Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History

Interview with Joseph Woodyard, June 1st, 2012

Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries


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00:00:00 - Introduction and preliminary information

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Partial Transcript: OK, Joe, let me start off with the... an easy one.

Segment Synopsis: Woodyard gives some basic information about himself and talks about some of the places that he grew up in.

Keywords: Arkansas; BCTC; Illinois; Kentucky; Michigan; Rockford (Ill.); Tates Creek High School; childhood; education; parents; reserves

Subjects: Bluegrass Community and Technical College.; United States. Army.

00:02:08 - Reasons for joining the army / basic training / work as a cavalry scout

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Partial Transcript: You ended up, uh, in the... in the army?

Segment Synopsis: Woodyard discusses his reasons for joining the army and why he wanted to become a cavalry scout. His basic training is also touched on briefly.

Keywords: Fort Knox (Ky.); cavalry scout; college; high school; infantry; job description; military; motorcycles; recruiters; recruiting stations; soldiers; tanker; training

Subjects: Basic training (Military education); United States. Army.


Map Coordinates: 37.91610, -85.95625
00:05:01 - Basic training / definition of modern cavalry

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Partial Transcript: Was that part, then, of, of your training in bootcamp? Did you, did you get trained...

Segment Synopsis: Woodyard describes his basic training and the more advanced training that he received immediately afterwards. He also talks about what the modern cavalry is like, since horses are no longer used.

Keywords: 5-15 CAV; Bradley Fighting Vehicle; advanced training; aluminum; boot camp; cavalry; cavalry scout; exercise; gunners; humvees; machine guns; motorcycles; tanks; training

Subjects: Basic training (Military education)

00:07:35 - Experiencing 9/11 / Woodyard's unit in Iraq and Afghanistan

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Partial Transcript: Now I, I find it interesting that you joined... I've grown... gotten to know quite a number of veterans...

Segment Synopsis: Woodyard recounts his experiences on September 11th, 2001, when he was already enlisted in the military. He also talks about his unit and where they served.

Keywords: 9/11; Bob and Tom (radio show); lockdown; military; morning formation; units; war

Subjects: Afghanistan.; Iraq.; September 11 Terrorist Attacks, 2001.; War on Terrorism, 2001-2009.

00:11:58 - Being honorably discharged / duties in the military

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Partial Transcript: Yeah, I mean it was, it was my time to get out. I got out, it... under an honorable discharge...

Segment Synopsis: Woodyard briefly talks about his being honorably discharged in 2004. He also describes his responsibilities in the army.

Keywords: 50 cal gunner; auto maintenance; corporal; gunners; humvees; information gathering; military intelligence; patrols; reenlistment; scout platoon; squad leaders; trucks

Subjects: United States. Army.

00:14:34 - Taking Baghdad

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Partial Transcript: What about, um, combat service?

Segment Synopsis: Woodyard describes the push to take Baghdad, finding large stockpiles of VX gas and how it was disposed of. He also discusses the sleep deprivation that he and others were subjected to during that time.

Keywords: 101st; Abu Ghraib; Coca Cola; EOD; Euphrates River; Explosive Ordnance Disposal; Kuwait; Tigris River; VX gas; adrenaline; car dealership; combat service; fighting; hazmat; looting; marine battalions; nerve agent; sleep; sleep deprivation

Subjects: Baghdad (Iraq); Fallujah (Iraq); Iraq.; United States. Marine Corps.


Map Coordinates: 33.32500,44.42200
00:20:15 - Abu Ghraib

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Partial Transcript: Um, and, uh, Abu Ghraib. We were, we were there for that- the whole Abu Ghraib thing.

Segment Synopsis: Woodyard talks about his work transporting prisoners to Abu Ghraib, and how he had no idea at that time of what was going on there. He gives his thoughts on the scandal

Keywords: National Guard; cruelty; prisoners; prisons; scandals; war crimes

Subjects: Abu Ghraib Prison.; Baghdad (Iraq).; Insurgency.


Map Coordinates: 33.29194, 44.06556
00:23:08 - Thoughts on the invasion of Iraq / coming under fire

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Partial Transcript: What was your impression of what it was we wanted to do over there?

Segment Synopsis: Woodyard discusses the United States' reasons for the invasion of Iraq and his personal views on the matter. In addition, he talks about coming under fire as he first entered Iraq and the danger involved due to lack of protection for gunners and others.

Keywords: 9/11; Saddam Hussein; adrenaline; attacks; fiberglass; flakjackets; humvees; mortar; preparation; shrapnel; weapons

Subjects: Iraq War, 2003-2011.; Iraq.; War on Terrorism, 2001-2009.

00:28:16 - Public reception of American troops in Kuwait and Iraq

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Partial Transcript: What was the, uh, reception like, incidentally... the... uh, the Kuwaiti...

Segment Synopsis: Woodyard describes the public reaction to the American military in Kuwait and different parts of Iraq.

Keywords: Bedouins; Saddam Hussein; attacks by children; children; doctors; friendliness; interpreters; shrapnel; theft; tires; trucks

Subjects: Fallujah (Iraq); Grenades.; Iraq.; Karbala' (Iraq); Kuwait.

00:34:15 - Encounters with the Iraqi Army

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Partial Transcript: You touched on, uh... when you first came under fire... what were the troops like?

Segment Synopsis: Woodyard remembers an experience in which he expected to die. He also discusses some of the problems in the Iraqi army, including their lack of up-to-date technology.

Keywords: "shock and awe"; Army commendation medal for valor; BMP; M1 Abrams (tank); Russian tanks; T 34 tank; WWII tanks; armored personnel carrier; artillery; highways; humvees; morale; reconnaissance; soldiers; surrendering; tanks; technological advancements; technology

Subjects: Ambushes and surprises.; Hillah (Iraq); Iraq--Armed Forces.


Map Coordinates: 32.48333, 44.43333
00:41:28 - Crossing the border into Iraq / emotions in combat

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Partial Transcript: And when even... when we were go- when we were crossing the border, it was night...

Segment Synopsis: Woodyard describes his crossing over into Iraq and the missile attacks against him and the other American soldiers. He also shares what his feelings were during combat.

Keywords: M270 Multiple Launch Rocket System; MLRS; Scud missile; adrenaline; aggression; artillery shells; combat; fear; missiles; nervousness; patriot missiles; rocket launchers; sandstorms

Subjects: Baghdad (Iraq); Iraq.; Karbala' (Iraq)


Map Coordinates: 33.32500, 44.42200
00:45:25 - Injuries and improvised explosive devices / illnesses

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Partial Transcript: Um... did you receive any injuries, or wounds?

Segment Synopsis: Woodyard describes two small injuries that he sustained and discusses the use of improvised explosives in Baghdad. He also talks about illnesses there.

Keywords: IED's; Saddam Hussein; flu; illness; inflation; looting; malaria; money; mosquitoes; night missions; shrapnel; stagnant water; unemployment; weather; work

Subjects: Baghdad (Iraq); Improvised explosive devices.; Iraq--Armed Forces.


Map Coordinates: 33.32500, 44.42200
00:49:48 - Becoming an occupation force in Iraq

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Partial Transcript: Um, were there anything... was there anything about the American effort there that...

Segment Synopsis: Woodyard states why he was bothered by the fact that the military was called on to be an occupation force after the capture of Baghdad. He also describes some of the tasks they were expected to do while occupying.

Keywords: battalion commander; fighting force; occupation; occupation force; poisoned food; rebuilding; sheiks; soldiers; standoffs; weapons

Subjects: Baghdad (Iraq).; War on Terrorism, 2001-2009.

00:53:58 - Interactions with private contractors

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Partial Transcript: Uh, there was a lot of, uh, private... uh, intervention there. Uh, private companies...

Segment Synopsis: Woodyard talks about his interactions with the private contractors who came to Iraq and why he generally avoided them.

Keywords: Blackwater; Halliburton; civilians; contractors; gas shortages; peace; private companies; stress; veterans; war profiteering

Subjects: Baghdad (Iraq).


Map Coordinates: 33.32500, 44.42200
00:56:51 - Finishing up and returning to the United States

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Partial Transcript: About when were you winding down... with your military service there?

Segment Synopsis: Woodyard recalls the work he did in preparation for leaving Iraq and his coming to Fort Riley, Kansas.

Keywords: 1st CAV; Bangor (Maine); Fort Riley (Kan.); attacks; night patrols; night vision; training

Subjects: Kuwait.


01:00:21 - Dealing with post-traumatic stress disorder

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Partial Transcript: I would think that, uh, being shot at on a daily basis... would have to make you, uh, if not consciously...

Segment Synopsis: Woodyard discusses his diagnosis with post-traumatic stress disorder, its influence on him and some of the memories associated with it. He also discusses the adrenaline rush related to being in combat.

Keywords: Kentucky; Lexington VA Medical Center; PTSD; adrenaline; alcohol; attacks; bad memories; death; excitement; friends; night terrors; nightmares; stress; therapists

Subjects: Post-traumatic stress disorder.

01:06:26 - Medals and commendations / leaving the military

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Partial Transcript: Alright. I'm ready when you guys are.

Segment Synopsis: Woodyard lists the medals he received and how he earned them. He also talks about his reasons for not reenlisting and the difficulty of finding work after leaving the military.

Keywords: Army commendation with valor; Purple Heart; The Scarlet Letter; battalion commanders; decorations; dishonorable discharge; economy; employers; gunners; humvees; luck; medals; medical discharge; reenlistment; transition; unemployment

Subjects: Iraq.; Post-traumatic stress disorder.; United States. Army.

01:10:54 - Job history / going to college

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Partial Transcript: Its, uh, it's been... especially the way that it.. the way the economy is now. It's been pretty tough...

Segment Synopsis: Woodyard describes some of the jobs that he has held since leaving the military and how he decided to go back to school. He states that he was promised money through his contract, not through the GI Bill, and shares some of the problems related to that.

Keywords: Affiliated Computer Services; Bobcat operator; Department of Veterans' Affairs; Direct TV; Fort Riley (Kan.); Frankfort (Ky.); Kansas; Lexington (Ky.); Sportsman's Warehouse; call centers; contractors; contracts; economy; education; employment; housing market; manual labor; tuition; veterans

Subjects: United States. Army.


Map Coordinates: 38.04058, -84.50372
01:15:38 - Logistical and financial problems of being a student veteran

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Partial Transcript: Uh, I... I really, if, if there's anything that I could, that I could say is...

Segment Synopsis: Woodyard talks about the difficulty of accessing funds for schooling as a veteran.

Keywords: Department of Veteran's Affairs; GPA; benefits; dropping out; education; funding; grades; rent; veterans

Subjects: Veterans--Education (Higher)--Kentucky.

01:18:40 - Bluegrass Community and Technical College / a degree in history

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Partial Transcript: What caused you to choose Bluegrass Community, Community and Technical College?

Segment Synopsis: Woodyard gives his reasons for why he chose to attend Bluegrass Community and Technical College. He also tells what his major is and why he chose it.

Keywords: BCTC; Mesopotamia; architecture; classes; geography; history; history major; jobs; learning; learning philosophies; panic attacks; professors; science; sociology; teachers

Subjects: Baghdad (Iraq); Bluegrass Community and Technical College; Education.; Post-traumatic stress disorder.; Veterans--Education (Higher)--Kentucky.

01:24:44 - Future educational plans / family support / living with post-traumatic stress disorder

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Partial Transcript: And so, from... Bluegrass, which would give you a, a, a good base, I trust...

Segment Synopsis: Woodyard briefly mentions some of his educational plans and discusses his wife's support of him through the more difficult times. He also describes in detail what it is like to live with post-traumatic stress on a daily basis.

Keywords: BCTC; New Circle Road; alcohol; anger; bombs; crowds; driving; education; emotional abuse; family life; farms; future plans; panic attacks; spouses

Subjects: Bluegrass Community and Technical College.; Eastern Kentucky University.; Post-traumatic stress disorder.

01:29:30 - Dealing with post-traumatic stress disorder through therapy

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Partial Transcript: Have you found there... are, uh... good resources available to you at the college? Or, in the community...

Segment Synopsis: Woodyard talks about the therapy he has gotten for his post-traumatic stress disorder, as well as a friend of his who refused to get help.

Keywords: Freemasons; PTSD; VA; VFW; Veterans of Foreign Wars; alcohol; camaraderie; civilian life; drinking; drugs; military families; organizations; oxycontin; spouses; therapists; therapy; trust; wives

Subjects: Post-traumatic stress disorder.

01:33:29 - Advice for veterans dealing with post-traumatic stress disorder

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Partial Transcript: Is there any particular advice you would give to... other veterans, then...

Segment Synopsis: Woodyard shares his advice for veterans who suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder. The interview is concluded.

Keywords: PTSD; alcoholism; drinking; help; veterans

Subjects: Post-traumatic stress disorder.