American Veterans Share How Military Service Changed Their Lives in PBS Documentary

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PBS American Veteran
A Marine Corps recruit in training at the Parris Island depot (Courtesy of Scott Olson via Getty Images)

As Veterans Day 2021 approaches, PBS will air an ambitious four-part documentary series called “American Veteran.” The series will focus on the personal recollections of the men and women who have served. From hosts to interview subjects, every voice you hear in the program will be a veteran.

American Veteran” will air on Tuesdays, starting Oct. 26, and continue until Nov. 16 at 9 p.m. ET and will stream at PBS.org and in the PBS Video app. In addition, they’ve produced a 10-part series of digital shorts and a nine-part podcast that will allow for an even deeper dive into the history of our men and women in military service.

Each episode is hosted by a veteran. In order of appearance, we’ll hear from former Marine and “The Price is Right” host Drew Carey; Senator and Iraq War Army helicopter pilot Tammy Duckworth; Vietnam vet and “Dances With Wolves” star Wes Studi; and Army veteran and “Dancing With the Stars” winner J.R. Martinez.

We’ve got a clip from episode one, “The Crossing,” in which veterans share their experiences from basic training.

And another from episode three, “The Return,” in which veterans share their challenges as they transition back to civilian life after military service.

The “American Veteran: Keep It Close” digital video series is available on YouTube and allows individual veterans to share their experiences. The stories are presented by Navy veteran and former medic Shain Brenden, who did multiple tours in Iraq and Afghanistan with the Marines. He’s now a comedian, writer and actor based in Portland, Oregon.

Check out the series on the PBS Voices YouTube Channel. The series began on Sept. 7, 2021, and new episodes are released every other Tuesday through Jan. 11, 2022.

The “American Veteran: Unforgettable Stories” podcast also features a high-profile veteran as host. Marine and Iraq War veteran Phil Klay won the National Book Award in 2014 for “Redeployment,” a collection of short stories about war.

On the podcast, he helps tell the stories of an Army nurse who served in Vietnam, the first Black American woman held as a POW and a Special Ops sniper working through the fallout from his missions. Episodes are available from all major podcast platforms, including Apple Podcasts and Spotify.

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