Oral history project gives veterans a voice

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Military veterans have stories to tell, and UT Arlington is listening. The University recently launched Maverick Veterans’ Voices, an oral history project highlighting the experiences of veterans and their loved ones.

There isn’t a lot of attention given to veterans’ family members as a primary source of documentation,” says Kimberly van Noort, associate dean of the College of Liberal Arts and architect of the digital humanities project. “But if we can get a soldier’s wife, widow, or adult children to talk to us about the challenges they’ve faced, then this can really be something special.”

The first veterans interviewed were the 2013 inductees into the Military Science Hall of Honor, retired Col. Archie Davis and Al Ellis. The UT Arlington Library will transcribe these and future interviews to create an online repository for scholarly research and the public.

Social work Associate Professor Alexa Smith-Osborne, who consulted on Maverick Veterans’ Voices, says the project will spotlight service members’ parents, siblings, adult children, wives, partners, and widows.

The reality of military service is that service members’ families serve their country in a complementary fashion to the service members themselves,” Dr. Smith-Osborne says.

UT Arlington has a rich military tradition. The institution was Carlisle Military Academy from 1902–1913 and Arlington Military Academy from 1916–1917. Male students were required to participate in the Cadet Corps until 1954. Today’s Maverick Battalion has about 120 students, and more than 2,800 military veterans are currently enrolled.

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