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Office of Vice President and
Chief of Staff
Florida Gulf Coast University
10501 FGCU Blvd S.
Fort Myers, FL. 33965-6565

Phone: (239) 590-1006
Fax:     (239) 590-1066

Press Release


FGCU Hosts Second Annual World War II Symposium; Public Invited to Hear Oral Histories

FORT MYERS, FL - The Florida Gulf Coast University Renaissance Academy, with support from McDonald Financial Group, invites the public to the second annual World War II Symposium "Courage in the First Person" 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Wednesday, March 31 in the Student Union Ballroom for an opportunity to hear history from the voices of those who made it.
     Yvonne Daley-Brusselmans - Author of the book Belgium Rendez-Vous 127 Revisited, spent the war years in Brussels, Belgium, under German occupation while her family worked for the Belgian underground. She and her family are credited with helping 130 U.S. and Allied airmen evade capture by the German Army. She is a life member of the Air Force's Escape and Evasion Society, and received the Belgian Croix de Guerre with Palm Leaf.
     Thibaut de Saint Phalle - Author of numerous books, including Saints, Sinners and Scalawags, has had a career as an international lawyer, investment banker, corporate executive and professor. He was a part of the French underground during Nazi occupation. He is currently a resident of Boca Grande, Florida.
     Brig. Gen. Robert A Duffy, USAF (ret.) -Duffy served as an armament/ordnance officer for the 92nd Fighter Squadron which saw action in Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia and transferred to the 99th Bombardment Group in Italy. His military career specializing in weapons guidance systems encompassed over 32 years. He also served as a professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the Draper Laboratory and was instrumental in the development of the Mercury and Apollo guidance systems for NASA.
     Hubert E. (Hubie) Howard, Jr.- Served in the U.S. Navy aboard the USS Enterprise from March 1941 to November 1944. At sea during the attack on Pearl Harbor, Howard was a part of 18 of the 20 major actions in the Pacific. He recorded the events of the most decorated ship of the war through a diary he kept aboard ship. A current resident of Bentley Village, Howard has lived more than 20 years in Naples as a successful business owner.
     Henry (Hank) Johnson, First Lieutenant USAAF (ret.) - Served as an airplane commander and B-17 pilot, flying 22 missions over Germany. He returned to the United States and eventually became president of the Spiegel Catalog Company before retiring.
     Walter Laidlaw - Served as a fighter pilot in the Pacific during World War II as a member of Gregory "Pappy" Boyington's famous "Black Sheep" squadron. His downing of 17 enemy aircraft has given him the distinction of being a true Flying ACE.
     Peter Thomas, Moderator - U.S. Army veteran and narrator for Court TV's "Forensic Files," the History Channel, Public Broadcasting Services and The Learning Channel. Recently, International College of Naples named him "Humanitarian of the Year."
     Nasby Wynn - Served as a pilot in the famous Tuskegee Airmen Group. Wynn recounts the true story of a group of courageous pilots who broke cultural barriers during World War II.
     Seating is limited and reservations are required. Box lunch is available for $10.
     For more information or registration, contact the Renaissance Academy at (239) 590-1095.

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