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Dr. Steven Scott (left) shows off the Haley Trauma Center’s treadmill pool to former patient Cory Remsburg (center) and his dad, Craig Remsburg.

Army Ranger Cory Remsburg Overcomes

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Army Ranger Cory Remsburg returns each year to James A. Haley VA Hospital in Tampa to show the staff his progress. He was severely injured in 2009 and spent two years recovering at Haley’s Polytrauma Center. Remsburg was on his tenth deployment when he was injured by an IED in Afghanistan. His teammates found him face down in a water-filled canal with shrapnel in his brain. He was in a coma when he arrived at the Haley. More than 800 patients have come through the polytrauma system according to Haley Chief of Staff Dr. Edward Cutolo, but he remembers Remsburg. “He’s not a hard one to forget. He was very ill when he came here, very ill,” Cutolo said. And Remsburg has not forgotten them, the therapists, nurses and doctors. http://cpa.ds.npr.org/wusf/audio/2014/09/9-19_ONAIR-OTB-VCH_Cory_Remsburg_0_0.mp3 He returned this year with one goal in mind, to walk, unassisted to Dr. Steven Scott, director of the Haley Polytrauma Center. Trailed closely by his stepmother, Annie Remsburg, Cory Remsburg successfully navigated about a 10-foot stretch, unaided, and was greeted with a handshake from Dr. Scott and applause from onlookers. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mA2A8NGdU-k “One of the things that’s so interesting about Cory’s story is he was told by so many, so many people said he couldn’t do things. ‘You’re not going to walk, you’re not going to do this. You know what I mean,’” Scott said. “So, Cory always said, ‘Yes, I’m going to, yes I can.’” Cory Remsburg responds slowly, “Being a Ranger, I had the mental part down. It’s the physical part I’m learning to overcome.” His speech is labored because he had to learn to speak all over again. That’s just one of many things he’s had to overcome: dozens of surgeries, blindness in his right eye, a partially paralyzed left side. He was in a coma more than three months. The treatments and people at Haley brought him back. Craig Remsburg, credits a combination of ‘the man above’, Haley’s Emerging Consciousness Program, family and familiarity for bringing his son back. “We knew that he loved vanilla extract, so we would burn that aroma. We would play Scrubs, he loved Scrubs. So, we had that playing always on a reel,” Craig Remsburg said. There was no great awakening like in a movie. Instead, it was gradual and took a lot of hard work every day for two years. As soon as Cory could eat solid food, Dr. Scott would sneak him two Boston Cream doughnuts each morning as incentive.  And even though Cory now lives in Arizona – Dr. Scott is still motivating his prized patient. He asked Cory for his goals which are to walk independently for a sustainable distance and then run. “That’s what I hoped you would say. I’ll give you a third,” Dr. Scott said. “Run up hill. Alright? The reason why you run uphill is because the view is better.” At that suggestion, Cory smiled, held up his large cup of coffee as a toast affirming his new goals and said, “He knows me.” You can listen to the story which is part of he WUSF Veterans Coming Home project on WUSF 89.7 FM.

Russ Barnes, a retired Air Force colonel, designed the USF Veterans Employment Project.

Launching Careers, Finding Jobs for Vets

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Despite the improving economy, finding a job or establishing a career remains a challenge and become one for the million or more military service members expected to transition to civilian life in the next few years. http://cpa.ds.npr.org/wusf/audio/2014/09/9-5_OnAIR_OTB_student_vet_employment_project_0.mp3 So, the University of South Florida Office of Veteran Services created the Veterans Employment Project, thanks to a grant from the JP Morgan & Chase Company, to prepare USF student veterans for the competitive civilian market. Russ Barnes, a retired Air Force colonel with 27 years of service, designed the program. More than 30 student veterans applied, but the sessions need to be smaller to provide one-on-one help. So, he prioritized the applicants with a survey. Those who scored 10 out of 10 as “urgent” that they find a job in the next three months were accepted first. “We want to solve that right now,” Barnes said. “They’re urgent. We want to get them right now.” The employment project he created is not the typical workshop. Barnes turns things upside down. Instead of starting with resume writing, he ends with it. He begins by focusing the veterans on their passion, their ideal career or job. Then, he guides them working backward, identifying their industry of interest, researching companies, and then honing their resume to fit the job description. By the end of day one, Barnes had the six student veterans in his August session signed up on Linked In. They had to join a professional group in their area of interest, researched companies and made personal connections with people working in their desired profession. Joshua Gleaton spent more than four years in the Army as a forward observer. The former sergeant is completing a degree in criminology as he works with students at the USF Office of Veteran Services. “These guys are veterans, they have military experience, there’s still an enormous amount of competition in the work field,” Gleaton said. His goal is to have a career as a state game warden or work in criminal forensics for the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. Gleaton said the mock interview process helped him the most. “One question that caught me off guard is ‘What is my biggest weakness?’ because you don’t want to sound like you have a weakness,” Gleaton said. “You try to turn that into that into a positive answer. “ To prepare the student veterans for interviews, Barnes brought in Crista Shaw, a disability and employment specialist and author of Passport to Education.” After introducing herself on day four, Shaw, who volunteered to come, started with a couple of questions the veterans may encounter during a job interview. “Has anybody here been fired from a job, two, three, my hand is up too,” Shaw said, putting them at ease. “I’ve been fired from a job. Let me tell you how to answer this question. “ Shaw did role playing with Franklin Castillo, a Marine going for his MBA. She worked with him on how to shorten his answer and bring the question back around to the present and positives he learned from being dismissed. “If you leave with one thing today, I would tell you wherever you go you’re in an interview and if you can just be yourself, relax and be yourself,” Shaw advised. Castillo is one of the student veterans who marked in his survey that it is urgent he find a job in the next three months. He wants to work for a commercial bank in anti-money laundering and fighting fraud. “I came here with a preconceived notion, now as we’ve gone through the week, I’m so desirous to put this to work,” Castillo said. Barnes said the employment workshop works both ways. Helping veterans adjust to the civilian job market and assisting employers by dispelling common myths about military veterans. “Some of the misconceptions: in the military they always tell you what to do. They tell you what to eat, where to go what to do. They tell you when to do it, they tell you how to do it. And then you just do it,” Barnes said. “Many business owners say ‘I can’t have someone like that in my company, I need somebody who will be creative and work on their own.’ That is definitely a misconception.” The workshop ended on the fifth day with mock interviews for the veterans. However,  Barnes said there’s a sixth module – the actual interview and job placement. He plans to stay in touch with all the student veterans until they land their ideal position. In the interim, a third USF veterans’ employment 5-day session is scheduled to start Sept. 15, 2014.  

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Vets Voices: Why I joined VCH

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1098417_10152102294203098_556830153_nThis blog marks the first entry to kick off our new Veterans Coming Home (VCH) blogging series. We will be blogging about some of the extraordinary work being conducted by veteran’s service organizations across the Tampa Bay region and about the exceptional veterans living here. A big part of VCH has to do with using public media to share the personal stories of our local vets. If you would like to take part in this effort by sharing your story, let us know by emailing Veterans@wusf.org. To kick off our VCH blog, the crew at WUSF asked me to highlight a little bit of my personal story and talk about why I decided to join the WUSF Public Media team as the Community Engagement Coordinator for Veterans Coming Home. First things first, my name is Kiersten Downs, or just KD…this shortened version of my name continued to stick even after the time I spent in the Air Force. After being asked to join the project, I immediately accepted the position. Listening to public radio every morning has become a part of my daily routine, a habit instilled by my parents while I was growing up. The NPR jingle used to act like an alarm clock on early mornings before school. The position seemed like a logical and perfect fit given my past and current work with military veterans. The most exciting, challenging, and rewarding adventure I have ever completed was a cross-country cycling trip in 2013. The cycling trip was used as a fundraising and awareness campaign that ended up raising more than $50,000 for Student Veterans of America. It was my own experiences as a student veteran during my undergraduate years that motivated me to take on an advocacy role for this particular group of students. What culminated over the two months I spent riding from San Francisco to Washington D.C. was more than I could have ever imagined. The best part about the trip was meeting all of the student veterans and veteran supporters who cycled with me on the road. 1173849_10152171103453098_1768508049_n I had tremendous support from sponsors such as George Washington University, Veterans of Foreign Wars, Cannondale, mtvU, VetAdvisor among others. The ride never would have been possible if it wasn’t for the help of my amazing support crew, consisting of my mom and our videographer, my good friend Annie. With a portion of the funds being delivered back to the Student Veterans Association at the University of South Florida, the rest of the money was used to assist with a chapter grant program for SVA. Peer run student veterans associations across the country gained funding through the chapter grant program to carry out projects housed on their own campuses. Although, still an avid cyclist, I won’t be planning another cross-country trip until I finish up my doctorate in Applied Anthropology at USF. Working on Veterans Coming Home is exciting for me because it is providing me with opportunities to reach out to other veterans and veteran service organizations across the Tampa Bay area. There are many services available for us (vets), and sometimes knowing where to go and what organizations are worthwhile and credible can be daunting. My goal is to help bring order to the disorder that exists within the veteran’s service world. The other valuable piece to VCH is the opportunity to use public media in order to provide vets with a platform to share their stories the way they want to share them. Or if you want to just share photos, that’s good too. We are really excited for the upcoming year and hope that you will continue to follow Veterans Coming Home at wusf.veteranscominghome.org or on twitter @WUSFVeterans. 429998_10151936939118098_1643991712_n

If you would like to learn more about Kiersten and her bike trip, visit www.bikingusa.net.

Female Veterans in Iraq. A New Resource for Female Vets. Female Veterans have a new resource for information on VA health care and benefits: 1-855-VA-WOMEN.
Credit Department of Veterans Affairs

Reaching Women Vets Is A Challenge

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What happens if you plan an event to honor women veterans and none of them come? That’s a real concern at the Disabled American Veterans Chapter 97 in Sarasota. The organization is planning a free event August 30th for the area’s women veterans, but so far, they’re having a tough time generating interest. http://cpa.ds.npr.org/wusf/audio/2014/08/8-15_on-air_OTB_Veterans_Outreach.mp3 “Our response, so far, has been lackluster,” said Michael Lannan, commander of DAV Chapter 97. “I’ll be honest with you, we’ve had only one person RSVP and we put out flyers and posters. The team that’s been putting this together has been going around to the different colleges. They’ve gone to the Vet Center. They’ve pretty much hit everywhere where there’s going to be women veterans.” The chapter’s treasurer, Iris Johnson, is part of that team. She said a church group offering free school supplies to children of women veterans had the same problem. “And they couldn’t find one single veteran woman with children and they had 25 slots that they couldn’t fill,” Johnson said. “They (women veterans) have to be somewhere. Somehow, we have to identify them.” The chapter commander is adjusting to reach the younger, female veterans. They recently started a Facebook page and is learning about social media. Getting messages out to veterans is the job of Karen Collins, communications director at Tampa’s James A. Haley Veterans Hospital. “You have to use social media. You have to come at them in multiple avenues,” Collins said. The Haley VA has a Facebook page, a Twitter account, a Youtube channel and Collins routinely posts photos on Flickr. But there are other issues at work too. Capturing the attention of women veterans is one of the biggest challenges for Pam Smith-Beatty, the women’s program manager at Haley. “Part of the problem is that women don’t often think of themselves as veterans,” Smith-Beatty said. “I served for 22 years in the Air Force. But when I think of a veteran, I think of my dad, a Korean War Vet. I don’t necessarily think of myself.” National statistics show that women make up 15 percent of active-duty and 18 percent of the Guard and Reserves but only 6 percent of the VA population. “We’re finding that for the OEF/OIF/OND veterans, they’re actually doing a good job at capturing them. About 68% of those veterans are actually using the VA,” Smith-Beatty said. Yet overall, she said the VA is serving  only about 40 percent of eligible women veterans. “So how do you get the other 60 percent? We look at any kind of  recognition event,” Smith-Beatty said. She started up educational sessions every other month called Pink Bag Lunch and Learns.  Only 17 attended the first Pink Bag event, but as many as 120 have attended. So, Smith-Beatty offered some advice to the Sarasota chapter of the DAV. “If you only get 15 people, then be happy because you’re reaching that 15 people,” Smith-Beatty said. The Honoring Women Veterans in Sarasota event is scheduled from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the DAV Chapter building, 7177 Bee Ridge Road, Sarasota. Veteran women from the Sarasota region can register for the event and day care by calling 941/580-0999.      

Youth volunteer Mairyn Harris, 14, and Kathleen Fogarty, director of James A. Haley VA Medical Center in Tampa, FL.

Teens Spend Vacation at Tampa VA

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When teachers ask this fall: “What did you do on your summer vacation?” Nearly four dozen Tampa teenagers will answer: “I spent it at the James A. Haley VA Hospital.” For more than a decade, Haley has been operating a summer Youth Volunteer program that gives teenagers insight into health care careers while at the same time helping veterans. http://cpa.ds.npr.org/wusf/audio/2014/07/7-18_OTB_VA_Teen_Vols_WUSF.MP3 Mairyn Harris will be a ninth grader at Wharton High School this fall. She is spending five days a week this summer at Haley. On Monday through Thursday she helps with clerical work in the administrator’s office. On Sunday she comes back and volunteers with her mother in the long-term unit. “We work in in the nursing home part with veterans taking them to church, getting them to lunch, coffee, doughnuts that sort of thing,” Harris said. She also helps with the pet therapy taking care of the therapy dog, Simon. “Well that’s our future right?” said Kathleen Fogarty, director of James A. Haley VA Medical Center. “She gets exposure to the whole gamut of the acuteness of an illness all the way to the long term care of it. She’s working in our office, so she really sees everything that could possibly happen. She’s great.” Forgarty sees a lot of herself in Harris. “I don’t know if Mairyn knows this, but that’s how I started my career was a teen volunteer a hospital in Denver Colorado. And I took care of the CEO. I answered her phones while her secretary went to lunch,” Fogarty said. Haley’s Youth Volunteer program accepts teens ages 14 to 18 and starts recruiting in April for up to 50 positions. Camilla Thompson, chief of Voluntary Services, said the teens are asked to volunteer from 80-100 hours, must have a TB test and go through a full day of training. They are then assigned to one of more than 20 different services at Haley like nursing services or the recreational therapy department. “They get an opportunity to provide like a buddy program where they read to veterans or they may get the newspaper for them or they may assist them with meal prep,” Thompson said. “They get an opportunity to interact with veterans by playing games.” The volunteers also help take veterans on outings. Thompson said they do limit the teenagers’ exposure to veterans and service members with more severe injuries in the Spinal Cord Injury unit and Polytrauma Center. “We really tread lightly with that and have open discussions and gain feedback from youth whether or not that’s an experience they’re comfortable with,” Thompson said. The 47 Haley youth volunteers will finish their summer of service in August with a reception sponsored by veteran service organizations. The teens get a chance to share what they liked most about their summer vacation at Haley.

Lt. McGehee while training in Colorado.

From Afghanistan: A Soldier’s Poem

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http://cpa.ds.npr.org/wusf/audio/2014/05/5-9_web_Poem_Honor_mono.mp3 Army Lt. William McGehee was thrilled to learn that a poem he wrote in high school inspired another student’s work of art honoring members of the military and first responders. Currently on his second tour in Afghanistan, it’s difficult for him to get reliable access to the internet. However, he managed to record his poem to share with all involved with the Platform Art project. Listen to Lt. McGehee read his poem on honor which he recorded on a tablet while sitting in his quarters in Afghanistan. And he sent along the following words to be read at the unveiling of the “Honor Sculpture," May 9, 2014,  at Kryger Park, 108 S. Massachusetts Ave., Lakeland. McGehee’s message to Lakeland:

Ladies and Gentlemen, I would like to thank you for taking time out of your day to join us. This dedication serves as a reminder for all who ever will walk here that art is still alive in American culture, that inspiration can come from any source, and that we as a nation have not forgotten the sacrifices of those who keep this nation safe. It is easy in this world of mass media and visual overload, to lose sight of the meaning behind a piece of art. I believe that art goes beyond esthetics and possess a spiritual presence which speaks for the human condition. To put it simply art tells us stories.  The story in this sculpture is simple yet powerful. It is our story, the story of sacrifice, the story of anyone who has ever sweated and bleed for our safety, and the story of all those who gave their final full measure of devotion.  This is a story we must never lose sight of. This story told here today came about in a very unlikely way.  A young artist found an unpublished poem on the internet to use as the center piece for her prize winning work. Years ago a young high school student got the idea for that same poem… from a video game.  Please, when you feel that itch to write, to drawl, to sing, no matter where it came from, no matter how insignificant it may seem, do it. You can never know what great story your action could come tell the world. Thank you all for listening.

Maria Vazquez, 18, won the Platform Art design competition with her sculpture depicting honor.

Lakeland Art Honors Those Who Serve

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http://cpa.ds.npr.org/wusf/audio/2014/05/5-9_OTB_Honor_Art_RECUT_pronunciation_change.mp3 The area’s newest tribute to military service members, veterans and first responders was unveiled May 9, 2014 in Lakeland, Florida. It’s a sculpture of steel and glass. Designed by a high school student and crafted by a local artisan. The non-profit group, Platform Art, is leading the collaboration behind the sculpture, the first of three pieces that will become part of Lakeland’s Veterans Memorial Park over the next three years. Executive director Cynthia Haffey said their partnerships with veterans associations and first responders will continue for the next two years. Each year, high school students will compete designing a work of art that encompasses a word like service or sacrifice. The winning sculptures will be placed in Lakeland's Veterans Memorial Park. This year’s word was “Honor.” This year’s winner was Maria Vazquez, 18, a senior at Lake Region High School. Initially, the young artist struggled with finding the best way to portray such a broad concept. “Most of the time, whenever I get my inspiration, it’s from a poem,” Vazquez said. “So, I looked up poems that had to do with honor. Nothing stuck. It was all kind of generic and then I came across Mr. McGehee’s poem.” In 2006 as a senior in high school, William McGehee wrote a poem titled “Honor” which Vazquez incorporated into her sculpture. She said the poem taught her that the true meaning of honor is trying to protect your loved ones, your friends and family. So, she translated that meaning into her sculpture which has three steel panels each with a separate silhouette. The first is the profile of a service member. In the middle is a silhouette of a couple. And the final panel has a cutout child. “Whenever you look directly into it, you’re seeing the soldier as who he is and then you’re seeing the family afterward and deeper in you see the child,” Vazquez said. “And that child could probably be their son or it could be them whenever they were a child and everything that their childhood represents.” In front of the three steel silhouettes is a glass panel inscribed with McGehee’s poem. Professional artist Tom Monaco of The Fourth Wall Studio was on the committee that selected the winning sculpture that he was commissioned to create. He worked with Vazquez to help her realize her vision. He let her do everything from try her hand at welding to picking out the script style for the poem. “I was like how do you visualize this being done and she’s like I want it to be handwritten,” Monaco said As a judge, he said several of the 60 student models in the competition showed real creativity. “They were beautiful to look at but they were so abstract that we couldn’t even include them,” Monaco said. “This could be honor, this could be a bologna sandwich. It could literally be everything you wanted to see in it.” Monaco said Vazquez’s sculpture” just nailed it” as being easy to understand yet visually complex enough to generate interest. And the focal point of her sculpture is McGehee’s poem. It took Haffey with Platform Art weeks to track down the poet for permission to use his poem to honor military service members and first responders. McGehee not only gave permission, his life story brings an even deeper meaning to the sculpture. The poet writing about honor is now a U.S. Army lieutenant leading patrols on his second tour in Afghanistan. He graduated college with a theater major. So, McGehee is thrilled that his poem inspired another high school student to create art. He sent a message from Afghanistan to be read at the sculpture’s unveiling that said in part “it serves as a reminder for all that art is still alive in American culture.”

U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor (D-Tampa) plays air hockey with a veteran in the new USO Day Room at James A. Haley VA Hospital.

First USO Opens Inside a VA Hospital

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http://cpa.ds.npr.org/wusf/audio/2014/07/7-1_WEB_Haley_VA-USO.MP3 Tampa's James A. Haley Veterans' Hospital officially opened a USO July 1, 2014 located next to the Spinal Cord Injury Center where there are many active-duty troops and veterans undergoing long-term rehabilitation. This is the first time a USO center has been built inside of a veterans' hospital. Senior Vice President of the USO John Hanson said that although the 1,900-square foot day room is not the largest USO center, its impact will be "profound." "I’ll be honest with you. This is an experiment for us," Hanson said. "Our entire focus for 73 years, more than 73 years, has been on lifting the spirits of active duty troops and their families. This center is going to serve those needs. It’ll also serve the needs of veterans who come here and the active-duty troops recovering from injuries. It’s going to be their place." The day room includes a large screen television for games and movies, a "Kids Corner," a pool table and an air hockey game. And there are plenty of comfortable couches and armchairs where families can gather and chat. Haley VA Hospital Director Kathleen Fogarty said that the features contribute to the therapy of military patients in the Spinal Cord Injury Center, and give them a "home-like situation." Several local Taco Bell restaurants raised $30,000 during their "Freedom Bells" fundraiser for the Armed Forces Families Foundation (AFFF) which contributed to the USO project. The AFFF Managing Director Nick Peters said the donation is a testament to military appreciation within the community. "When you think about it," Peters said, "we raised twice as much money for the Armed Forces Families Foundation as we do for Boys & Girls Club and World Hunger, which are great charities, but it gives you a sense of the affinity for the military." The USO World Headquarters donated $25,000 to the project, and the Tampa Kiwanis donated $2,500 for the "Kids Corner." Prior to the Day Room, patients' time with family was spent in their hospital rooms.

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NAVY SEALS – THEIR UNTOLD STORY  Credit: Courtesy of www.SEALSWCC.com

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A four-year journey that takes teenagers from rural northern Michigan to the battlefields of Afghanistan and back, WHERE SOLDIERS COME FROM follows five high school friends who join the National Guard to pay for college. The film is an intimate look at the young men who fight America's wars.

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Army Captain Drew Pham and his wife, Molly Pearl

StoryCorps – Army Captain Drew Pham

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Army Captain Drew Pham was 24 years old when he completed a tour of duty in Afghanistan in October 2011. Since returning, Drew has had a hard time making sense of what he saw at war and adjusting to life at home. At StoryCorps, he spoke with his wife, Molly Pearl, about that transition and some of his most difficult combat memories.

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Army National Guard Staff Sergeant Jon Meadows and his wife, Melissa

StoryCorps – Army National Guard Staff Sergeant Jon Meadows

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Army National Guard Staff Sergeant Jon Meadows has served two tours of duty, first to Iraq in 2006, then to Afghanistan in 2012. Over the course of his service, he suffered multiple head injuries–which he didn’t report because he wanted to keep on serving. Then, in an examination during his last tour, doctors found polyps in Jon’s throat. He was sent to a hospital in the States–and that’s when the brain damage was discovered. Jon and his wife, Melissa, came to the White House for a day StoryCorps spent recording with Joining Forces–the national effort to support service members and their families, which is spearheaded by First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden. In Washington, Jon told his wife about his life now, and remembered a friend and fallen soldier who served with him in Iraq.

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Justin Cliburn

StoryCorps – Justin Cliburn

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Specialist Justin Cliburn deployed to Iraq in 2005 with the Oklahoma Army National Guard. His job was to train the Iraqi police in Baghdad. When he sat down for StoryCorps with his wife, Deanne, he told her about his friendship with a young Iraqi boy named Ali.

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Marine Corporal Anthony Villarreal and his wife, Jessica

StoryCorps – Marine Corporal Anthony Villarreal

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In June 2008, Marine Corporal Anthony Villarreal was driving back from a mission in Afghanistan when his truck hit a roadside bomb. Anthony suffered third-degree burns over most of his body. His right arm and the fingers on his left hand had to be amputated. Anthony was 22 at the time, and newlywed to Jessica who was just 21. When the couple sat down for StoryCorps, Anthony remembered the moments just after the explosion.

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Paul Wayman and Nathanael Roberti

StoryCorps – Nathanael Roberti

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Marine Corporal Paul Wayman (L) talks with his friend Nathanael Roberti, (R) a former Navy Seal, about their trouble readjusting to civilian life after their combat deployments.

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Mark and Luke Radlinski

StoryCorps – Navy Lieutenant Mark Radlinski

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Navy Lieutenant Mark Radlinski speaks with his brother, Lieutenant Luke Radlinski, about Mark's deployment to Iraq and his homecoming.

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Tech Sgt. MaCherie Dunbar (R) and her girlfriend, Barb Maglaqui (L)

StoryCorps – Tech Sgt. MaCherie Dunbar

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Tech Sgt. MaCherie Dunbar (R) was deployed twice to Iraq in 2007-2008. At StoryCorps, MaCherie told her girlfriend, Barb Maglaqui (L), about one of the hardest things she had to do while overseas. MaCherie is an Air Force reservist and lives in Fairbanks, Alaska. She is hoping to retire from the Air Force this year because of PTSD.

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Elizabeth Olson

StoryCorps – Veterans Crisis Line

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Elizabeth Olson and her colleagues at the Veterans Crisis Line talk about helping callers through their darkest hours.

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