War Stories Frequently Asked Questions
Who do you want to interview?
- Anyone who served in the military in any branch and any type of service.
- Anyone who served in a support role (the Red Cross, was deployed in a support role by the military itself or some other entity—such as a contractor, provided medical services, etc).
- We are also interested in interviewing loved ones who were deployed with their parent or spouse on bases or in occupation zones or other similar types of deployment.
- Finally, we are interested in speaking with family members who stayed home while their loved one was deployed who would be interested in talking about their experiences serving in that manner.
But I didn’t “do anything interesting”?
- But you did! This project is not about combat, but instead about the military experience. We are interested in why you joined the military, for instance. We are also interested in representing the range of military experiences, not just the experiences that get represented in popular culture. As a result, we want to hear about peacetime service, about daily, routine service at home and abroad.
What if I didn’t see combat?
- No problem. We are interested in hearing about military life on and off the battlefield and even military life during peacetime and in places where there was no battlefield nearby at all.
I’m not entirely sure I want to talk about my military service, but I’m kind of interested. Should I contact you? How much control do I have over this interview?
- Yes! Absolutely. First, we are happy to speak to you informally about your service or include photographs, medals, letters, certificates, etc. even if you are not interested in being interviewed. We are also happy to talk to you more about the project before you decide if you would like to be interviewed.
- Additionally, the interviews are friendly. If we ask a question you don’t want to answer, you can just let us know and we’ll skip it. You can also decide at the end of the interview that you would rather exclude a particular part of it. You sign a permission form allowing the interview to be part of the War Stories project and you can make a note at the end of the interview on that form that you would like part of it taken out.
- Finally, if there is anything we can do to make you more comfortable with the interview, please let us know when you contact us. We have several people who work for the project. If you would feel more comfortable speaking to another veteran, to a man, or a woman, etc, please just let us know. We can also complete the interview at the Angelo State Campus, at a partner location, via phone, or if you are close by, at your house.
What types of materials do you want?
- We are interested in all types of material. We are interested in photos, letters, diaries, memoirs, medals, certificates, and other similar items. We can also include images of physical objects, such as a flag or uniform.
Do I have to give you my materials to keep?
- No. We scan your documents and take photographs of physical objects. You then keep the item and we will send you a cd with the digital scans, so you have a copy to keep as well.
How long does this take?
- That varies a lot. Interviews are generally 1-2 hours, though some are shorter and some longer. Scanning is slow if you have a very long document or many photographs. You can opt to wait at our office or you can leave an item with us temporarily and then pick it up another day. We will need you to spend a small amount of time explaining the documents if you choose this option. If your items are very fragile, we will discuss with our archivist the best way to scan them without damaging them and this may require bringing the item to the Angelo State campus.
What sort of subjects do you want covered by this material?
- Any subject related to your service or to your loved one’s service. We are interested in here about the breadth of the military experience. Not just combat, but reasons for joining the service, what training was like, how military service affects family members, what the technology was like, what it was like to return to civilian life and other topics. Any materials relating to these experiences are welcome. If you are unsure if something would work, just contact us or bring it along when we meet and we can decide together.
Great. I would love to participate, but I can’t come to San Angelo. What are my options?
- If you can’t make it to San Angelo, contact us anyway. We are making several trips to other West Texas locations and making appointments during those visits. We can schedule an appointment with you for one of those visits. We can also discuss options with partner institutions if an appointment doesn’t work out. We can complete phone interviews as well. Contact us and we can discuss options depending on your circumstances and location.
What if I spot a mistake in a transcript or would like to clarify a point?
- Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Fixes/edits are relatively easy to make. Also, please contact us if you would like to add any additional material or explanations.
National Endowment For The Humanities
Created in 1965 as an independent federal agency, the NEH supports research and learning in history, literature, philosophy and other areas of the humanities by funding selected, peer-reviewed proposals from around the nation.