Making History Project
"Preserving Veterans' Stories"
501(c)(3) Non-Profit Organization

82nd Airborne Archive

Afghanistan War Veteran Oral History

SSG Justin GrahamThe full oral history interview of Afghanistan War Veteran, SSG Justin Graham, has been uploaded to the Making History Project website.

The oral history interview took place on November 5, 2016 during the 10th Anniversary Reunion for the 508 Parachute Infantry Regiment of the 82nd Airborne.

SSG Justin Graham is a paratrooper for the 82nd Airborne, 508 PIR and served in three deployments to Afghanistan.  Check out the full oral history interview on the Veteran Oral History Interviews webpage.

508 PIR Association Veterans Panel Video

508 PIR Association Veterans PanelBusy Times…

It has been a very busy few months.  This is why updates have been less regular than normal.  Besides being lead counsel for an ethics trial, I recently wrapped up an oral history project on behalf of the archives for a medical association.  While working on that, I attended the 10th Annual Reunion for the 508 Parachute Infantry Regiment Association of the 82nd Airborne in Charleston, South Carolina.

508 PIR Association 10th Annual Reunion

While at the 508 PIR Association reunion, I was able to make a presentation to the membership concerning the benefits and goals of the Making History Project.  On the final day of the Reunion, I conducted two additional Veterans oral history interviews.

508 PIR Association Veterans Panel

After my initial presentation to the membership, I filmed a Veterans Panel that was assembled of paratroopers from the 82nd Airborne.  This unique Veterans Panel included Veterans from World War II, the Korean War, and the Afghanistan War.

It was fascinating to hear the contrasting experiences of these Veterans in terms of how things have changed but somehow also remain the same for paratroopers.  The Veterans Panel video has now been uploaded in its entirety and can be viewed on the Veteran Oral History Interviews page.

Day Three: 508 PIR Association Reunion

508PIR Banquet

Rock Merritt and Ernie Lawson

Oral History Presentation

Veterans Day is the perfect day to share an update for last Saturday’s events at the 508 Parachute Infantry Regiment Association Reunion.  On that day, I conducted an audio and video presentation to the membership.  My presentation focused on the progress of my oral history interviews and why preserving the legacy of all Veterans is important.  After my presentation, I filmed a panel discussion of 508 PIR Veterans and current service members.  The panel discussion focused on comparing and contrasting experiences and military service across the different eras.

508 PIR Oral History Interviews

Continuing that busy day, I later had the privilege to complete two oral history interviews.  The first interview was with Brodie Hand, a World War II Veteran who served in 508 Company C, 82nd Airborne Division.  Corporal Hand participated in the Normandy campaign as a paratrooper and subsequently was captured and became a POW for the rest of the war.  The second interview was with Justin Graham, an active duty service member with the 508 PIR, 82nd Airborne.  SSG Graham has been deployed three times to Afghanistan, in 2010, 2012, and 2014.  It was fantastic that these two heroes took the time to speak with me.  I was equally delighted to be able to compare and contrast a World War II Veteran with a current soldier.  What I can say definitively is that they both love their country, want the best for their country, and believe in the duty, honor, and respect.

508 PIR Dinner Banquet

The 508 PIR Association Reunion concluded that evening with a wonderful dinner banquet and was attended by a color guard of the 82nd Airborne as well as by many of active duty service members in their “dress blues”.  Looking forward to more good times next year when we meet again in Fort Bragg for the 2017 Reunion.  Airborne all the way!

 

508 PIR Oral History Inteview for Brodie Hand

CPL Brodie Hand

 

508 PIR oral history interview for Justin Graham

SSG Justin Graham