Vets’ Voices


Kate Hoit, Army vet, based in Balad, Iraq

“You try to put the pieces back in the puzzle … and I didn’t fit in.”

During her deployment, Hoit felt like she grew up. She also grew distant from her boyfriend.


Heidi Wolff, Navy vet, based in Newport News, VA

“While on active duty you are sexually harassed every single day … it’s a boys’ club.”

Wolff worked 15-hour days serving aboard the USS Carl Vinson in Newport News, Va. Now, in civilian life, she’s adjusting to the professional workforce environment.


Jack Walin, Army vet, based in eastern Afghanistan

“It does not in any way, shape or form mean that you cannot be a functioning member of society.”

Walin talks about the media’s perception of PTSD.


Ryden Ishida, Army vet, based at the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad, Iraq

“I remember hearing the shell casings just ring out on the asphalt and that was this really powerful moment for me. At that point, I knew I was going to serve.”

The death of Ishida’s grandfather inspired him to enlist in the Army.

This project, produced by journalism students at American University, explores the experiences of young veterans as they transition from soldiers to citizens.

Word Clouds From Veteran Survey


What did you miss the most about home?
What did you miss2


Why did you enlist?
Why did you enlist in the military.


From soldier to civilian - what problems did you face?
Challenge of transitioning to civilian life


What difficulties did you face upon returning to college?
Difficulties on returning to college

Word Cloud From Non-Veteran Survey

What challenges do vets face coming home? Non-vets

Top 5 questions veterans told ‘Half the Battle’ they hate being asked:

- Did you kill anyone?
- Do you have PTSD?
- Did you see anybody die?

- Did you get shot at?

- Was it hot?



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