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Retired U.S. Army Colonel will Visit Morris to Speak on D-Day Invasion, Celebrate Ten Years of Collaborative Research

Philip Drown
Publication date: 
Monday, April 2, 2012

Colonel Donald A. Osterberg , U.S. Army (retired) will deliver a public talk on the strategically important role paratroopers played in the D-Day invasion of Normandy during World War II. Osterberg will give his talk on Thursday April 19, 2012, at 7:30 p.m., in the University of Minnesota, Morris, Science Auditorium.

On June 6, 1944, Allied forces launched a massive invasion of German-occupied Western Europe that began with a strategic assault on the coast of French Normandy, often referred to as D-Day. The Normandy landings were conducted in two phases: an airborne assault by more than 24,000 paratroopers that commenced shortly after midnight, and an amphibious landing of infantry and armored divisions that began at 6:30 a.m the same day. The ultimate success of the Normandy landings and subsequent Allied invasions signaled the “beginning of the end” of Nazi Germany’s grip on Western Europe.

Osterberg’s presentation, “How Paratroopers Supported D-Day: A Case Study of the Human Element of War”, is described as “a fascinating case of the importance of the moral domain of war, of the spirit of the American soldier, of the importance of a well understood leader's intent to guide action in the absence of specific orders, and of how the tactics of an operation can go horribly wrong, but the strategic objective can still be met.”

Colonel Osterberg retired from the U.S. Army at the turn of the century. During his military career he completed airborne training and was the honor graduate of the U.S. Army Ranger Training School. He served as the chief planning officer (G2) for the 1st Infantry Division (“Big Red One”) during Operation Desert Storm, and was a member of the two-hour-standby “go team” that provided strategic military advice on Air Force One during the travels of Presidents G. H. W. Bush and Clinton. Osterberg holds a Master’s degree from the U.S. Army’s General Command and Staff College, and has a passion for military history.

Today, Colonel Osterberg is a Senior Vice President of Schneider National, Inc. (SNI), a $3.5 billion annual revenue trucking firm. Osterberg will be visiting the Morris campus on April 19th to celebrate ten years of collaborative research with Morris professors Stephen Burks and Jon Anderson. Since 2002, Osterberg and his company SNI have been collaborating with Burks and Anderson on the “Truckers & Turnover Project”, a multi-year study in the field of "behavioral personnel economics" conducted by a team of University of Minnesota, Morris faculty and students, and faculty at other institutions.

A celebration of this collaboration, along with a presentation of recent research results, will take place on April 19, 2012, from 2:30 p.m. until 5:30 p.m., in Imholte Hall, room 109 on the Morris campus. Both the Truckers & Turnover presentation and Osterberg’s D-Day talk are open to the public.

For more information on the “Truckers & Turnover Project”, visit the website.