would ask questions back. I don't know if it was the Socratic method or-

John Haley: Well, maybe I did, but I would ask questions that would lead you to think, almost like the old Chinese used to have, the Confucius scholars, when they took their test, would write these so-called eight-legged essays. Where it was almost like a spider web; you could have just one question and it would go off in so many possible ways, of questioning the question and questioning your answers. But I just wanted to teach students how to think, and I never, you know, things that you could find quickly in an almanac or textbook like names and dates. There are a few names and dates that are important, but if you're within a year or two, what's the total impact? Maybe Fourth of July's okay. You should know that. But one of the things that turns students off in history is the requirement to learn a lot of names and dates, and I never gave anything but essay exams. Maybe if it was a quiz on reading something, but all my questions were essays. To see how students could analyze the questions, ask questions of the questions and see how they could respond to it. But I think the whole end of a college education is to learn how to think and how to find answers, not necessarily knowing answers to a set number of questions. And I would never infuse any of my lectures with-- you know, there were some things I just sort of stayed away-- from my personal opinions. Students say, we don't know what you think, and I'd say, it's not important what I think, it's what you think that's important. And then we'd have a little BS session, and I was always hanging around students, then they might get some notion of what I would think.

Riggins: If you taught U.S. History, would you teach the second half?

John Haley: Yeah.

Riggins: That being a big area of yours, I'm sure students-- that's a course students like even though it's required for a lot of students.

John Haley: Well, a lot of them liked it. When I first started, you know, history was a required course, Western Civ was required. And then you know, we became sort of sophisticated with a core of basic studies and various requirements that you could choose from. But I think still in all history was able to maintain its number of students and its enrollment because it was a good department, we offered a lot of different courses and we used to offer courses almost every hour of the day and sometimes at night. You could not say, "I'd like to take a history course but I can't find one to fit in my schedule." This is particularly true when McLaurin was chair, we had a lot of courses available.

Riggins: Who do you remember from those days, some of your colleagues who were influential or helpful or important to you?

John Haley: Well, I think all of them were important in my early days, all of them had something I could learn from or learn not to do. I remember Dr. Mosely, Tom Mosely, who was a good colleague. He taught Civil War. Taught Russian history. A dyed-in-the-wool Democrat. And he was someone who you could talk to and get a good common sense response from. I think we can argue about the Civil War, because I was never, I mean, I could teach battles and teach leaders, but I approached the Civil War in most of my military history courses from the standpoint of strategy, in strategic thinking and principles of war, that are applicable in most conflicts. But I don't think any battle nor any leader in and of themselves directly influenced the outcome of the Civil War, you know, it was a whole configuration of forces that ultimately led to the end of that conflict. But, you know, some people do in fact like battles and leaders and they like the minutiae of military campaigns, from who ate what, to what they had on, to who they dreamed about the night before. But that is not necessarily, you know-- it's not the determinants of the outcome of the war.

Riggins: So what do you make of all these people who are off to do Civil War reenactments?

John Haley: Well, it's an expensive hobby. And some of them work both sides. Today, they can be union and tomorrow they can be confederate, but I simply don't think war is the most noble virtue of humankind; you know, it's nothing to glorify and you give 'em a gun and put 'em in a hole and see what they'll do. You don't find, you didn't find many Civil War veterans out there re-enacting. You know, they had their reunions where they discussed probably the horrors and hardships of war, but you're not going to find anybody out there re-enacting anything.

Riggins: Re-enactments have been going on for a long time?

John Haley: Yeah, if you want the thrill of it, do the real thing. But they re-enact everything from D-Day to Morris Creek. So if it's something they want to do, some history's better than no history. Maybe, maybe, maybe, depending on the slant of it. But it's a very expensive hobby.

Riggins: Yeah, I can imagine, especially if you want to be very good, very true.

John Haley: Yeah, if you want to be very good and very true, do the real thing. There's some recruiter standing right there waiting for you. If you wanna do it, do it.

Riggins: When I interviewed Dr. McLaurin, he was talking about some of the people-- and he actually did talk about Larry Cable. Do you want to talk about him?

John Haley: Larry Cable. Let me tell you. I had done military history and it had become so popular and I didn't wanna do it anymore. Plus I had not-- I wasn't researching in the field, that was really not my main bag. So it was just like East Asia, but from the internet that was generated from the courses I had in East Asia, we managed to get a position for an Asian scholar. And time came for a military historian and I was on the search committee. Larry Cable showed up for his interview, it was in D.C. at the American Historical Association, I think it was. And he came in with a parka, knee boots, cold, long hair. The point I wanna make here is we knew, or we should have known what we were getting when we hired Larry Cable. You know, he didn't, I don't think, pull the wool over anybody's eyes. Now, I understand later on there might have been some discrepancies in transcripts-

Riggins: But you're saying because he didn't present in a conventional way, then-

John Haley: There were one or two people in the department who didn't like the way he looked. But that's bad. You can find two or three people in a department that didn't like the way anybody looked. But I don't know whether his work habits were entirely of his making. At some point someone should have said, "Listen, don't do this, otherwise you're not going to get tenured," you know, or promoted. Now, I left here. You probably know that. After about 10 years I left and went to Illinois but when I came back Cable was tenured. But his, from his personal appearance, you know, he was not professorial, I don't care about long hair, but some of the short shorts he used to wear and sort of grungy appearance and always having an assistant with him and showing videos and stuff. He had captivated a lot of students.

Riggins: Right, he had a following.

John Haley: He had a following. He got a lot of his students into graduate and doctoral programs. Somebody claimed from afar, probably came out of Texas Tech, that Larry Cable had-- was misrepresenting his military past, that he had not done the things that he claimed he had done. You know, I just talked to Cable; he knew I was in the military; I suspect he was. And I suspect that he might have been legit because he could not have known what he knew. He couldn't have gotten it secondhand. And some of the people that I knew who were in Special Ops or clandestine operations or whatever, Cable had access to them. And he had access to the international conferences-- He could talk, he could use words even if the words didn't make sense. I mean I told him knock the BS off because he didn't impress me one bit. But he could impress a lot of people and I know he wasn't well physically but I don't suspect, I would not-- I wouldn't go on the record saying he falsified his pre-employment history when he came here. If you can't find things-- I've had people look for my records, I've had a graduate student who had a lot of resources, trying to find-- there's one little spot that she cannot find about me. It doesn't mean that I didn't do it, it just means that-- and governmental agencies will say "we have no record of it." It doesn't mean you didn't do it. It just means there's no record. But Cable was-- he's-- evidently, well, let's put it this way, I got some of his students when he left and they were all right. You know, they were, in terms of-- we could argue about content and stuff, but they went on to complete their degrees. He was just one of a number of colorful characters in the department. We had some real memorable people. I remember Carol Fink (ph?), have you ever heard of her?

Riggins: Yes.

John Haley: She was just a delightful colleague and she was a real mentor to me in many, many ways. And we still are in contact, and she comes back here every year or so. I think she left the same time I came back. And we've had a lot of part-timers, most of these decent people.

Riggins: How did you find working in the university setting after having a career in the military? Very different bureaucracies, I would think?

John Haley: Very different bureaucracies.

Riggins: Did you ever have any conversations with any of the other professors who were in the military?

John Haley: I think I talked to Mosely, I think Mosely might have been in the Air Force, an enlisted person in the Air Force. That was the only one- old __________ might have. But the rest of them didn't. I think the younger group, they were in college during Vietnam or as Cheney said, had other things on their agenda. But by and large, they were all right colleagues, but in the early days, you know, what I had learned, and it was almost just part of my existence in the military, was there was a sense of honor. If you told someone something, you could be sure it was going to happen. If someone promised you something Tuesday at 11 o'clock, you'd have it by Tuesday at 11 o'clock. That's noticeably lacking, I think, in academia. There's a hell of a lot of-- pardon me, I've got to get rid of this-- there's a lot of careerism, and more so when I came back from Illinois. I saw it where individuals did not necessarily concern themselves with the good of the department, the good of the university, good of students, but with advancing their own agendas and advancing their own careers and putting little lines on vitas or resumes.

Riggins: And they were perhaps a little less interested in mentoring. I'm not saying specifically your department, but if you're just thinking about your career and getting ahead, you may not be as available for mentoring other faculty or--

John Haley: Well, that's true; I never thought about a career, getting ahead. I had done a career. Here was something, I'm not saying it was a fun thing to do-- I enjoyed it and I thought it was doing good stuff, for students, you know, and I served on a lot of committees. People wanted to know why did you serve on all these committees, and-- there wasn't a committee on this campus, I don't think, that I didn't serve on at one point in time, and the reason was that when I came here it might have been-- I might have been the first tenured track black, I don't know, there might have been one or two before me, but they were part-timers or whatever, but I thought that there was a point of view that should be represented, you know, and it was the point of view of African Americans; it should not diverge academically from anything else, but because of the history of this institution and where it came from, and the old timers who had been here with their notions and dispositions, they might not always have acted in the best interest of African Americans or even increasing the African American faculty staff and students. So I served on every possible committee you have around here if no more than to influence people's thinking by my presence. And by doing that I've made a lot of connections all over this campus and met a heck of a lot of good people.

Riggins: Right, especially starting in '76, it was much smaller, so-

John Haley: It was much smaller. You knew everybody-

Riggins: But then as time went on, and you served on all these committees, you continued to know everybody, I guess.

John Haley: As the time progressed, you got more people, more layers of bureaucracy and bureaucracies on top of bureaucracies. If some manpower survey came to this campus, they could probably eliminate 25 percent of the jobs here. If somebody asked me what do you do and how does it influence the overall operation of this campus, and who pays for it.

Riggins: Scary.

John Haley: No, and the bureaucracy expands at the expense of the faculty, it really does, and faculty resources, not understanding that, you know, you take the faculty out, you don't have a university. You can leave the bureaucracy and turn it into a satellite of GE. But yet, somehow or another, the faculty was-- I thought was the least supported and the least paid.

Riggins: That is a legacy that they're continuing to deal with.

John Haley: I guess somehow or another, you know, if you can put an organization chart and say I've got offices of this thing and that thing and the other, it makes it look like you're doing progress.

Riggins: You were involved in the 1898 commemoration?

John Haley: Yes, I was.

Riggins: Were you the chair? I know the 1898 foundation, were you the chair at one point?

John Haley: No, I was never the chair of anything. You know, as I said, I'm not a bureaucrat, but I was with that group from the beginning and I honestly believe that it may be the stimulus for revisiting 1898 and the way it was came probably from this campus, with McLaurin and myself and we knew people in archives and history, in Raleigh, and ultimately we decided you know, we assembled a nice big conference at the centennial. And before the centennial commemoration, people had to be psychologically prepped for this thing so as early as I think '95, '96, we started on this with a series of--

Riggins: Psychologically, you mean with the people in the community?

John Haley: In the community, yeah. And you know, to bring this thing out into the open, something happened and we're going to discuss it, and it's going to happen whether you like it or not. Ultimately, I guess the chancellor agreed to support it and then it became a major, major event. The conference here, people are still talking about the conference. There was a two-day conference here.

Riggins: Scholars from all over-

John Haley: Yes, you know-

Riggins: Were you involved in setting up that academic conference?

John Haley: Locally, here, but more involved in helping to psychologically prepare this community. I did lectures all over this place.

Riggins: All over Wilmington and-

John Haley: Mm-mm, and some in archives and history. And other spots. And I made a contribution to this book, Democracy Betrayed, that came out with it and I was active even though I was not the chair, I was active in the 1898-- first we called it a commission and then we changed it to a foundation, downtown, the one that Sue worked in. Did good work. And then when it was, let's see I left town for some reason. I moved to __________ Marina for a couple of years but I was still active in this thing, except I couldn't go to all these meetings and whatever, but when the commemoration was over, you know, 1898 passed, then the foundation sort of stayed intact and I was not active in the foundation. I was for it and everything, but I was not in these community conversations and I was not active in the monument that I understand is in the throes of getting ready to start construction on.

Riggins: You chose to just-- you had done your portion and...?

John Haley: Well, my interest is mainly as a historian and on the 1898 commission, the state commission, I was the historian on that commission, and we just submitted our report in May, a big fat document.

Riggins: So you're the-- the department of archives and history, their study of 1989, so you're the historian?

John Haley: Well, I was the governor's appointee. The governor appointed the historian. One of the people on that commission had to be a professional historian, so-

Riggins: So that's been keeping you busy.

John Haley: It was, but you know, it's not-- anyone who reads the report, it's nothing to-- it's been a symbol, the information has been validated, but like any other historic document, you know, it's not the end and all of 1898. But the commission and particularly LeRae, we looked at every possible lead that we could find, and there is a report there and you might contest the interpretation of events, but you cannot contest the fact that the events occurred. And that certain individuals in concert said what it was they were going to do and they did it. Or as I said previously, they did it and they bragged about it. So that's good solid evidence. And I might have been the first, I'm not going to say that I'm the first, but I know, I taught students that had never heard of this event, who grew up in this town. I taught students who are direct descendants of the instigators of these events. These were good students, honest, they had-- they swore they'd never heard of it.

Riggins: They'd never heard of it. So not pro or con, just-

John Haley: Never heard of it. So I don't know whether there was a conspiracy of silence in this town, but it was something that nobody wanted to talk about.

Riggins: That was a big issue that you had to face in the commemoration, was opening up the discussion.

John Haley: Yeah, and you know, I think it was good for this community that it happened. There's some people who are unconvinced and who will never change their way of thinking, which is okay with me, too, as long as they don't want to try to use some sources of public power to force that on other people.

Riggins: Do you still have a Cape Fear Museum committee meeting today?

John Haley: No, that's on Wednesday. You know, once we decided. I think originally we were going to interview on Wednesday.

Riggins: Well, you're back on the board, and you'd been a member of the Cape Fear Museum board when there was that issue with the flag.

John Haley: How do you know that?

Riggins: I read the newspapers. So now, you're back on it. How's the museum doing?

John Haley: Well, the museum is fine. It's an asset to this community; it has an extremely professional staff. It's probably one of the best museums of its size in the nation. It's accredited and the new board now is an advisory board whereas it used to be a board of trustees.

Riggins: Like more of a management-

John Haley: Well, if you had people on that board, trustees on that board, who thought they should manage, then I think that they might have had some powers to do that since as a trustee they could essentially do any and everything they want.

Riggins: So it's different.

John Haley: It's different now.

Riggins: They invited you back and you said-

John Haley: Why am I back?

Riggins: They invited you back.

John Haley: Well, I resigned from the board, no, I didn't resign. I had been on the board in the past and completed one term and then I told you I left and moved out of the county, I had to resign, and then when I came back, I went back on the board and completed one term, and just chose not to reapply for a second term because of the composition of the old board. And now it's a good board.

Riggins: Well, we're-- we just have a few minutes left here on this tape. So I'll close it in just a moment. Thank you for coming. I don't feel like we finished.

John Haley: Well, you know, what is missing is a lot about me and not much about the university.

Riggins: That's all right.

John Haley: About the point-- I've seen this place grow, you know, and most of it's for the better. The physical, it's expanded a little bit, I don't like the looks of the addition to the university union. It looks very much out of place, but-

Riggins: You mean- you've seen the façade, I guess.

John Haley: It's that rotunda looking thing, it looks like somebody tried to do something reminiscent of UVA and it just didn't come out right, but it does not look good. I think the most positive thing that I've seen is the commitment to diversity, and when I say diversity, it's through increasing the participation of African Americans in the faculty and staff and the student body. It was just something that had been noticeably lacking for most of the time I was here, and I guess it just was not, I don't know if it was a failure of leadership or just was not a priority. But I think that's changed now. The university's much more involved in lots of other things-

Riggins: When did that start evolving, that change in outlook? Or I guess increasing diversity, involvement with the community, you saw that when Dr. _________ was a leader, or something?

John Haley: I think the genesis might have happened then, the genesis, well, you go all the way back to Dr. Wagoner and you know the years that the university was under consent decree, where it had to do it, but I think between the time of the consent decree and the current chancellor there was a lapse.

Riggins: The consent decree for integration, you mean?

John Haley: Well, it was the whole university system was under consent decree and it had to do with integration.

Riggins: Right. Well, when they opened on this new campus it was integrated in '61, but they pretty much, Dr. Heaton (ph?) had an agreement with some of the other leaders that okay, we won't sue as long as when you open the new campus, it's integrated. So they gave them a little lead time.

John Haley: I didn't know, I thought at one time, I thought okay, that might be it, because when I came it was-- it was integrated, and I think there was much more, seriously, of a dialogue and a spirit of collegiality among students. You know, Westside Hall is where you could find everybody, it was the dining hall, and you just came in and out, in and out, but I don't know, maybe it was just the small number of blacks, but it seems the students got along a heck of a lot better.

Riggins: That's an interesting comment. If we could just- could I put in another tape and get just a few more of your reflections?

John Haley: Okay, all right.

Riggins: Adina Riggins and I'm here with some completing thoughts from Dr. Haley about your time here and just all the changes that you saw. You were mentioning, at the end of the second tape, you just knew you could kind of find anyone over in Westside Hall, that was the cafeteria at the time...

John Haley: Yeah.

Riggins: ...faculty, students.

John Haley: You could find them there. And as far as diversity, I guess we'll call it that now. Used to be (inaudible) whatever. Ralph Baca worked very hard to increase diversity, to get resources. When I came, I think Ralph might've been the dean _______?

Riggins: Yeah, he did have (inaudible). He was assistant director admissions, and he was director of admissions.

John Haley: Always, I think, one of his prime jobs was to look out for the welfare of African American students and to increase the enrollment of African American students. If I had to point my finger at any one person who really tirelessly worked toward this goal, it was Ralph. And he was supported in his efforts overtly and probably in some instances maybe quietly by many people in the administration. Ralph did not have much of a budget, but somehow or another people would assist him.

Riggins: He was able to bring it.

John Haley: Yeah, somehow or another, if he had a goal or something, his contacts would get him...

Riggins: Wow.

John Haley: ...through it.

Riggins: And when he left, that must've made an impact.

John Haley: Yeah, (inaudible). By then, you know, we had the African American Center that used to be called Minority Affairs. Ralph did everything up there you can think of, from praying with students to counseling them. I don't know whether he transported them. He was part administrator, part father figure, part whatever. And it was a great loss. He left by his own choice. This campus, at one time, probably had the smallest enrollment of African Americans in the whole system. Considering its geographic location, that's hard to explain. Considering it's Wilmington. Well, a lot of people don't know about Wilmington, you know, people in New Jersey or in Durham, high school kids when they choose universities they don't know about. But I don't know whether this school actively told me but a few years ago. I can tell you, for example, my own son, who did very well on the SATs, was sent letters. You know how they send letters from everybody you can think of. But not one scribbled from UNCW. And some other parents have told me the same thing. Their children who had met the admission requirements, and no one from the school made an attempt to recruit them. So, you know, I sort of wonder where your ethics really are. And this old excuse that used to be in the past, "Well, we would hire more black faculty, but we can't find them." (inaudible) look. If everything else is market-driven, then why not pay black faculty, if you got to pay, allegedly, an econ. professor X number of dollars more than a history professor?

Riggins: Right, for example, yeah.

John Haley: And the object is supply and demand. Well, that certainly holds true in the case (inaudible) faculty and students. You have to go find students. And if you want them, you have to do what other schools do to get them. And you're going to have to have a congenial environment. That tends to nurture education. And maybe it's going to change (inaudible) lot of the old faculty. But some of the young ones are worse. But I think that if the head tells the body what is expected from them, this old business of academic freedom and tenure won't necessarily hold water as an excuse for inactivity. "You can't tell me what to teach in my class. You can't tell me that I need to be more sensitive, because I have...

Riggins: ...tenure.

John Haley: ...tenure. I have academic freedom." Well, you can fire people. If that's a priority, you can darn sure do it.

Riggins: Uh-huh, uh-huh, right. You've seen that happen.

John Haley: Yes, I seen it happen. And I left here, and I moved to a university that was located in a county that was 99.9 percent white. And there was more diversity on that campus than there ever was here, because that was the priority of the president.

Riggins: It came from the top, yeah...

John Haley: Uh-huh.

Riggins: ...yeah. What campus was that?

John Haley: This was the campus of Eastern Illinois University that's located nowhere.

Riggins: Yeah, right, right, wow. Well, did you see some of the evolution, here, at UNCW? I guess there were these studies on diversity recently. They made them after you retired. Chancellor ________ started it when it became apparent to him the ________ were way down.

John Haley: Well, I wonder if you do a study like that when you're leaving, or should you have done it when you came? Because the problem obviously was here, problems, everything else, that was studied, the bottom of the barrel. I have not seen or read that report. But I will almost bet you that there's nothing in it that had not been previously discussed or set forth somewhere on this campus. I'd almost bet it's not. You know, some of the same people, who allegedly were chosen to implement the study ________. So what makes you think that they have an idea now that they didn't have then? Except maybe somebody now is saying, "Okay. We're going to back you in this," where in the past you just had to roll with it.

Riggins: You retired in 2001? Does that sound right?

John Haley: 2001, 2002, somewhere around that.

Riggins: Okay. I can look into that. You've been enjoying it very much sounds like?

John Haley: I certainly have.

Riggins: This time, you're retired for real?

John Haley: Yes. I didn't do a phase retirement. I just woke up and said, "This is it. I'm tired of committee meetings. I'm tired of peer evaluations." _______ military. Some point, I should've been able to get over but your boss always knew what you were doing. And I just could not understand why, at the end of every semester, I'd have to write a piece of paper to tell the boss what I was doing. You know, if they were doing their jobs, they should know what I'm doing. Who cares what you think about me as long as I'm not doing anything criminal or affecting your well-being? Some of the most insidious things you could ever put in an institution is merit money...

Riggins: _______?

John Haley: ...and peer evaluations.

Riggins: (inaudible).

John Haley: Peer evaluations is nothing more than an attempt to stack the deck so you'll come out good. The way you do that, you elevate yourself by putting everybody else down. They're nowhere near objective. And psychologically, you can't be objective if you know that, ultimately, as I go around and rate people, this is one aspect I'm going to get some merit money.

Riggins: In the academic departments, does everyone rate everyone else?

John Haley: Yeah.

Riggins: Oh. And you rate yourself, too?

John Haley: Yeah, then you get student evaluations. I don't mind students evaluating me. As a matter of fact, I love students. But I would like for them to come to class, to be able to read and understand.

Riggins: What about faculty senate?

John Haley: Yes, I've been in the faculty senate.

Riggins: Oh, was that enjoyable?

John Haley: It was enjoyable in the early days. I was a senator. In the early days, I used to call it our monthly therapy because we would go and complain. Really, not much would happen. I think, by stature, I don't know, that the chancellor can serve on any committee. We had grand schemes, and this is early days, lot of posturing, some major battles. If you had to ask what was the most important thing, during the time I was on the senate, it was developing the basic studies program, which was a real ________ fight. Because every department had some turf it wanted to protect or not lose. I think eventually, the senators who were in the senate, when I came, many of them went on to become administrative. But they sort of became the core of the senior states.

Riggins: Interesting. (inaudible).

John Haley: Yeah.

Riggins: Like you said, you had some battles to fight. Did you say the chancellor could be on any committee?

John Haley: I thought somebody said that, "By stature, they can sit on any committee," or something. So sometimes, you know, if we had (inaudible) interesting subject on a discussion, the chancellor would come.

Riggins: Just show up.

John Haley: (inaudible) would come. You know, he'd be very nice, throw a bucket of water on it, nip it in the bud.

Riggins: I guess there were some issues with democratizing the university at that point, giving faculty more control.

John Haley: They were trying to. We were in the process of growing. We used to have faculty meeting where the whole faculty would assemble in King Hall. We'd try to actually work out things in faculty meetings.

Riggins: Uh-huh, with everybody.

John Haley: Yeah, but it didn't work.

Riggins: Got too big?

John Haley: Yes, it did. You know, you could look forward to the monthly senate meetings...

Riggins: Yeah, instead.

John Haley: ...our therapy group, therapy sessions.

Riggins: Thank you for your memories. This has been very informative and helpful to us. Thank you for coming.

John Haley: Okay.

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