Directions: Find and interview a military veteran. It can be a veteran of any branch of the U.S. Military. Record and transcribe the interview. After you’ve transcribed the interview, write a short, 500-word essay about the person who you interviewed. You do not need to cite any references, but if you draw from the course readings (as in, if you quote them or reference them in your essay) you’ll make me smile, and that can’t hurt your grade.
Obtain biographical information. When and where was the person born? Where did they grow up? Class and ethnic background? From a military family?
When and why did you join the military? What branch? How did you feel when you joined? (The answer to this question probably will depend on “why” they joined the military. Try to get a sense of how the person felt—about war, service, patriotism, duty, citizenship, government power—before and as they entered.
Describe your military experience. Where did you deploy? What was/were your job(s)? Did you see combat? Where? When? Can you tell me about it? How long were you deployed? How many deployments?
Be sure to get a sense of change over time. How did the person’s ideas and feelings change as their term of service went on?
What did they do after the military? How did their military service shape the rest of their lives?
Did they use their service as a way to launch a career? Did they learn a skill in the military that prepared them for the private sector?
This is just an outline. Before the interview, spend some time coming up with questions. Think about the major themes from the course readings, especially as our course moves closer to the current day.