Aaron enlisted into the Michigan Army National Guard after high school in 1999. He started his military career as a Forward Observer, later changing to a Field Artillery Surveyor. He deployed to Iraq in 2005, where he served as a guard at the Baghdad Central Collection Facility better known as Abu Ghraib. He currently lives in Minneapolis, MN with his wife Jessica. He enjoys the outdoors, motorcycle riding and is an active member at his local V.F.W. Post. He is currently attending Saint Paul College, where is working towards a degree in land survey technology.
Ahmed was in his final year of college in Baghdad when the United States invaded Iraq in 2003. He worked as a journalist and teacher before fleeing Iraq and coming to Minneapolis, Minnesota in 2010. He currently lives in Minneapolis with his wife and three children. He continues to be passionate about journalism and teaching.
Ali, a graduate of the Engineering College of Babylon University, 2005, worked as a civil engineer in various cities throughout Iraq, including Babylon, Najaf, and Basra, from September 2005 to March 2012. He planned, designed, and supervised the construction of hospitals, water treatment plants, and schools.
Ali left his family and homeland behind in April 2012, arriving in Minneapolis, Minnesota, looking to further opportunities for his nuclear family as well as for himself. He lives alone, studies the English language, and plans to attend American University in order to establish a universal reciprocity for his engineering degrees.
Ali enjoys sitting by the lake, reflecting on life, on his past. Ali is beginning a journey of self-reflection and finding his voice in creative writing.
Alia is a medical student studying in the United States. She is a refugee and survivor of the 2003 Iraq war.
Alia likes to draw, has one dog and lives with an American family. She plays pool and chess because she loves to be challenged and to challenge people. Alia enjoys photography and filming. This is the first book she has ever written.
Aloysius “Ali” Nelson was born in St. Catherine, Jamaica and raised in Deerfield Beach, Florida. He enlisted in the United States Navy in December 1981 and graduated from the U.S. Navy Senior Enlisted Academy in Newport, Rhode Island in 2002, when he was selected for the Command Master Chief Program in June 2003, in which he served until June 30, 2010.
Ali Nelson earned his Combat Action Ribbon onboard USS MOBILE BAY during the first Gulf War in 1991, supporting Operation Desert Shield and Desert Storm. He also served in Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom onboard USS ENTERPRISE and USS AUSTIN. His certifications included Enlisted Surface Warfare Specialist, Enlisted Aviation Warfare Specialist and Master Training Specialist. His personal awards include the Meritorious Service Medal (two awards) Navy Commendation Medal (five awards), Navy Achievement Medal (five awards), among others.
He earned his Master of Arts degree from Webster University, Bachelor of Science from Southern Illinois University and Associates of Arts Degree from Coastline Community College . Ali is currently working on his doctoral degree in Higher Education and Organizational Change at Benedictine University, Lisle, IL.
On September 1, 2011 Ali was appointed as the Racine County Veterans Service Officer, responsible for a county population of 16,000 veterans. He and his wife, Terina, have three adult children and live in Kenosha, Wisconsin
Chante S. Wolf served in the U.S. Air Force from 1980 – 1992 where she was trained as an Air Traffic Controller, then cross-trained into Top Secret Telecommunications/Cryptographic and Computer Security. Additionally she worked on the Honor Guard and the Base Exercise Evaluation Teams. During her 12 years in the service Chante was stationed at Keesler AFB, MS; McCord Air Force Base, WA; Zaragoza Air Base, Spain; Eskasher, Turkey; Williams Air Force Base, AZ; King Fhad International Airport, Saudi Arabia for her deployment in support of the Persian Gulf War from January 10th to March 15th 1991. Chante currently lives in Minneapolis, MN where she is a photographer, an active member of Veterans For Peace, a volunteer at Freedom Farm Therapeutic Horse Riding (a program for women veterans), a facilitator with the Combat Paper Project, and a writer with the Warrior Writers and War Veterans Book Workshop.
Damian Bramlett served in both active duty and the National Guard from 2001 – 2005. He was attached to Bravo Company, 1-184th Infantry (Air Assault), 29th Separate Infantry Brigade (SIB) and functioned in a number of capacities including rifleman, assistant gunner, radiotelephone operator (RTO) and team leader. This book is based around his experiences during a 2004-2005 Iraq deployment with the 1-184th.
Damian currently lives in San Jose, CA where he is completing his master’s degree in justice studies, with an emphasis on social justice. His plans are to pursue a PhD in sociology, as well as a career in writing and teaching. He still reads comic books and still watches cartoons.
Don Hirsch is 63 years old (he was born the same year as the first flying saucer sighting). He dropped out of high school and spent four years in the U.S. Navy. Three of those years he spent aboard the destroyer U.S.S. George K. McKenzie, which was frequently involved in the shore bombardment of North Vietnam, and spent one year of volunteer shore duty in Vietnam on a river patrol boat barge, located North of Da Nang.
Upon leaving the military he wrote several novels, newspaper articles and Internet magazine essays for the American Populist Review. He traveled extensively throughout the United States, supporting himself as a Dishware Maintenance Technician. He currently lives in Portland, OR where he is a jazz kazooist, retired, a bachelor with a penchant for living in sin, and a bibliomaniac.
Drew Cameron is originally from Iowa City, Iowa. He left home to enlist into the US Army after graduating from high school in 2000. After finishing his military commitment he moved to Vermont to pursue academic studies in forestry. He found hand paper-making as an outlet and practice. Along with other artists and veterans he now teaches veterans to make paper from their uniforms. Traveling with their project throughout the country they aim to encourage others to do the same. www.combatpaper.org
Ehren served with MP Co Hq Bn 1st Marine Division during Desert Shield and Desert Storm and was part of Task Force Ripper. He later volunteered for service on Marine Security Guard duty in Rome for 15 months, and then in Paris for 15 months.
Ehren currently lives in Berkeley, CA. He works as the “Senior Laboratory Mechinician” at UC-Berkeley and is a visiting lecturer of ceramics in the Department of Art Practice. He is very grateful to be married with a child.
Ehren often stays up after 2AM making his cups and has shown them internationally. Since 2001, he has given away more than 10,600 of them. He has also sold a few, mostly in Germany. Ehren hopes to make the world a smaller and more humane place by sharing things hand-to-hand with an abstract community of people (who now own his cups).
I’m Hilwah, and I came from the old country of Tigris and Euphrates (Iraq). I don’t directly write about Iraq because it would be such a sad and long story. So I talk about Syria, where I lived for a few years. I use non-fiction poems in my book to talk about how life was, how I see it and how I dream it. I now live in the United States, which I love. It is my home, too. It is the new garden where I’ve met many beautiful flowers (people) who have helped me along the way.
If you would like to ask me about my book, you can contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ian Sharpe served in the United States Air Force from July 2001 to November 2006 as an Information Manager assigned to the 60th Maintenance Group, Travis Air Force Base, California. Ian was sent to Diego Garcia and United Arab Emirates in support of Operation Enduring Freedom after the 9-11 attacks.
In January 2005, he was deployed to Balad Air Base, Iraq and served as a Postmaster with the 332 Expeditionary Communications Squadron. Ian was honorably discharged in November 2006 with the rank of Staff Sergeant.
In 2006, Ian obtained an AAS in Information Management from the Community College of the Air Force and a BS from Southern Illinois University, School of Engineering in 2007. Ian currently works for a technology company in San Francisco and is an active member of many community organizations.
Isaac Torres served on active duty Army from 2004 through 2011; he was medically retired due to visible and invisible injuries, including PTSD, TBI and combat knee injuries in Iraq. Isaac was deployed with the 49th Transportation Battalion out of Ft. Hood, TX. His responsibility was as a Movement Control Specialist, distributing Equipment and supplies and troops into different parts of Iraq. He served in Baghdad and moved through different FOB sites such as Balad, Al Asad, and Trebil, Iraq.
Isaac currently resides in Colorado Springs, CO, where he is involved in the Military Creative Expressions art therapy course at Bemis School of Art. This is an art therapy class designed for service members that suffer from PTSD/TBI. He also volunteers with Aspen Pointe in their art therapy program. He is enrolled in school for Web Design, which will begin May of 2011. He is also in the process of opening a coffee shop/art gallery to help others that have suffered from PTSD. Expose Your Art will follow in the footsteps of art therapy and will promote all service members coming back from the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan but will also be open to the public. For more information about this coffee shop, his current and future work, visit his website at www.exposeyourart.com.
Jane Fee lives in Milwaukee, WI with her husband David. She is the mother to two remarkable young men. She is also blessed to be a grandmother. She is a docent at the Milwaukee Art Museum. She still loves history and hopes that her proofreading days are over.
James Fee served in the U.S. Army on Active Duty from June 2005 through December 2009. He left Active Duty with the rank of Captain. In February 2006, after completion of Officer Basic Course, he joined the 172nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team in Mosul, Iraq, and remained with them through the unit’s extension and movement to Baghdad until November 2006. Upon redeployment to Alaska, the brigade was reflagged as 1st Brigade, 25th Infantry Division, Stryker Brigade Combat Team. He served as the battalion intelligence officer for 1st Battalion, 24th Infantry from February 2007 until December 2009. The brigade deployed to Diyala province, Iraq from September 2008 until August 2009. He left Active Duty in December 2009 and served through December 2011 in the U.S. Army Reserves. He now works as an Intelligence Analyst for the U.S. Department of Justice. He lives in Brookfield, WI with his wife Katie and daughter Claire.
Jesse Albrecht served in the Wisconsin and Iowa National Guard from 1996 through 2006, when he was honorably discharged. He enlisted and served in Charlie Battery, 1/120th Field Artillery as a cannon crewmember in Stevens Point, Wisconsin.
He was deployed with Alpha Company, 109th Area Support Medical Battalion, to Iraq and Kuwait from April 2003 – 2004 where he was a combat medic with the 101st Airborne (Air Assault) Division. Jesse currently lives in Iowa City, Iowa where he works as an artist, yoga and ceramics instructor, and janitor at the VA hospital.
Jim Wilson grew up in Waupaca, Wisconsin before heading east to attend the United States Military Academy. After graduation from West Point in 2004, Jim served most of his time as a military intelligence officer in the U.S. Army. He deployed to Pakistan for Operation Lifeline and Iraq for Operation Iraqi Freedom as an intelligence officer for 2-227 Aviation of the 1st Cavalry Division. Jim then spent a year on division staff with the 2nd Infantry Division in Korea. In 2009, Jim transitioned from active duty to the reserves and is currently a graduate student at the Stanford Graduate School of Business in Palo Alto, California.
Jon Turner was an infantryman with 3rd Battalion, 8th Marines serving two tours to Iraq and four months in Haiti. He enlisted at the age of 17 in between his junior and senior years of high school, leaving for Parris Island shortly after his graduation in August of 2003. Jon served four years and three months in the Marine Corps before being medically discharged, honorably, for Post Traumatic Stress in October of 2007. He currently lives in Vermont away from the social madness with his partner and dogs. Jon co-manages Green Door Studio in between travels with Combat Paper and Warrior Writers. He has obtained his second Reiki attunement with hopes to achieve more healing for himself and others while picking up bits and pieces from natural healing medicine practiced in the Native American and Buddhist traditions.
He has self-published his first book of poetry under his press name, Seven Star Press, titled Eat the Apple. The book is a collection of 29 poems relating to his time in and after war. Jon is now working on his second book, titled Plant the Seed, and is helping local poets put together their own DIY poetry books. Two of his poems have recently been selected for an anthology with the Revolutionary Poets Brigade of San Francisco. His website is www.sevenstarart.com.
Joseph P.W. Vigil Jr. lives in Pueblo, West Colorado with his wife Grace and their dog Tuzic. His family has been in Colorado for as long as he can remember. Joseph has been in the CO Army National Guard for 30 years. He had the rare honor of serving with both his dad and his son in the same unit. Joseph has been mobilized several times for Katrina, blizzards, hurricanes, 9-11 and the war in Iraq, but he has never seen combat. He volunteered to go to Iraq so he could be with his son, taking a voluntary reduction in rank to do it, but that is when they found the cancer. Joe says, “I will always feel like serving in combat is a debt I will always owe that I will never be able to pay.” Joe is currently in the WTU (Warrior Transition Unit) still waiting for his MEB (Medical Evaluation Board) to be medically discharged from the military. In his civilian life, Joe is a Correctional Officer for the state of Colorado. If he’s not tying a knot in something, then he’s doing his second favorite things – hunting and fishing.
Juliet Madsen joined the Army in 1988 when she was 17, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Her military jobs included Pharmacy Technician, Patient Administration and Combat Medic (EMT-B, EMT-I, EMT-P). She was also a lead Paramedic and trained military EMT. Juliet has served at military bases in many states and in Saudi Arabia in Desert Storm/Shield as well as Operation Iraqi Freedom. During Juliet’s last deployment to Iraq with the 82nd Airborne, she was injured and retired from the United States Army after 17 years of service. She and her husband and children live in Colorado. Juliet continues to serve the veteran communities with her charity quilts that she uses to raise money for disabled veterans all over the world.
Katinka lives and works in Milwaukee, WI where she is currently pursuing a doctorate in Medical Anthropology at the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee. Her research focuses on the influence of the Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) label on the everyday experiences of veterans. Specifically, she is concerned with the role that stigma plays in seeking a PTSD diagnosis, pursuing and adhering to treatment and readjusting to civilian life. It is this research and the emotional connections she has made with the people in her study that led her to be involved in the Veteran’s Book Project.
Katrina Levi joined the National Guard in 2001. She served from 2001-2009. She was activated at Ft McCoy in 2002 and served as an active duty soldier from 2001-2004. Levi currently works as an artist and designer.
Kim Schultz is a New York based actress and writer. She has performed at New York and national credits include: Guthrie Theatre, Childrens’ Theatre Co., Theatre de la Jeune Lune, Hamptons Shakespeare Festival, 3LD, Themantics Group and The Zipper Factory Theatre. In 2007, Kim wrote and performed a critically acclaimed autobiographical solo show off-Broadway called, “The F Trip.” And after traveling to the Middle East in the fall of 2009, Kim was commissioned to write a play to draw attention to the Iraqi refugee crisis. “No Place Called Home” was directed by Sarah Cameron and is currently touring nationally. Kim also teaches improvisation for people and organizations wishing to change their lives and laugh more. Since meeting with Iraqi refugees, her life has been forever changed.
For more on the play, “No Place Called Home”: www.omarwashisname.blogspot.com
For more on Kim: www.kimschultz.net
Liann Meyer lives in Helena, Montana with her husband Mark. They are very proud of their son, SSgt. Clint Meyer. Liann is the founder and president of Montana Supporting Soldiers. She is dedicated to supporting our troops, wounded warriors, veterans and their families. If you would like more information about Montana Supporting Soldiers, including how to become involved, go to http://www.mtsupportingsoldiers.com
Luke Leonard joined the Army in 2000. He served in South Korea from 2000 -2002, after which he was deployed to Iraq from 2003 – 2004. He has served nine years in the military and is currently an officer in the Minnesota National Guard. Luke lives in Saint Paul, MN with his lovely wife, Sarah, and their cat Perseus.
Mary-Ann Rich served 36 years in the US Army. She joined the Service in 1972. Raising her right hand in Oakland CA on her 18th birthday; she was prepared to become an Army Nurse because of how the Vietnam War affected her community. With 36 years of service she had 9 total Active Duty and the rest in Reserves before she retired as a Lieutenant Colonel. Her duty stations included: Walter Reed Army Institute of Nursing, Washington DC; Letterman Army Medical Center, Presidio San Francisco, CA; 347th Reserve General Hospital, Sunnyvale, CA; 352nd Reserve Combat Support Hospital, Oakland, CA; and 399th Reserve Combat Support Hospital, MA.
From June 2006-0ctober 2007 Mary-Ann was deployed as part of Operation Iraqi Freedom with the 399th CSH to Tikrit, Iraq. There her assigned position was Officer in charge of the Operating room (OIC). Remaining in San Jose, CA were her three children Dylan, Maggie and Wes, ages 25, 24, 21.
Mary-Ann has included some videos made during the deployment to Iraq on her web site: http://web.me.com/maryann.rich/Mary-Ann/Mary-Ann.html
Michael Grant Simon was born in Columbia, Missouri and moved to Minnesota to attend college. He studied Management and History. After working as a sales professional and receiving his Masters in International Business, Michael enlisted in the Minnesota Army National Guard as a Signal Support Specialist. He served in Iraq from April 2006 to July 2007. Michael had a large brain tumor that was discovered a year after his return from Iraq. He now lives in Stillwater, Minnesota with his wife. They are looking to adopt their first child. He is using his sales background to help expand a start-up family business.
Mike Jackson served in the Wisconsin Army National Guard from February 2002 through 2010, when he was honorably discharged. He enlisted in Charlie Battery 126th Field Artillery located in Racine, WI.
His unit was attached to Charlie Battery 120th Field Artillery and deployed with it, being ordered to active duty in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. Mike served in both Kuwait and Iraq for short periods of time, spending the majority of his deployment in Baghdad, Iraq supporting US and Iraqi Special Forces in Area 4.
Mike currently lives in Milwaukee, where he works in alternative-to-corrections programs helping troubled youth.
Nancy Sharbonno’s son, Riley, served as an Army Nurse at Abu Ghraib Prison in Iraq from 2004-2005. The only thing greater than her pride in him was the fear that she may lose him. “It was the longest year of my life and an experience that has given me a new view of the world, compassion for all those who were not as fortunate to have their son or daughter return and many questions regarding prospects for peace in our world.” Her home is in St. Cloud, Minnesota were she is reminded each time she sees Riley’s little girl, her granddaughter, how blessed she is.
Riley served as a captain in the Army from 2002 – 2008. He graduated from St. John’s University in Collegeville, MN in 2002 with a B.S. in Nursing. After graduating, he joined the Army and started a three-year tour, stationed first in Germany. From there he was deployed to Iraq and was assigned to be one of two RN’s in an E.R. within Abu Ghraib Prison. After 12 months, he was redeployed to Germany, where he met his wife, Bianca. In October 2005 he was assigned to Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio, TX as a staff/charge R.N. On May 4th, 2007, he resigned his commission as a captain in The Army and moved back to Minnesota. Riley currently lives in Minneapolis, MN with his wife and daughter and works as the Assistant Nurse Manager of the Emergency Room at The University of Minnesota Medical Center and University of MN Amplatz Children’s Hospital.
Nathan Lewis joined the Army straight out of high school. September 11, 2001, was his second day of boot camp. The towers fell and the Drill Sergeants were right; war was just around the corner. Nathan grew up in the small town of Barker, New York. There they hung yellow ribbons on all the trees to honor the many young service members from the area. Nathan’s picture hung in the center of the school, surrounded by flags. Nathan joined Iraq Veterans Against the War after he got out of the military. He recently played a role as a U.S. soldier in the movie Green Zone. He currently lives in Ithaca, New York and is building a veteran’s community where farming, art and service are held in the highest regard.
L. Nickerson (Nick) is retired from the U.S. Army. He has been stationed in Germany, El Paso, TX and Lawton, OK and was deployed to Kuwait and Iraq in 2002. Nick currently lives in Kenosha, WI where he studies studio art at the University of Wisconsin-Parkside.
Noah I. Gordon is the youngest of four brothers. He was deployed to Iraq as part of the Iraq campaign (O.I.F.) From March – June of 2003 when he was injured.
Noah is currently medically retired from the Marine Corps and resides in South St. Paul, MN. There he volunteers with the Jaycee’s and helps in the surrounding community. For fun he likes to watch movies, play board games with friends, cook and garden.
Nya served on Active Duty as a U.S. Army Officer from May 1997 through February 2008. In her career Nya traveled the world. Nya was born as Matt, a biological male. While in the Army, she was known as Matt, the Ordnance Corps Ammunition Officer, who really aspired to be a combat Soldier. This book covers Nya’s experience in Iraq, struggle with post-traumatic stress, and ultimate discovery of the universal truth that the Army would not let her do both – be a Soldier and a Girl. Currently, Nya lives as a single, queer, moto-riding city girl in San Francisco. She aspires to be a creative professional, but most of all she wants to be a “Happy Girl.”
ODessa C. is an only child. She served in both Iraq and Afghanistan as a member of the Air Force.
Pamela served in the United States Navy from April 1, 1981 to March 31, 1984. During that time she served in San Diego, CA MSA School, Naval Station, Roosevelt Roads Puerto Rico, Naval Station Treasure Island, San Francisco, CA. She served in Active Reserve from April 1984 to November 1986 at Concord Naval Weapons Station, CA.
Pamela has a BA in Psychology and Addition Studies from Bethany College in Scotts Valley, CA and a Certificate in Addiction Counseling. She currently lives in Santa Cruz, CA with her three beautiful teenagers where they are all active members of the community.
Paul Wasserman is a veteran of the Iraq War, where he served as a noncommissioned officer in an Army aircrew. He holds master’s degrees in philosophy and comparative literature, and lives in New York City.
Phil Mason served in the Navy from 1965-1968. He spent three years in Vietnam. Upon returning home, he moved to Iowa with his parents, and then back home to South Carolina where he stayed until his motorcycle accident in April 2010. Because of his head injury, he was sent to the VA Medical Hospital Head Trauma Unit in Minneapolis, MN. While being treated for a brian injury there, he began treatment for the post-traumatic stress he had been experiencing for the past forty years. Phil has made an amazing recovery from his accident, and is currently living near his son in Minnesota. He fills his days with two new hobbies: painting and photography.
Philip Studer is the eldest of four siblings. His younger brother SSG Brian E. Studer, a solider for nine years in the US Army, was killed August 22nd, 2008 in Ghazni, Afghanistan. He was attempting to disarm an Improvised Explosive Device in a roadside culvert. As the lead on this particular mission and as an expert Explosive Ordinance Disposal (EOD) technician, it was his job to remove these devices for the safety of fellow soldiers and civilians in the area. Brian, 28, was only months away from finishing his deployment to Afghanistan and less than four months from leaving the military to explore new directions. Philip survives his brother and lives in the Twin Cities area of Minnesota where he practices commercial interior design.
Roger Quindel was in the US Army, 3rd of the 13th Artillery, 25th Infantry Division from February 13, 1967 to October 31, 1968. He served in Vietnam from October 1967 to October 1968 and was wounded in action on March 17, 1968 in Hoc Mon, Vietnam. He was hospitalized in Camp Zama, Japan until June 6, 1968 when he returned to Vietnam to complete his Tour of Duty.
Roger currently lives in Milwaukee, WI with his wife, who he has been married to for 34 years. Roger retired in 2011. He is now the executive director and coach of the City Kids Wrestling Club, and enjoys his two children, their families, and his two granddaughters.
Sarah R. Frank is the wife of Will Frank, a Montana National Guard soldier, and fellow Veterans Book Project author. She holds a BS from Carroll College in Business Administration with an emphasis in management, finance and accounting. She is a businesswoman living in East Helena, Montana. Sarah loves her dog, her Razor (all-terrain vehicle) and snowmobiling. She absolutely hates gardening.
Sarah Kanan is a student at the University of Minnesota studying Business Management & Marketing, Design, and Child Psychology. She currently works as a Business Analyst for General Electric.
Due to the war and dictatorship, Sarah’s family was forced to leave their home country of Iraq in 1991. She returned in 2003 for the first time when the dictatorship fell. By then, she felt she was seeing her country with an outsider’s perspective. Her book is written from this vantage point.
Although Sarah has never lived in Iraq, she feels a strong passion and yearning for the culture and traditions. She dreams of someday returning to a stable, well-governed and affluent Iraq to make a difference, potentially by building an orphanage.
Sarah loves to travel and to mentor when she has the opportunity, and enjoys photography, TED talks, and This American Life.
Steve is a nine-year army veteran who served as a Staff Sergeant in Iraq in 2004 as part of a tactical PSYOP company. He recently finished a Masters in English Studies at St. Cloud State University. He is now in the process of seeking an agent and publisher for his thesis – a memoir that he has expanded into a full-length book, parts of which are included here.
He is also working towards a Masters in Community Counseling, so that he can combine both degrees into an expertise in Narrative Therapy. His career goals are to work as a therapist for the VA and help other veterans and their loved ones find healing, forgiveness, and solace through the act and craft of writing.
Recovery from traumatic events is possible.
Sudad left Iraq in 2005 because of the war. He is 16 years old and in 11th grade. He plays goalie for the Columbia Heights High School soccer team.
Tarah is from Iraq and lives in Minnesota.
Tarik Rasouli currently lives in Minnesota where he works as a Community Integration and Inclusion Instructor for individuals with Traumatic Brain Injuries at TBI Metro Services. He is also a student, and plans to transfer to Macalester College in the spring to pursue peace studies.
Tarik’s mother is a Palestinian refugee, born and raised in Lebanon. She currently is an interpreter who works with many Iraqi refugees. His father was born and raised in Najaf, Iraq. He came to the US in the 70′s and opened a restaurant in Minneapolis called Sinbad’s in the early 90′s. In 2005, he sold his restaurant and moved back to Iraq to dedicate his life to peace building within his hometown. In 2009, Tarik visited his father and assisted in his peace building initiatives for three weeks.
Tarik is a motorcycle enthusiast and has a huge passion for music. He is currently recording an EP of indie rock and hip hop songs. He sings, raps, plays guitar, bass, drums, and dabbles with the keyboard.
Ted Engelmann is the son of a World War II and Korean War veteran. He enlisted in the US Air Force in February 1966, and was discharged in December 1969. He served a tour in Viet Nam, from March 1968 to March 1969 where he was part of a Forward Air Control (FAC) team directing air strikes north of Saigon and in the Mekong Delta.
Since the 1980s, Ted has lived and traveled throughout Viet Nam, South Korea, Australia, and the US, documenting the parades and memorials to the veterans of the war in Viet Nam. His photographs have been exhibited in venues throughout the United States, Canada, South Korea and Viet Nam.
In November 2008 Ted embedded in Baghdad, Iraq, at Forward Operating Base Falcon, and Combat Observation Post 803, with Alpha Co., 1st Battalion, 22nd Infantry Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division. In December 2009, he embedded in Afghanistan at Forward Operating Base Lion in the Panjshir Valley, north of Kabul, and Charlie Troop, 3rd Squadron, 61st Cavalry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division at Combat Observation Post Pirtle-King in Kunar Province. In May 2011, Ted will embed a final time in the Kandahar region of Afghanistan.
Ted is a Distinguished Lecturer with the Organization of American Historians, and gives presentations to civic groups, schools and colleges on topics about the American Wars in Viet Nam, Iraq and Afghanistan. Ted currently lives in Denver, Colorado where he is completing his photographic memoir, One Soldiers’ Heart: from Viet Nam to Iraq and Beyond.
Trevor Tweeten is an artist and filmmaker. He was embedded with the US Army in Iraq in early 2009 to film a project for photographer Richard Mosse. While there, he moved throughout central Iraq, including Baghdad and the Salah-a-Din Province, where he was embedded with Alpha Company, 2nd Battalion, 27th Infantry Regiment.
Tweeten grew up in Minnesota and currently lives in New York. He has traveled extensively for his work, including Iraq, Gaza and the West Bank, Pakistan, India, Nepal, East Asia, West AFrica, and Eastern Congo.
William D. Frank has been a member of the Montana National Guard for twenty years. He was the first man in the state of Montana to be deployed four times – three times overseas and one time domestically. Since 2003, he has completed two tours in Iraq and one tour in Afghanistan. From March to October 2003, he served as a GLO in Qatar in Operation Iraqi Freedom 1. From January to December 2005, he served as a Division Safety Non-Commissioned Officer (NCO) on a Personal Security DetachmentTeam (PSD) in northern Iraq in Operation Iraqi Freedom 3. From January to December 2008, he was an ETT team member in Afghanistan, assigned to the 3/3/201st Corps in Operation Enduring Freedom 7. William currently lives in East Helena, Montana with his wife, Sarah, and their dog Woody. He works for the Montana Guard in the J5/7 State Partnership Program.
Zach LaPorte served as a team leader with the 2nd battalion of the 75th Ranger Regiment as an airborne infantryman from January 2004 to April 2007. He was deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom from April to July in 2005 and September 2006 to January 2007.
After being honorably discharged, Zach earned a degree in Engineering Mechanics from the University of Wisconsin, Madison. He now works as a mechanical engineer in Milwaukee and is an open critic of all wars as an active member of Iraq Veterans Against the War.
In May of 2012, Zach was one of many veterans who served in the Global War on Terror that decided to return his medals during the NATO summit in Chicago, Illinois. He has no regrets.
This book is a collaboration between Zainab Jawhar and Clare Beer. It would not have been possible without the help of Luke Wilcox and Alex Potter of the Iraqi-American Reconciliation Project. We are grateful to them for bringing Zainab to us, and for advocating so compassionately on behalf of all Iraqis.
Zainab Jawhar was born and raised in Najaf, Iraq. She graduated from the University of Kufa in 2004 with a bachelor’s degree in education. Shortly after graduation, she was hit by an errant U.S. shell while sleeping in her bed.
Clare Beer was born and raised in Saint Paul, Minnesota. She graduated from Marquette University in 2008 with a bachelor’s degree in Latin American Studies. She is currently the technical writer and copy editor for the Veterans Book Project.
Zainab asked us to write this story on her behalf for a couple of reasons: she is not fluent in English (we are not fluent in Arabic), and currently she is focused on larger matters – namely, learning how to walk with new prosthetic limbs. What does it mean to tell a story on behalf of someone else? The ethics of representation are complex, particularly when they cross the great divides of language and culture. How do we reach across these divides to really see another’s perspective? And once we see it, how do we transmit it in a dignified and accurate way? In writing this book, we ask ourselves these questions. Our hope is that it can be an entrance into healing and dialogue for her and us.