Comments: 46 • Responses: 17  • Date: 

rilanator6 karma

How has your experiences with the veterans changed or solidified your views/opinions on war?

WSU_Veterans_Voices7 karma

Well I am a Afghan Vet myself so my views on war are already pretty strong. Talking to these guys doesn't do much for changing my opinions. It does give me insight to what the other wars were like and how they are similar to my experience. It is very therapeutic talking about this with people who have similar experiences though.


What was the saddest story you were told from one of the Veterans?

WSU_Veterans_Voices10 karma

I have heard quite a bit. Some stories are sad and some are happy. The saddest theme I hear is the way Vietnam Vets were treated when they got home. Here is a good example. Starting at about 4:40 he gets into what coming home was like. It just sucks knowing they left hell (Vietnam) to come home to being spit on.

mopeygoff4 karma

How can we help out? My dad (Vietnam vet) has been considering doing this for us kids since he absolutely doesn't talk about his time in Vietnam to us.. and maybe something like this will motivate him to do this project..

WSU_Veterans_Voices4 karma

Well it all depends on where you live. Other groups across the U.S. are doing this project. My group only consists of 4 and we don't travel too far out of Dayton, Ohio. If you let me know what city you guys live in I can try to find another group who is doing the same kind of project.

mopeygoff3 karma

He lives in NE Florida.. So I don't think he'll be willing to come out to Dayton.. But could he send in recordings or something like that?

I do know some somewhat cool stuff he did. He wrote for the Tropic Thunder newspaper thing (kinda like "Joker" in Full Metal Jacket), and toured with Tippi Hedron.. I also know he was about 5 people off-frame in that famous picture of the hippie putting the daisy in the MP's gun barrel during the race riots (in either Washington or Seattle) in the 60s.

So yeah..

WSU_Veterans_Voices3 karma

Get in contact with these guys. They are located in Atlanta but they have more resources and travel around the country to get interviews.

mopeygoff3 karma

Thank you! I've sent an e-mail off to my mom about it.. She'll get him to contact those guys, I'm sure!

My father has run into a few complications health-wise lately and while I don't think his time is coming to an end here.. I am concerned that he's getting to the point he is not so much there mentally..and he does suffer from agent orange poisoning..so I think that's starting to take a toll..

WSU_Veterans_Voices3 karma

Yeah it's really important we get these stories while these guys are still around! Best wishes to your father!

aGGLee3 karma

Can you fly me to you, from Newcastle, England so I can give you a high five? The work you are doing is amazing. :)

WSU_Veterans_Voices2 karma

Well our budget is pretty tight right now. Air five! Thanks!

jnetelle3 karma

Hi. How did you get involved with the Wright State University Veteran and Military Center?

WSU_Veterans_Voices2 karma

Well I am actually still an undergrad student there. The VMC opened in August 2013 and it was created to be both a Veterans Affairs for student Veterans using the GI Bill and other school benefits and also a place for Veterans to get away from the rest of the students. The VMC hosted a class in Spring 2014 that taught students how to do these interviews. They picked 4 students from the class to continue the project. So that's how I got involved with it!

jnetelle2 karma

Wow. That's cool. The VMC sounds like it would be a great space for many campuses... Thanks for replying to my question. Good luck with the project and school. And have an awesome New Year's! :)

WSU_Veterans_Voices2 karma

It is a great space and I hope it will become the model for other military friendly schools! Cheers!

seabassett3 karma

Are there noticeable differences among the various war vet generations in regards to patriotism, pride, or justification?

WSU_Veterans_Voices7 karma

Great question!

WWII: Tremendous pride and love of country. They knew they were fighting an evil thing. Most are still very humble and usually say something along the lines of "I was just doing my job" or "I did what every one else was doing."

Korea: I've only talked to a couple Korean War Vets but most feel they were doing what they were supposed to do and feel proud of their service.

Vietnam: I see both sides with Vietnam Vets. Some are happy about their service and glad they did it (even some draftees). The other half feel like we fought for the wrong reasons. Many Vietnam Vets feel like they had their backs turned on them by everyone. They were turned on by politicians, the American public and even the WWII Veterans. I have heard stories of VFWs not allowing Vietnam Veterans to join at some point.

Desert Storm/Iraq/Afghanistan: Most service members are proud for what they have done(stopping the spread of terrorism and the opium trade). I would say it depends on what they experienced. The guys who lost friends overseas during these conflicts feel more negative towards US involvement in the Middle East.

Everyone's experience was different and everyone has a different opinion on their service and their country. Hope this answers your question!

muhreeah2 karma

How do you walk the fine line between getting valuable information and not pushing sensitive subjects too hard?

WSU_Veterans_Voices1 karma

That is the hardest part about doing the interviews. I don't really know how to answer that. I guess you just kind of have to feel it. As an interviewer you need to be very attentive to the interviewee. I look for facial expressions and listen carefully to their voice. You can kind of tell. Sometimes if it is something I feel is very valuable I will dig deeper but if they are becoming obviously upset I will back off. Hope this answers your question and sorry for the delay!

cekay12 karma

How do you go about finding the veterans?

WSU_Veterans_Voices1 karma

Mainly through VFWs, AmVets, American Legions. We start there and do a presentation then Veterans will volunteer or they will reference people they think should tell their stories.

fisch092 karma

What would you say is the funniest story you've encountered?

WSU_Veterans_Voices1 karma

For me the funniest stories come from talking about recreation time while on deployment. My favorite was hearing about a bunch of guys overseas surrounding a tiny TV to watch a show. I'm talking like one of those portable little 4" screen TVs. I can relate to them on things like this so t just cracks me up.

fisch091 karma

Weird how by time we got to my deployment one guy had a pocket projector and we could all watch from the hooch.

WSU_Veterans_Voices1 karma

Yeah I have seen guys with those before. I just had a little portable DVD player.

Serceni2 karma

Do you know how many ,in tot la are being recorded in the Library Of Congress?

WSU_Veterans_Voices2 karma

I'm not sure. I know that around 30 are sent in every week. I imagine thousands. Some of them are available for viewing online at loc.gov/vets

Captainsteve282 karma

What ways do you try to prevent your own biases from entering the interview? Do you ask open questions and do you have to be careful about drawing out experiences with specific questions afterwards?

I haven't done anything similar but I've heard it's quite an art to do oral history well. It looks like a fascinating job.

WSU_Veterans_Voices1 karma

Yeah it's something that is hard to master. I have a script that I go off of when asking questions. I just deviate from that list of questions as I see fit. I try not to dig into issues I can tell they don't feel comfortable talking about. If the Veteran I'm talking to has questions they don't want to ask them they make it clear.

PrincessLola2 karma

I am really intrigued by this project. I believe my DAR (daughters of the american revolution) chapter is working on this with Veterans from our city. I really want to help out but I am really nervous with interviewing and talking with strangers. Any tips on how to do a smooth interview?

WSU_Veterans_Voices1 karma

In my experience the hardest part with these interviews is getting them to agree to do it. Alot of Veterans have seen some stuff and don't want to talk about it. Once you get them to do an interview it's pretty smooth. Let them do all the talking. Just keep the questions short and on point and don't interrupt, that's what makes for a good interview!

SubatomicGoblin2 karma

Just out of curiosity, how can I, as a veteran, be interviewed?

WSU_Veterans_Voices1 karma

Sorry for the delay! That's a great question. First thing I would say is make sure your ready to tell your story. Make up your mind on what you want to share and don't want to share. Next, find an organization near you that does the project. If you tell me what city you live in I can reference you to someone. Thanks!