Veteran

  The EOD—explosive ordnance disposal—community is tight-knit, and when one of their own is hurt, an alarm goes out. When Brian Castner, an Iraq War vet, learns that his friend and EOD brother Matt has been killed by an IED in Afghanistan, he goes to console Matt's widow, but he also begins a personal investigation. Is the bomb maker who killed Matt the same man American forces have been hunting since Iraq, known as the Engineer?

In this All the Ways We Kill and Die: An Elegy for a Fallen Comrade, and the Hunt for His Killer, Castner takes us inside the manhunt for this elusive figure, meeting maimed survivors, interviewing the forensics teams who gather post-blast evidence, the wonks who collect intelligence, the drone pilots and contractors tasked to kill. His investigation reveals how warfare has changed since Iraq, becoming individualized even as it has become hi-tech, with our drones, bomb disposal robots, and CSI-like techniques.

Ron Kovic
Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times

  Ron Kovic was really born on the 4th of July. Forty years ago the Vietnam vet — wounded in combat and in a wheelchair ever since — published his classic war memoir, later made into a film with Tom Cruise – Born on the Fourth of July. The new anniversary edition features a foreword by Bruce Springsteen.

In addition, Kovic - who continues his activism -  has written a new memoir entitled Hurricane Street, which chronicles the 1970s activism of the American Veterans Movement.

Mississippi plantation owner, the cantankerous Big Daddy, is celebrating his 65th birthday. His family has returned for the occasion, including his favorite son, the masculine Brick, and Brick’s wife, the lonely and longing Maggie.

Brick and Maggie’s strained marriage plagues Big Daddy’s mind, and he demands answers to why they haven’t given him a grandchild yet.

However, Big Daddy’s family holds a powerful secret, and an ulterior motive as to why they have returned to the plantation. The families’ troubled relationships and emotional lies become exposed in the timeless American treasure by Tennessee Williams, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof.

Berkshire Theatre Group presents Cat on a Hot Tin Roof as part of their season this summer. The show opened on Saturday after a few previews and runs through July 16th.

We are joined this morning by Rebecca Brooksher and Michael Raymond-James – who play Maggie and Brick on BTG’s Fitzpatrick Stage.

  The new opera The Long Walk is based on Brian Castner’s critically acclaimed book of the same name. The opera is a deeply personal exploration of a soldier’s return from Iraq where he served as an officer in an Explosive Ordnance Disposal unit and his battle with what he calls “the Crazy” as he tries to reintegrate into his family life upon returning from the war.

Opera Saratoga at the Spa Little Theatre is presenting the world premiere of The Long Walk in partnership with American Lyric Theater. Internationally renowned theater and opera director David Schweizer makes his Opera Saratoga debut.

Grammy Award winning baritone Daniel Belcher returns to Opera Saratoga to create the role of Brian, alongside mezzo-soprano Heather Johnson, who makes her company debut as his wife Jessie. The two performers join us for this interview.

    

  Located in New Windsor, New York, the National Purple Heart Hall of Honor commemorates the extraordinary sacrifices of America's servicemen and service women who were killed or wounded in combat. The mission of the Hall of Honor is to collect and preserve the stories of Purple Heart recipients from all branches of service and across generations to ensure that all recipients are represented.

To tell us more we are joined by the Executive Director of the Purple Heart Hall of Honor, Inc., Andrew Komonchak.

    

  It’s time now for our weekly check-in with the humanities in our segment Ideas Matter: Checking in with the Public Humanities. Today’s we’ll find out about humanities programming for veterans with the New York Council for the Humanities.

There is a new adult reading and discussion series for vets and their caregivers called Serving: Standing Down. Here to tell us all about it is Donald Whitfield - Vice President at the Great Books Foundation in Chicago where he directs the adult education division, Great Books Discussions. He is a veteran of the United States Army and a graduate of St. John's College in Annapolis.

WAMC photo by Dave Lucas

More than 900,000 veterans  call New York home. Vets have marched in Albany's traditional Veterans' Day Parade for more than fifty years. The parade stepped off at 11:11am from Central Ave & Manning Blvd,  headed down Central to Lark St and then along Washington Avenue to N Hawk Street  to the reviewing stand on the steps of the State Education building.

"Theater of War" is a public health project, having produced hundreds of dramatic readings of Greek tragedies for mixed civilian and military audiences to start a conversation about the return of soldiers to civilian life.

Vassar College in Poughkeepsie, NY is hosting "Theater of War" for a dramatic reading of scenes from Sophocles' "Ajax" on Sunday, Nov. 3rd from 4:00-6:00p in the Vassar Chapel in association with the Vassar College Department of Greek and Roman Studies.

Bryan Doerries is the Founder and Artistic Director of “Theater of War” and he joins us to tell us more.

    The Widow’s Strike is the fourth novel in the Pike Logan series, following the success of Enemy of Mine. A twenty-one year veteran of the US Army Infantry and Special Forces, it is no surprise that Lieutenant Colonel (ret.) Brad Taylor has made military authenticity his writing trademark.

The Widow’s Strike is an explosive ride alongside America’s counterterrorism operators that will leave readers breathless. In his new thriller, a mutation of a deadly virus invented by nature but genetically manipulated by man falls into the wrong hands.

Listener Essay - The Retreat

May 23, 2013

   Dan New is a combat Vietnam Veteran and an artist who loves to write and photograph as expression of his life.

  Dan New is a combat Vietnam Veteran and an artist who loves to write and photograph as expression of his life.

Flickr/Public Domain

New York National Guard Sargeant Chris Paiser was deployed to Iraq about three months after the capture of Saddam Hussein.  On June 16th,  2004,  Paiser was at his base’s PX in Balad when a rocket attack caused shrapnel to impact just below his right temple, permanently blinding him.