In 2008, the American West Center began the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans Oral History Project as an extension of “Saving the Legacy: An Oral History of Utah’s Veterans.” Over the previous decade “Saving the Legacy” oral historians recorded over 500 interviews with World War II veterans as well as a handful of interviews with veterans of the Korean War and the American War in Vietnam. The Iraq and Afghanistan veterans project builds on this experience and on that garnered from the almost 10,000 interviews Center researchers have taken over the last 40 years.

Our objective is to provide marines, soldiers, sailors, and Air Force personnel the opportunity to recount their service in these two conflicts while their memories are still relatively recent. Rather than focusing on tactical matters – the staple of the oral histories of these two conflicts taken by the military – we asked soldiers to reflect on the social and cultural dimensions of their time in uniform. The preponderance of interviews we’ve taken to date focus on the initial years of the Iraq war. We look forward to partnering with other men and women who have served in uniform to record their experience of other periods and aspects of these incredibly important conflicts.

  1. EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Marines, Sailors, Coast Guardsmen, Airmen and Soldiers unfurled an American Flag across the field during a pre-game ceremony before the New York Jets vs New England Patriots game, Nov. 13. The West Point Band performed at half time and 100 service members presented the large flag during the National Anthem. (Official Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Randall A. Clinton / RELEASED)