Culture

American Veteran: Keep It Close

American Veteran: Keep it Close delves into the Veteran experience by exploring the significance of objects that veterans carried with them or brought back home from their service. Hosted by Shain Brenden, a former medic in the US Navy who served multiple tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan with the Marines, the series asks what these objects meant, and why they still matter today.

What ‘Don’t Ask Don’t Tell’ Means to This Gay Veteran

5m 45s

Janessa Goldbeck was an out, queer woman when she joined the Marines. Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell was still in place, forcing her to hide her true self from others. After its official repeal, she was able to bring her authentic self to her service and help educate others about LGBTQ issues. She kept the DADT contract as a reminder that pushing for change goes hand in hand with being a patriot.

Episodes

  • What ‘Don’t Ask Don’t Tell’ Means to This Gay Veteran: asset-mezzanine-16x9

    What ‘Don’t Ask Don’t Tell’ Means to This Gay Veteran

    S2021 E10 - 5m 45s

    Janessa Goldbeck was an out, queer woman when she joined the Marines. Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell was still in place, forcing her to hide her true self from others. After its official repeal, she was able to bring her authentic self to her service and help educate others about LGBTQ issues. She kept the DADT contract as a reminder that pushing for change goes hand in hand with being a patriot.

  • This Marine Keeps Ticking Against All Odds – Like His Watch: asset-mezzanine-16x9

    This Marine Keeps Ticking Against All Odds – Like His Watch

    S2021 E9 - 5m 54s

    Marine veteran Saul Monroy was deployed in Afghanistan when he was severely injured in a truck explosion. His watch was found in the debris, still ticking. After dozens of surgeries and a lengthy recovery, Saul’s leg was amputated. He is now a member of the USA Patriots softball team, which is made up of amputee players, and he keeps moving forward, just like his watch.

  • How A Toy Car Helps This Veteran Persevere: asset-mezzanine-16x9

    How A Toy Car Helps This Veteran Persevere

    S2021 E8 - 5m 49s

    Patricia Harris was in the Army for more than two decades. When stationed in Germany she experienced sexual harassment on active duty and domestic violence at home. The one place she found solace was in her red VW beetle. When she later deployed to Desert Shield/Desert Storm, she carried a replica of the car with her. Today the toy serves as a constant reminder of hope and freedom.

  • This Vet Fought for Inclusive Hair Standards in the Army: asset-mezzanine-16x9

    This Vet Fought for Inclusive Hair Standards in the Army

    S2021 E7 - 6m 55s

    As a cadet at West Point Andrea Peters went to great lengths to make her textured hair conform to Army regulations and standards. The regulations prevented her from fully expressing her individuality and affected her sense of self. Andrea’s hair pick serves as a reminder that though regulations have eased over the years, there is still progress to be made.

  • In Iran They Left Hostages Behind; One Veteran Kept The Maps: asset-mezzanine-16x9

    In Iran They Left Hostages Behind; One Veteran Kept The Maps

    S2021 E6 - 6m 14s

    Wade Ishimoto served in the Army and was the intelligence officer for Operation Eagle Claw, the failed rescue attempt of 52 hostages at the U.S. Embassy in Tehran in 1980. Wade continued to work in intelligence, determined to teach soldiers to learn from their mistakes. He kept the evacuation maps from the failed mission as a reminder of resilience and the importance of building from failure.

  • What a Stuffed Bunny Means to This Military Family: asset-mezzanine-16x9

    What a Stuffed Bunny Means to This Military Family

    S2021 E5 - 5m 22s

    Yolanda Mayo was in the Marines for three decades. When she deployed to Afghanistan, her husband sent her a stuffed bunny for Easter. It became her son’s first toy then her daughter’s. A decade later Yolanda was called back into active duty, and her children insisted she take the bunny on her deployment to Iraq. For Yolanda and her family, the bunny represents freedom and home.

  • How Rap and a Broken Mic Help This Iraq Vet Survive: asset-mezzanine-16x9

    How Rap and a Broken Mic Help This Iraq Vet Survive

    S2021 E4 - 6m 55s

    During his deployment in Iraq, Army Veteran Jeff “Soldier Hard” Barillaro recorded rap music as a form of stress relief. Once a civilian, his music helped keep him grounded and gave him an outlet for the difficult emotions raised by his time in combat. Today, he keeps his old microphone from Iraq as a reminder of that time, and he works with other veterans to heal through music.

  • What a Small Gift From a Civilian Means to This Army Veteran: asset-mezzanine-16x9

    What a Small Gift From a Civilian Means to This Army Veteran

    S2021 E3 - 5m 17s

    Clara Driscoll was an Army officer for more than two decades. In Kosovo early in her career she met an Albanian woman who gave her a vial of lip gloss, a gesture of kindness Clara has never forgotten. Later, in Afghanistan, she wore an abaya as a sign of respect for the local population. Clara’s service taught her about the importance of seeking human connections and looking beyond differences.

  • This Native American Veteran Carried a Pebble Into War: asset-mezzanine-16x9

    This Native American Veteran Carried a Pebble Into War

    S2021 E2 - 5m 21s

    Harvey Pratt is a Cheyenne-Arapaho Indigenous American who served in the Marines during the Vietnam War. Lessons from his elders, such as putting a pebble in his mouth to help stave off thirst, helped him thrive and look after his fellow soldiers in Vietnam. These teachings benefited him throughout his successful career in law enforcement, giving him strength and support.

  • This Native American Veteran Carried a Pebble Into War: asset-mezzanine-16x9

    This Native American Veteran Carried a Pebble Into War

    S2021 E2 - 5m 21s

    Harvey Pratt is a member of the Cheyenne, Arapaho, and Sioux Tribes, who served in the Marines during the Vietnam War. Lessons from his elders, such as putting a pebble in his mouth to help stave off thirst, helped him thrive and look after his fellow soldiers in Vietnam. These teachings benefited him throughout his successful career in law enforcement, giving him strength and support.

  • The Unbreakable Bond Between a Combat Veteran and His Puppy: asset-mezzanine-16x9

    The Unbreakable Bond Between a Combat Veteran and His Puppy

    S2021 E1 - 6m 56s

    When U.S. Air Force Staff Sergeant Amjad “A.J.” Kirrish deployed to Syria, he didn’t expect to fall in love — let alone with an orphaned puppy. “Harley” and A.J. quickly bonded, and she became a source of comfort and stability for A.J. As his deployment wrapped up, A.J. began making plans to bring Harley back home to the U.S. with him. What came next proved to be a harrowing journey…

Extras + Features

  • Trailer: asset-mezzanine-16x9

    Trailer

    1m 3s

    Each episode of American Veteran: Keep It Close tells the story of a veteran and a special object the veteran had during deployment and beyond. These objects, ranging from a puppy to a vial of lip gloss, have provided everyday comfort and hope to the veterans — and offer civilians a window into the veteran experience.

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