Interviewing a Veteran of the United States Armed Forces

Interviewing a Veteran of the United States Armed Forces. As though I was actually interviewing a Veteran.

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VETERANS INTERVIEW QUESTIONNAIRE NOTE: It is important that you familiarize yourself with these questions BEFORE you show up at the interview! Print this form off to take to the interview. Also save this form to your computer so you can type in the answers you gain in your interview. This form should be typed before you submit to me as an attachment. PART ONE: REQUIRED DATA ABOUT THE INTERVIEW This information frames the interview and gives future readers the “who, what, when and where” of your interview. Unlike the rest of the interview process, this is required information, so it is important to collect it at the beginning of the interview. Here is the required information you should collect at the beginning of your interview: NOTE: PLEASE RESPECT THE SECURITY OF YOUR INTERVIEWEE’S INFORMATION AND DO NOT ASK FOR PERSONAL INFORMATION SUCH AS A HOME ADDRESS, PHONE NUMBER, EMAIL ADDRESSES, OR NAMES OF OTHER FAMILY MEMBERS 1). Your (the “interviewer’s”) name. 2) The name of the person you are interviewing (the “interviewee”). 3). The date, town, and state where the interview is being given. 4). That the interview is being conducted for the 2014 Richland Oral History Project. Using the above information, the interview should always begin your interview with an introduction along these lines: “This is (YOUR name) and I am interviewing (The INTERVIEWEE’s name) on veterans’ experiences as part of the 2014 Richland Oral History Project. This interview took place on (Give the date) at (Give the location).” NOTE: the text in red in the following questionnaire is provided for you, the interviewer, as information to guide your questions, and are NOT a part of the interview question. You will then introduce the person you are interviewing by asking them to provide the following information: 5). Please state your date and place of birth 6). What were your parents’ occupations and the number and gender of their children (the interviewee’s brothers and sisters). Note: avoid asking for their specific names for privacy reasons 7). What were the dates of your service, and in what branch did you serve? 8). What was the highest rank you achieved? 9). Please tell me what you were doing before you entered the service. 10). Did you have any other members of your family serve in the military? Below are a series of topics for questions that are designed to help the person you interview tell their story. This does not have to be followed exactly, but is an outline that you may find helpful. While these are framed to give a relatively comprehensive coverage of the military experience your interviewee should always be allowed to tell the story in their own way if they so desire. REMEMBER: KEEP THE CONVERSATIONAL TONE INFORMAL AND FRIENDLY, LIKE A CONVERSATION BETWEEN TWO NEW FRIENDS! FOR YOUR PART, ENCOURAGE THEM TO TALK, TO EXPLAIN THINGS IN GREATER DETAIL, TO EXPAND BEYOND THESE BASIC QUESTIONS BELOW AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE. BE ENTHUSIASTIC AND INTERESTED IN WHAT YOUR INTERVIEWEE HAS TO SAY! PART TWO: INTERVIEW QUESTIONS Enlistment and Training 1). How did you enter the service? (it would be either by enlisting, or being drafted) 2). (ASK THIS IF THE VETERAN ENLISTED) What were the reasons that caused you to enlist? 3). (ASK THIS IF THE VETERAN ENLISTED) What was the reason you chose the specific branch of service you enlisted in? 4). (ASK THIS IF THE VETERAN ENLISTED) Did you enlist for specific training? (IF THE ANSWER IS “YES”) Why did that M.O.S. appeal to you? (an M.O.S. is the specific military title for various service-related occupations: mechanic, infantryman, pilot, etc.) 5). What was your occupational specialty (their M.O.S.) in the service? 6). Please describe for me what it was like adapting to military life: What were the challenges of basic training? What was barracks life like? How was military food? What kind of social life was there on post? What did you think about being separated from home and friends? Experiences After Training 1). Where were your permanent duty stations during your enlistment? 2) What units were you assigned to at those locations, and what was your job/assignment at each of them? 3). If you served during wartime, which in which war(s) did you serve? (WWII, Korea, The Cold War 1945-1992, Vietnam, the Persian Gulf/Afghanistan) (NOTE: IF A VETERAN WAS ON ACTIVE DUTY DURING ANY WARTIME PERIOD, WHETHER THEY WERE IN A COMBAT UNIT OR A NON-COMBAT ONE, THEY ARE STILL CONSIDERED TO HAVE SERVED IN THAT WAR) 4). Did you see combat during your enlistment? (If the answer is NO, SKIP TO QUESTION 6) 5). (IF A COMBAT VET) I realize that it is often difficult to describe combat experiences, but if you are willing, please share with me those that you wish to be a part of this interview. (IF THE VET IS WILLING TO TALK, TRY AND GET AS MUCH DETAIL AS THEY ARE WILLING TO RELATE ABOUT THEIR POSTINGS AND THE COMBAT ENGAGEMENTS THEY WERE IN. NO DETAIL IN THIS CATEGORY IS TOO INSIGNIFICANT, INCLUDING WHAT IT WAS LIKE IN A COMBAT ZONE EVEN WHEN THE BULLETS WEREN’T FLYING!) 6). Tell me all about your most memorable non-combat experiences during your career as a serviceman (or woman)? 7) Please tell me what medals or citations you were awarded during your service career. Active-Duty Service Life 1). How did you stay in touch with your family? 2). What was the food like? 3). How did you feel about the support for you and your comrades by Americans back at home? 4). Was there something special you did for “good luck”? 5). How did you and your friends entertain themselves? 6). What did you do when on leave? 7). Please tell me about any particularly humorous or unusual events that you experienced during your time in the service. 8). What were some of the pranks that you or others would pull on each other? 9). Do you have any photographs or souvenirs from your time in the service that you would like to show me? (Note: do not ask to keep any photos or other souvenirs that the interviewee shows you!) 10). (IF PHOTOGRAPHS) Who are the people/things/location in the photographs? 11.) What did you think of your officers and sergeants? 12) What did you think of your fellow soldiers in general? 13). Who of your fellow soldiers left a particularly memorable impression on you? (IF THERE ARE ANY THE VETERAN IDENTIFIES) Please tell me about them. 14). Did you keep a personal diary while you were in the service? After Service 1). What did you go on to do as a career after you left the service? 2). Did your military experience influence your thinking about war or about the military in general? 3}. Are you in a veteran’s organization? (IF THEY ARE IN ONE) What kinds of activities does your post or association have? 4). Please tell me how your service experiences have affected your life The Final Question 1). Is there anything you would like to add that we have not covered in this interview?

Interviewing a Veteran

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