Local marine historian to speak at library

Marine Lt. Col. Kurt Wheeler, a Cazenovia High School history teacher, will present "Al-Anbar Awakening: A Firsthand Perspective on the Turnaround of the War in Iraq" at 7 p.m. Wednesday Nov. 10 in the Cazenovia Public Library Community Room.

For four months in 2006 and 2007, Wheeler traveled Anbar province in western Iraq as a field historian for the Marine Corps History Division. He interviewed more than 400 people, documenting combat stories and strategies.

His discussion on Nov. 10 will focus on these first-hand observations of the war in western Iraq as it began to turn from hopeless to winnable. In his book "Al-Anbar Awakening: U.S. Marines and Counterinsurgency in Iraq, 2004-2009," Wheeler chronicles the roles and views of U.S. Marines, who were the primary coalition force in al-Anbar from the spring of 2004 onward.

Wheeler's presentation coincides with the 235th birthday of the United States Marine Corps-Nov. 10, 1775--and a brief celebration of this milestone will conclude his discussion.

Wheeler grew up on a farm in New Woodstock and graduated from Cazenovia High School. He attended Harvard on a Marine Corps ROTC scholarship and was subsequently commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in the U.S. Marine Corps.

His initial service included a combat tour during Operation Desert Storm. After four years of active duty, he accepted a reserve commission and worked in the private sector in Washington, DC as a mortgage banker and a policy analyst on national security issues before returning to Harvard for his Masters' Degree in Education.

Wheeler has taught at Cazenovia High School as a history instructor and coach since 1996. He also serves as a village trustee and volunteers with a number of community organizations, including Project Caf . He and his wife reside in Cazenovia with their four daughters.

Wheeler's presentation is free and open to the public, with a special invitation extended to all of our honored veterans.

For more information, call 655-9322 or visit cazenoviapubliclibrary.org.

The Cazenovia Public Library will be open during regular hours on Veterans' Day, Nov. 11.

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