THOMASVILLE — Staff report
The President’s Lecture Series at Thomas University will continue at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 27, with guest speaker retired Maj. Gen. Bernard “Burns” Loeffke, who will present “The Peace General in a Fighting Army.”
A native of Columbia, South America, Loeffke is the son of an American father and a Spanish mother. He was admitted to the U.S. Military Academy as a foreign cadet in the class of 1957 and was granted U.S. citizenship upon graduation. He went on to serve a full career as a U.S. Army officer.
Loeffke earned a master’s degree in Soviet Area Studies from Middle College in 1965 and a Ph.D. in International Relations from the University of Miami in 1978. He served as a professor of Russian language at the U.S. Military Academy 1965-68 and as a professor at Georgetown University in Soviet Foreign Policy in Latin American in 1998. Loeffke has also served as a Visiting Fellow at the Council of Foreign Relations. In 2007 Loeffke was chosen as one of five recipients of the Distinguished Graduate Award at West Point.
During that time Loeffke commanded Special Forces and parachute combat infantry units. He served as the Commanding General of Army South. In his military service, Loeffke made more than 250 parachute jumps, two of those while in combat in Vietnam.
He was awarded the Purple Heart for wounds in combat as well as the Silver Star and the Bronze Star for Valor. Loeffke is the first American to have jumped with Communist Chinese Units. He earned this distinction when he became the first U.S. Army General to be assigned to the American Embassy after the Communist takeover. He also served as an Army Attaché in Moscow, as a staff officer in the White House, and as the Director of the Commission on White House Fellows.
Loeffke retired from the Army in 1992 and became a physician’s assistant in 1997. He now participates in medical missions in war-torn and impoverished areas including Bosnia, Haiti, Kenya, Iraq, Niger, Darfur and the Amazon jungles.
In addition to his academic and military accomplishments, Loeffke is fluent in Spanish, Portuguese, Russian, French, and has a working knowledge of Mandarin Chinese. He has authored several books — China: Our Enemy? A General's Story with his son Marc; From Warrior to Healer: 99 True Stories from a General to His Grandchildren, The Least Beastly and 12 Steps to Health.
The President’s Lecture Series will be held in the Flowers Foods Executive Classroom inside Smith-Bonvillian Hall on TU’s Main Campus. Admission is free, and the public is welcome.