Decorated War Veteran Colonel Matthew Bogdanos at Eastern

Wrtitten by Nana Owusu Agyemang

Willimantic, Conn. – U.S. Marine Colonel Matthew Bogdanos, a veteran of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, will speak at 7 p. m. on Nov. 15 in the Francis E. Geissler Gymnasium at Eastern Connecticut State University. Bogdanos is the second speaker in Eastern’s 2012-13 Arts and Lecture Series.  The event is free of charge.

Bogdanos is the author of “Thieves of Baghdad: One Marine’s Passion to Recover the World’s Greatest Stolen Treasures.”  A former middleweight boxer who joined the U.S. Marine Corps at 19, he left active duty in 1988 to join the New York County District Attorney’s Office. Remaining in the Marine Corps Reserves in the 1990s, Colonel Bogdanos led a counter-narcotics operation on the Mexican border and served in Desert Storm, South Korea, Lithuania, Guyana, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and Kosovo.

Following the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon in 2001, Colonel Bogdanos joined a counter-terrorism task force in Afghanistan, where he received a Bronze Star for actions against al-Qaeda. He then served in the Horn of Africa and three tours in Iraq — leading the investigation into the looting of Iraq’s National Museum — before deploying again to Afghanistan in 2009. Exposing the link between antiquities trafficking and terrorist financing, and presenting those findings to the United Nations, Interpol, British Parliament and the Peace Palace in The Hague, Colonel Bogdanos received the National Humanities Medal from President George W. Bush for his work recovering more than 6,000 of Iraq’s treasures in eight countries.

Colonel Bogdanos holds a classics degree from Bucknell University; a law degree and a master’s degree in classics from Columbia University; and a master’s degree in Strategic Studies from the Army War College. In addition to dozens of military awards, he received the 2004 Public Service Award from the Hellenic Lawyers of America, the 2006 Distinguished Leadership Award from the Washington, D.C. Historical Society, and was a 2011 Ellis Island Medal of Honor recipient.

Colonel Bogdanos donates all royalties from his book, “Thieves of Baghdad,” to the Iraq Museum.

While seating is free of charge, please reserve your seat by calling (860) 465-0036 or e-mailing