Earlier this year, StoryCorps traveled to Texas to record the stories of former military soldiers and officers as part of the Military Voices Initiative, an offshoot of the nonprofit’s greater mission to document the stories of everyday, ordinary Americans. The Military Voices Initiative focuses primarily on recording the stories of post-9/11 veterans, active-duty service members, and their families, and while the StoryCorps MobileBooth traveled the state, they captured tales of Texans living as soldiers and veterans in a post-9/11 world.

StoryCorps and KUT, Austin’s NPR affiliate, which airs StoryCorps segments on the radio, partnered with us to share these stories.

Stefanie Pelkey is a former Captain in the U.S. Army and a PTDS and suicide awareness advocate. In this interview, conducted with Pelkey’s friend and co-worker Thomas Hart, pictured with her below, she shares her story of getting engaged to her husband just a few days before 9/11. On the day of the attacks, right after telling their commanding officers about their engagement, Pelkey talks about how “everything changed.”

Jason Sprague spent twelve years in the Navy and the Army. When Rolonda Martin, an employment specialist interviewing Sprague, asks him about integrating back into civilian life, Sprague painfully recounts how his own daughter, who was three by the time he finished his tours in Iraq, didn’t know who he was. But he has no regrets about joining the military.

Malachi Muncy served in the National Guard from 2003 to 2006, and he was deployed twice to Iraq. In his interview, Muncy talks about his experiences at Under the Hood, a coffeehouse in Killeen, Texas, that acts as a community resource for soldiers and their family and friends can gather and discuss GI rights and referrals to counselors and other resources in the area. 

Photographer Erin Trieb interviewed her friend Adam Ramsey, a soldier deployed to Afghanistan. Erin worked as a war photographer documenting Adam’s platoon, and she continued to photograph Adam and his fellow soldiers after their return home. They talk about the insular world of being part of the military, and how difficult it is to explain the camaraderie and emotional effects to people after returning from a war environment. See Erin’s arresting photographs of the 10th Mountain Division’s 3rd Brigade Combat Team’s return to the United States and their struggle to readjust to civilian life.