Mobile-area resident Jack Friend’s life was characterized by excellence and research. During the Korean War, the Virginia Military Institute graduate served as aide de camp to the Fifth Army chief of staff and as a tank company commander. At war’s end, he enrolled at Dartmouth to earn his MBA, then returned to Mobile and ran a market research company for a quarter-century.

Friend’s interest in military history won him a spot on the Alabama Historical Commission. He moved on to the board of the CSS Alabama Association, acquiring funding for artifact retrieval from the sunken ship of the same name.

His research and authorship on the Battle of Mobile Bay resulted in accolades and cleared misconceptions. Among the latter was the revelation Adm. David Farragut never actually uttered his most famous phrase, but merely signaled “Go on” to a hesitant ship captain. “Damn the torpedoes?” As insubstantial as the smoke of battle.

Now the late military expert is being honored with a biannual program at the History Museum of Mobile, the inaugural version of which kicks off at the end of May. More than a lecture, it will take the form of a symposium.

The first event is a Learning Lunch at noon of May 28 concerning the history of politicians during Reconstruction. The event is free and attendees are asked to bring a sack lunch.

On the mornings of May 29 and 30, contributors to the new book “The Yellowhammer War: The Civil War and Reconstruction in Alabama” will discuss the work. A museum news release promises the range of topics to include “Mobile author Augusta Jane Evans to black and white reactions to the assassination of Abraham Lincoln.”

The first Jack Friend Lecture takes place May 30 at 6 p.m. when University of Mobile history professor Lonnie Burnett will talk about local reaction to the election of 1860. A book signing and reception will follow. Both events are free.

A complete list of symposium events can be found at

For more on this symposium, call 251-208-7652 or email