“Rock and War” with Music Legend Billy Terrell on VBC Happy Hour – Monday, April 10 @ 7pm ET

Date: April 10, 2023
Time: 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm
Location: Zoom, Facebook, YouTube
All Events | Online Events | VBC Happy Hour

It’s hard to imagine a more eventful life than the one lived by music legend and Vietnam Veteran Billy Terrell.

Desperately poor, Billy dropped out of school to support his family by waiting tables in Asbury Park, New Jersey. He taught himself how to play guitar, began performing, got discovered, and landed in New York City as a songwriter for Kama Sutra Records. His first record was “They Said It Couldn’t Be Done” by The Duprees, B-side of the hit “Around the Corner.” Billy was on his way.

Then, he got drafted. In May 1966, he arrived at Tuy Hoa, Vietnam. One of the few bright spots of a brutal year was Billy’s volunteer work helping Catholic nuns build the Mang Lang Orphanage.

His time with the children there remained a buried memory after his return to the World in 1967. Like so many other Vietnam veterans, Billy came back to an ungrateful nation that treated him like a paroled criminal, rather than a soldier who’d sacrificed for his country. Billy turned to alcohol to escape PTSD and the isolation he felt in a country so changed from the one he’d left.

Just how Billy regained his balance, started writing songs again, and found a prominent place in the music and entertainment industry are among the stories captured in his memoir, The Other Side of Rock and War: One Man’s Battle to Save His Life, His Career, His Country, and the Orphans He Left Behind

The book tells of traveling with Jimi Hendrix, The Doors, and Cream in the summer of 1968. He shares about writing and producing hit records for Shangri-Las, Debby Taylor, the Three Degrees, the Manhattans, Frankie Avalon, Helen Reddy, Bobby Rydell, Larry Carlton and dozens of others.

But Billy’s story is more than an account of music and show business. It’s an inspiring memoir of service, before the war and after, when he returned to Vietnam and re-connected with the nuns and children he’d known at the orphanage decades earlier.

Join us for a wide-ranging conversation with Billy Terrell, a Vietnam veteran with a one-of-a-kind story to share.

Sponsored by D&D Auto Salvage and Tobacco Free Adagio Health.  Simulcast to Facebook and YouTube.

Buzz Bissinger, “The Mosquito Bowl: A Game of Life and Death in World War II” – Wednesday, April 12 @ 6:30pm

Date: April 12, 2023
Time: 6:30 pm - 8:30 pm
Location: Heinz History Center (1212 Smallman St, Pittsburgh, PA 15222)
All Events | In-Person Events | Online Events

The Veterans Breakfast Club and Heinz History Center welcome Pulitzer Prize winning author Buzz Bissingerwho will discuss his new book that John Grisham says is “destined to become a classic,” The Mosquito Bowl: A Game of Life and Death in World War II. Live in-person and streaming at the Heinz History Center (1212 Smallman St, Pittsburgh, PA 15222) on Wednesday, April 12 @ 6:30pm. Book talk followed by signing.
  • General Admission: $10 (in-person)
  • History Center members: $5 (in-person)
  • Veterans Breakfast Club members: $5 (in-person)

Livestream is free.

When the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor, college football was at the height of its popularity. As the nation geared up for war, one branch of the service dominated the aspirations of college football stars: the United States Marine Corps.

Which is why, on Christmas Eve of 1944, when the 4th and 29th Marine regiments found themselves in the middle of the Pacific Ocean training for what would be the bloodiest battle of the war – the invasion of Okinawa—their ranks included one of the greatest pools of football talent ever assembled: Former All Americans, captains from Wisconsin and Brown and Notre Dame, and nearly twenty men who were either drafted or would ultimately play in the NFL.

When the arguments between the 4th and 29th over who had the better football team reached a fever pitch, it was decided: The two regiments would play each other in a football game as close to the real thing as you could get in the dirt and coral of Guadalcanal on Christmas Eve, 1944. The bruising and bloody game that followed became known as “The Mosquito Bowl.”

Within a matter of months, fifteen of the 64 the players in “The Mosquito Bowl” would be killed at Okinawa, by far the largest number of American athletes ever to die in a single battle. The Mosquito Bowl is the story of these brave young men, those who survived and those who did not. It is the story of the families and the landscape that shaped them. It is a story of a far more innocent time in both college athletics and the life of the country. And of the loss of that innocence.

Writing with the style and rigor that won him a Pulitzer Prize and have made his books modern classics, Buzz Bissinger takes us from the playing fields of America’s campuses where boys played at being Marines, to the final time they were allowed to still be boys on that field of dirt and coral, to the darkest and deadliest days that followed at Okinawa.


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The mission of the Veterans Breakfast Club is to create communities of listening around veterans and their stories to ensure that this living history will never be forgotten.  We believe that through our work, people will be connected, educated, healed, and inspired.


Preserving veterans’ stories so that this living history is never forgotten.

We pair passionate VBC volunteers with military veterans for one-on-one oral history interviews over Zoom. If you are a veteran, or you know a veteran, who would be interested in sharing his or her story with us, let us know. If you are someone interested in conducting these interviews, please reach out!


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