Rick Woolard

THE PROCESS

What does a completed official oral history look like?

AN ORAL HISTORY OF A VETERAN IS EITHER AN AUDIO OR VIDEO RECORDING OF THEM TALKING ABOUT THEIR EXPERIENCE IN TRAINING, COMBAT OPERATIONS, AND TRANSITIONING TO CIVILIAN LIFE.

IT IS A ONE-ON-ONE CONVERSATION, SOMETIMES A ONCE IN A LIFETIME OPPORTUNITY, FOR A VETERAN TO SPEAK THEIR PIECE, PAY HONOR TO THE BROTHERS THEY LOST, AND SHARE STORIES THEY’D LIKE SAVED FOR THE AGES.

IT IS A GIFT OF STORY AND UNDERSTANDING TO NOT ONLY FAMILIES AND CLOSE FRIENDS BUT ALSO OUR OWN ACTIVE DUTY SEALS WHO SHARE THESE SEA STORIES & LEGENDS BUT HAVE NEVER HAD THE CHANCE OF HEARING THE STORIES FROM THE MEN THEMSELVES.

WHEN COMPLETED, OUR “ORAL HISTORY LIBRARY” WILL BE A DIGITAL LIBRARY OF INTERVIEWS AS WELL AS PHOTOGRAPHS AND VIDEOS TAKEN BY THE MEN THEMSELVES DURING THEIR TIME IN VIETNAM. THE LIBRARY WILL BE AVAILABLE FIRST AND FOREMOST AT THE NATIONAL NAVY UDT SEAL MUSEUM WHILE COPIES WILL BE SEND TO THE DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE AND THE LIBRARY OF CONGRESS.

As defined by the Library of Congress, an oral history…

           “…begins with an audio or video recording of a first person account made by an interviewer with an interviewee (also referred to as narrator), both of whom have the conscious intention of creating a permanent record to contribute to an understanding of the past. A verbal document, the oral history, results from this process and is preserved and made available in different forms to other users, researchers, and the public.”

How do i begin the process?

to begin your oral history or share our project with a family member or friend, fill out our contact form here:

allow 3-5 business days and either our historian or project manager will get back to you as soon as we can.

from there, we’ll gather some basic information including graduation class number, years served in the teams, deployment schedules, as well as units served etc., and schedule a phone conversation.

What is the process?

once we’ve been introduced, we schedule a phone conversation between the veteran and our historian. During the phone conversation, we’ll speak about their service from the moment they were inspired to join the military, buds class, the first team they served in, to deployments and leaving the navy.

from there, we’ll compare schedules and set up an in person interview where we’ll cover their service in depth.

that is also time to collect any and all photographs or memorabilia they would like to share with the national navy udt seal museum.

What topics are covered?

topics include but are not limited to

  • Joining the Navy. Who inspired you to join?

  • How did you prepare for BUDS?

  • If you served in Vietnam, how did you feel about the war prior to your service? How did you experience America’s divided opinion on the war?

  • BUDS stories. Did you have any memorable instructors or teammates? Do you keep in contact with your graduating class?

  • Your first Team. (Ex/ Team 1, 2, UDT 22, etc.)

  • Work up to deployment

  • Deployments to Vietnam and abroad

  • Your Vietnam Story

    • Where were you stationed? What was your mission set? What was your platoon name?

    • Engaging with Charlie… stories of successful missions, excursions gone awry, combatants killed and captured

    • South Vietnamese Advisors and Translators

    • Lost brothers

  • Returning Home

  • Transitioning to Civilian Life

is my oral history available to the public or private? WHERE CAN I FIND THE FINAL PRODUCT?

it is our goal to creat a library of oral histories that is available to the public through the national navy udt seal museum in Ft. pierce, florida. they will be the official stewards of the libary.

We will also be working with the library of congress and submitting the library of oral histories through their “veteran’s history project.” that being said, it is the library of congress’ ultimate wish to digitize their “veteran’s history project.” someday these may be available to search online.