Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History

Interview with Josh Wirfs, November 21, 2013

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


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00:00:02 - Life prior to military service / joining the Army

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Partial Transcript: You actually from Lexington or where are you originally from?

Segment Synopsis: Wirfs briefly mentions a little about himself. He goes on to talk about his family's background in the military, mentioning that both his parents are veterans. He talks about his decision to join the Army when he was in high school.

Keywords: Grandfather; High school; Military family; Oregon; University of Kentucky theatre program

Subjects: September 11 Terrorist Attacks, 2001.; United States. Army

00:04:29 - Military training

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Partial Transcript: And where, where, where was your boot camp actually?

Segment Synopsis: Wirfs talks about going to boot camp and his fear of what he was getting into. He talks about what his duties were while he was training to be a tanker. He also talks about what it's like to drive a tank.

Keywords: Boot camp; Driving a tank; Experiences; Graduation; One Station Unit Training (OSUT); Physical Training (PT) test; Preventive Maintenance Checks and Services (PMCS); Repo Depo; Simulator training; Tankers

Subjects: Fort Knox (Ky.); United States. Army

GPS: Fort Knox, Ky.
Map Coordinates: 37.892809, -85.974709
00:11:15 - Deployment in Germany

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Partial Transcript: Okay well lets talk about moving on to the real Army then.

Segment Synopsis: Wirfs talks about getting his deployment orders and being deployed to Germany. He talks about his experiences while stationed in Germany.

Keywords: 11th Calvary; Deployment orders; Lost orders

Subjects: United States. Army

GPS: Germany
Map Coordinates: 52.516667, 13.383333
00:14:25 - Deployment in Iraq - acclimation period and Green Zone missions

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Partial Transcript: So tell me about your fir--like, uh, when you actually get your--how long were you in Germany...

Segment Synopsis: Wirfs discusses the training he received just prior to going to Iraq. He also talks about his acclimation period. He talks about what patrolling was like in the Green Zone, and being under fire.

Keywords: 11th Cavalry; 4th Platoon; Acclimation period; Climate; Getting fired on; Green Zone; Improvised explosive devices (IEDs); Landing in Iraq; Patrolling; Realizations; Route Irish; Training

Subjects: Iraq War, 2003-2011.; United States. Army

GPS: Baghdad, Iraq
Map Coordinates: 33.325, 44.422
00:28:07 - Stationing outside Green Zone / experiences taking lives

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Partial Transcript: Well let's go ahead and move down the road a little bit to where you actually got moved out of the Green Zone.

Segment Synopsis: Wirfs talks about his experiences while he was stationed outside of the Green Zone, including going on foot patrols. He shares his perception of Iraqis' attitudes towards American soldiers. He also talks about experiences where he had to defend himself and his squad and how it affected him.

Keywords: Fear; Foot patrol missions; Outside of tank; Perceptions of Americans; Violence

Subjects: Iraq War, 2003-2011.; United States. Army

GPS: Baghdad, Iraq
Map Coordinates: 33.325, 44.422
00:37:37 - Discharge from military / transitioning to civilian life

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Partial Transcript: Well, how long, how long after that, uh, uh, I mean--Gil--you, you, you came back to the Green Zone...

Segment Synopsis: Wirfs discuss his post-deployment experiences, mentioning being stationed in Germany, his medical discharge, and returning to the U.S. He talks about having difficulties adjusting to civilian life.

Keywords: Adjusting; Employment; Medical discharge; Returning to Germany; Support networks

Subjects: Iraq War, 2003-2011--Veterans.; United States. Army

00:42:25 - Moving to Kentucky / dealing with PTSD

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Partial Transcript: Did--you already kind of had--I mean you'd been in the Kentucky area...

Segment Synopsis: Wirfs talks about moving to Lawrenceburg, Kentucky where his family lives. He talks about dealing with PTSD and issues he has with sleeping.

Keywords: Assistance; Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD); Sleep issues; Veterans Affairs (VA)

Subjects: Iraq War, 2003-2011--Veterans.; Lawrenceburg (Ky.)

GPS: Lawrenceburg (Ky.)
Map Coordinates: 38.031389, -84.896111
00:45:57 - Enrolling in college / more on dealing with PTSD

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Partial Transcript: Tell me wha, what, what are you doing today?

Segment Synopsis: Wirfs talks about going to college and majoring in theater. He also talks about his PTSD, including advice on how to deal with PTSD.

Keywords: Advice; Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD); Support systems; Theater programs

Subjects: Bluegrass Community and Technical College; Iraq War, 2003-2011--Veterans.; Veterans--Education (Higher)--Kentucky.

GPS: Bluegrass Community and Technical College (Lexington, Ky.)
Map Coordinates: 38.02481, -84.50365
00:49:43 - Reflections on military service

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Partial Transcript: So, um, when, when, you, you, you mean your whole family was in the military.

Segment Synopsis: Wirfs discusses how his family has been affected by him being in the Army. He also gives advice on how to approach joining the Army, as well as what he would have done differently.

Keywords: Advice; Feelings about the military; Joining the military

Subjects: Iraq War, 2003-2011--Veterans.; United States. Army