In Their Own Words
The following interviews were conducted at the Digital Media Studio at Lehigh University. They all follow a general arc from enlistment, to training, military service, and discharge.
Evan Reibsome (1982 - ) joined the National Guard as a means of paying for college. At the time of September 11, 2001, Reibsome was an undergraduate at Lock Haven University. He was part of the ISG (Iraq Survey Group) and he was charged with looking for chemical, biological, and the nuclear weapons. Reibsome believes that there is already a draft in place, a poverty draft that targets certain individuals.
Colin Keefe enlisted in the United States Marine Corps prior to September 11th and was honorably discharged in 2003. His unit was charged with taking Gas Operation Separation Plants (GOSPs). Keefe is happy that he joined the Marines and feels he learned a lot and would want the same for his son. On the other hand, Keefe says that the idea of his son being in danger makes him much more appreciative of what his parents went through while he was deployed.
Christensen (1985 - ) joined the Marines as part of the high school DEBT program and attended boot camp in Parris Island, South Carolina. Upon completion, he reported to Marine Combat Training Camp Geiger in North Carolina. Christensen’s first deployment was to Fallujah and his second deployment was to Ramadi. He believes Marines face a huge stigma upon returning home.
Dan Zimpfer (1984-) enlisted in the United States Marine Corps via The Delayed Entry Program in 2003. After completing boot camp, Zimpfer then went to the School of Infantry at Camp Geiger. he was deployed to Kabul, Afghanistan and then to Fallujah, Iraq. A recipient of the Purple Heart, Zimpfer says that if he has children he would like them to go into the military because it makes you more mature and provides structure to your life.
Angry over the events of September 11th, Nied enlisted in the United States Army and his job was to assess and monitor signal communications. He was stationed in Landstuhl, Germany and says that the real casualties of war are the men who served in the Infantry on the front lines. He isn’t sure if the war was worth it in the end but says that he misses the bonds of brotherhood he experienced as a soldier.
Joel Blaxland (1978- ) served in the United States Army as part of an elite fighting force, the 75th Ranger Regiment. He believes that military training is like a two-pronged attack. Dehumanize the enemy and then dehumanize the soldier that is supposed to kill the enemy. Blaxland was interested in learning more about the Iraqis and the Afghans and often considered what he might do if the roles had been reversed. He was honorably discharged from the Army.