Three Powerful First-Person Military Narratives Animated by StoryCorps in Honor of Veteran’s Day

StoryCorps, the oral history project that has recorded and archived “over 50,000 interviews with over 90,000 participants” since 2003, has animated three incredibly powerful first-person narratives that highlight the military experience, in honor of Veteran’s Day.

In “The Nature of War,” Specialist Justin Cliburn tells his story of the two Iraqi boys with whom he formed a beautiful and unlikely friendship.

In 2005…While serving in Baghdad, Justin formed an unlikely friendship with two Iraqi boys who lived nearby. At StoryCorps, Justin speaks with his wife, Deanne, about the lasting impression the boys left on his life.

In “1st Squad, 3rd Platoon,” Marine Lance Corporal Travis Williams talks about the day he lost his entire squad and all of his friends.

In August 2005, Marine Lance Cpl. Travis Williams and his squad were sent on a rescue mission in Barwanah, Iraq. En route, their vehicle was hit by a roadside bomb. Of Travis’ entire 12-person team, he alone survived. Here, Travis reflects on the hours and days after the explosion, as well as his life now, and pays tribute to the men he left behind.

In “The Last Viewing,” a grieving father tells of a chance meeting with the person who last saw his son alive.

Allen Hoe served as a combat medic during the Vietnam War, and his two sons continued his legacy of service. His oldest son, Nainoa, eventually became a first lieutenant infantry officer with the Army’s 3rd Battalion. In January 2005, while leading his men through Mosul, Iraq, Nainoa was killed by sniper fire. He was 27. On Memorial Day that same year, Allen traveled to Washington to honor Nainoa’s memory, and it was there that he had a chance encounter a stranger that brought them both unforeseen comfort.