TELL YOUR STORY
I’m an advocate for every Veteran to tell their story before it’s too late. How often have you exchanged “war stories” with other Veterans and while remembering shared experiences it triggers yet another memory or experience?
Quite often when we don’t take the time to write them down we soon forget. If we wrote down each memory or story we could fill volumes of books. There are a number of places online where you can submit your verbally recorded and/or written accounts of your military service experiences.
A great place to start is a website called Together We Served (www.togetherweserved.com) that is setup by branch of service. If you have your military DD214s (discharge certificates), awards, certificates and military orders, photos and/or videos you have a basis for compiling your military service where former teammates or others who were there are able to locate you.
One vital part of the TWS profile are these questions about your military service:
- To the best of your knowledge, what influenced his/her decision to join the military?
- To the best of your knowledge, please describe the direction or path he/she took in his/her military service. What was his/her reason for leaving?
- If he/she participated in any military operations, including combat, humanitarian and peacekeeping operations, to the best of your knowledge, please describe those you feel were the most significant to him/her and, if life-changing, in what way.
- Did they encounter any situation during their military service where they believed there was a possibility he/she might not survive. To the best of your knowledge, describe what happened and what was the outcome.
- Of all their duty stations or assignments, are you aware of any he/she had fondest memories of and why? Which was their least favorite?
- From their entire military service, describe any personal memories, you may be aware of, which impacted him/her the most.
- What professional achievements do you believe he/she was most proud of from his/her military service?
- Of all the medals, awards, formal presentations and qualification badges he/she received, which were the most meaningful to him/her and why?
- If known, please list any individual(s) from his/her time in the military who stood out as having the most positive impact on them and why?
- If known, please recount the names of friends he/she served with, at which location and what was remembered most about them. Indicate those he/she remained in touch with.
- Are you aware of any particular incident from his/her service, which may or may not have been funny at the time, but still made them laugh later on?
- If he/she survived military service, what profession(s) did he/she follow after discharge?
- If known, what military associations was he or she a member of, if any? Are you aware of any specific benefits they derived from their memberships?
- If he/she survived military service, in what ways do you believe his/her serving in the military influenced the way they approached their personal life, family life and career?
- If they were here today, what advice do you think he or she would give to those who followed in their footsteps and recently entered military service?
- How effective has this been in helping you record your remembered person’s military service? Do you have any additional comments or suggestions you would like to make?
Let me challenge you to sit down and list chronologically your/remembered person’s military service beginning with basic training, advanced individual training, service schools, duty assignments, sections, units, locations, and dates. Let this be a foundation to be able to add memories and build upon.
It matters not that he/she was drafted, volunteered, served and/or retired, every detail is important and worth remembering their legacy of service to our nation.
Joseph J. Wilson, Jr.
Sergeant First Class, 88M40
US Army – September 1967 – December 1990 (Retired)