Patriotic Education Trips
In 2009, College of the Ozarks began the Patriotic Education Travel Program, designed to provide once-in-a-lifetime experiences for students and Veterans from World War II, the Cold War, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War. The program pairs College of the Ozarks students with Veterans, taking them back to the battlefields where they fought. This Program honors Veterans and helps to educate the younger generation, instilling an appreciation for the sacrifices of American servicemen and women.
The College recognizes these trips as a powerful opportunity to reinforce one of the five goals of the College: Patriotic Education. These rich educational journeys provide life-changing experiences for College of the Ozarks students, who not only learn volumes of history from its firsthand participants but grow to love and appreciate them as well. Participating students return with renewed respect for Veterans and a dramatically increased love for their country.
Travel destinations have included England, France, Belgium, The Netherlands, Luxembourg, and Germany to visit sites from D-Day, Operation Market Garden, and the Battle of the Bulge, as well as Japan, the Philippines, Guadalcanal, the Solomon Islands, and the Mariana Islands in the Pacific Theatre. A special Holocaust trip took students, Veterans, and Holocaust survivors to Germany, Poland, Austria, the Slovak Republic, and the Czech Republic. Other trips have included China, Germany, the Czech Republic, and Austria focusing on the Cold War; Korea; and, most recently, Vietnam.
Students are selected from a pool of applicants who submit essays describing their desire to learn from the Veterans. The highly competitive process has produced student-Veteran pairings who share not only experiences, but more importantly, a bond between two very different generations that is cherished by both.
Heilman American Patriots Tour 2018
March 13-25, 2018. Follow the epic story of American democracy with 24 College of the Ozarks students and 6 faculty/staff sponsors. Visit Historic Jamestown, tour some of Colonial Williamsburg’s restored historic buildings, and learn about the American Revolution in Yorktown. Travel along the famous Skyline drive for amazing views of the Shenandoah Valley. Visit the presidential estates of Jefferson’s Monticello and Washington’s Mount Vernon. Tour 8th and I Marine Barracks. View the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, World War II Memorial, and the Korean War Memorial. Visit Arlington National Cemetery. Walk the hallowed battlefields of Antietam and Gettysburg. Enjoy a visit to President Eisenhower’s home and a stay in historic downtown Gettysburg. Spend a night in Philadelphia to see the Liberty Bell and tour Independence Hall before traveling to New York City by Amtrak to visit the Statue of Liberty, Freedom Tower, 9/11 Museum and Memorial, Empire State Building, and a Broadway show.
This tour is the first of it's kind for us and is made possible by a generous gift from Dr. E. Bruce Heilman of Richmond, Virginia. Dr. Heilman served as Chancellor at the University of Richmond for many years. Having failed to pass enough courses to meet high school graduation requirements, he joined the Marine Corps during World War II following which he was educated under the GI Bill at Campbellsville College and Vanderbilt University. Dr. Heilman was born in a very small town in Kentucky, much like the towns from which College of the Ozarks students come. His background in the military and professional experience as an educator inspire his support of patriotic travel experiences for college students.
Follow along on their daily journey by visiting their travel blog: https://heilman2018.wordpress.com/
Vietnam Tour 2017
From March 18-31,2017, twelve College the Ozarks students will accompany twelve Vietnam War Veterans as they embark on a Patriotic Education trip through the country of Vietnam. Follow along with their daily adventures by visiting the following link: http://cofovietnam2017.wordpress.com.
England and France Tour 2016
Follow the cast and crew of Railway to Heaven as they travel in Europe - https://r2h2europeblog.wordpress.com/
Vietnam Tour 2016
Twelve College the Ozarks students will accompany twelve Vietnam War Veterans as they embark on a Patriotic Education trip through the country of Vietnam. The trip will take place from March 13-26, 2016. Follow along with their daily adventures by visiting the following link: http://cofovietnam2016.wordpress.com.
Cold War Commemorative Tour 2015
From October 13-23, 2015, thirteen College of the Ozarks students accompanied five U.S. Veterans on a Cold War Commemorative Tour. During this ten-day period, the group visited key historical sites in Europe from the Cold War Era, including Germany, the Czech Republic, and Austria. We were honored by the presence of very distinguished Veteran participants on this tour: two World War II pilots, who also flew during the Berlin Airlift in 1948-49; two members of the Berlin Brigade; and a retired Air Force General who served during the Cold War in Europe and throughout the world. To read about this incredible journey, please visit the following blog: https://coldwartour2015.wordpress.com/.
Mariana Islands & Japan Tour 2015
Twelve students from College of the Ozarks accompanied six WWII Veterans back to battlefields on the Marianas and Japan from May 12–22, 2015. Their journey included specific itinerary stops in locations such as Guam, Osaka, Hiroshima, and Nagasaki. The students recorded their experiences here, www.cofomarianaislands2015.wordpress.com/, as they learned firsthand the stories of Marine, Navy, and Army Air Corps Veterans who served in these locations. We welcome you to read the daily accounts of their travels.
Vietnam Tour 2014
From September 25 through October 9, 2014, twelve College of the Ozarks students accompanied twelve Vietnam War Veterans for the inaugural Patriotic Education trip back to Vietnam. Please visit http://www.cofovietnamtour2014.wordpress.com to read a blog of their travels together visiting places including Saigon, the Mekong Delta, the la Drang Valley, Da Nang, Khe Sanh, Hue and Hanoi.
70th Anniversary of D-Day & Battle of the Bulge Tour 2014
June 6, 2014 marked the 70th Anniversary of D-Day and the Battle of the Bulge. College of the Ozarks commemorated these historic occasions by sending sixteen of our students with eight World War II Veterans to France, Belgium, and Luxembourg. The group visited landmarks including the beaches of Normandy, the Normandy American Cemetery, the foxholes of Bastogne, and the Henri-Chapelle American Cemetery. Please visit the blog link, www.cofo.edu/Normandy, to read students' posts of this amazing journey.
Korean War 60th Anniversary “Joe Bryant Memorial” Tour 2013
Seventeen College of the Ozarks students accompanied nine Korean War Veterans on a Patriotic Education trip back to the historic places that turned the tide of communism on the Korean Peninsula – a place where America and her allies triumphed over the forces of tyranny. Please visit, http://cofokorea2013.blogspot.com/, to follow this journey that took place September/October 2013.
England Trip 2013: 8th USAAF and Battle of the Atlantic 70th Anniversary Tour
In May 2013, sixteen students from College of the Ozarks traveled with eight World War II Veterans to London, Cambridge, and Liverpool for the 70th Anniversary Commemoration of the Battle of the Atlantic. The blog, http://cofobattleoftheatlantic.blogspot.com/, contains stories, experiences, and photos.
Follow along as seven students from College of the Ozarks accompanied six WWII Veterans back to their battlefields in Guadalcanal, December 2012. The students learned firsthand from the stories of men who served our nation bravely during the Battle of Guadalcanal seventy years ago - http://cofopacific.blogspot.com
For two weeks in September/October 2012, students from College of the Ozarks traveled to China. They were accompanied by WWII and Cold War Veterans who served in China just after the close of WWII. They were also joined by Charlie Tsui, who was adopted by the Marines as a young boy in the 1940s. Follow along as the students, veterans visit sites last seen nearly 70 years ago, passing their stories of courage and sacrifice on to the next generation of Americans - http://cofochina.blogspot.com.
Holocaust Memorial Tour
For two weeks in June 2012, students from College of the Ozarks traveled to Germany, Poland, Austria, Slovakia, and the Czech Republic. They were accompanied by three Holocaust Survivors and four WWII Veterans who helped liberate concentration camps. Follow along as the students, Veterans, and Survivors visit Auschwitz, Mauthausen, Dachau, and other sites last seen nearly 70 years ago, passing their stories of courage and sacrifice on to the next generation of Americans - http://patriotictravel.blogspot.com.
The Philippines Tour
For two weeks in April 2012, students from College of the Ozarks traveled to the Philippines with Veterans from WWII. Follow their daily adventures (http://patriotictravel2012.blogspot.com/) as the Veterans revisit Bataan Peninsula, Corregidor, and other battlefields last seen nearly 70 years ago, passing their stories of courage and sacrifice on to the next generation of Americans.
Trip for 70th Anniversary of Pearl Harbor
In December 2011, a group of 10 C of O students traveled to Pearl Harbor, Okinawa, and Hiroshima. They were accompanied by five wonderful WWII Veterans, along with faculty members David Dalton and Diane Smith. You can follow their adventures at the blog http://www.pearlharbor70.blogspot.com/.