USM to preserve oral histories of 21st century Miss. National Guard soldiers

USM to preserve oral histories of 21st century Miss. National Guard soldiers

HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - A new project in the University of Southern Mississippi School of Humanities will feature oral and written histories of Mississippi National Guard soldiers who’ve served in conflicts in the 21st century.

The initiative is called, "War Stories: Preserving National Guard Voices" and it will archive the individual stories of Guard personnel in the Global War on Terror, Operation Iraqi Freedom, and Operation Enduring Freedom.

Faculty and graduate students are working on the project through USM’s Dale Center for the Study of War and Society.

“(National Guard soldiers’) memories are fresh, their experiences are extraordinary and now is a chance for us to capture those and share those with Mississippians, to share them with the National Guard, to share them across the academy for those who are into research,” said Kevin Greene, director of the Center for Oral History and Cultural Heritage at USM.

“With World War Two, Korea and Vietnam we just waited and then all of a sudden, all your veterans start dying and you realize, maybe we should’ve asked them some questions and it’s a little bit too late, so hopefully we can kind of nip that in the bud,” said Hayley Hasik, a history doctoral student at USM.

“It’s this wonderful way to access how everyday Mississippians experience, survive, wage war. What happens to their families on the home front, all of these questions. And they’ll all be housed in these digital archives that people are going to be able to access readily,” said Susannah Ural, professor of history and co-director of the Dale Center for the Study of War and Society.

“We hope to do similar things with the Revolutionary War, through our Revolutionary specialist, World War Two, World War One, there are so many Mississippi stories, especially, that have been either lost or ignored,” said Andrew Wiest, a professor of history and founding director of the Dale Center for the Study of War and Society.

Another “War Stories” initiative involves research on the papers of Mississippi governors from the Civil War and Reconstruction era.

The project will officially launch in October.

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