Spring 2017 Veterans' Interviews
The students in Dr. Lauren Rule Maxwell’s Spring 2017 graduate Advanced Composition class conducted oral history interviews with a diverse group of U.S. veterans to learn about their military experiences. In addition to conducting interviews, the students incorporated the veterans’ stories into a range of writing exercises, including abstracts and feature articles, which appear with the interviews online.
Click on the hyperlinked headings below to see video recordings of the interviews, which also will be archived in the Library of Congress Veterans History Project. By capturing these histories, it is our hope that the interviews will do justice to the veterans’ stories while paying homage to their legacy and the principled leadership they inspire.
Many people deserve thanks for helping make this project a reality. In particular, we’d like to thank Lawrence Galasso in Multimedia Services; Raschonda Frazier in External Affairs; Keith Free and Tiffany Silverman from Citadel Fine Arts; and the staff of The Daniel Library.
Ahmet B. Arda was born in Turkey on March 9, 1987, but when he was a child his family moved to the United States, and he grew up in North Carolina. Coming from a family tradition of military service and being surrounded by veterans in the Charleston area growing up, Ahmet decided to join the Marines after graduating from high school. During his time in the U.S. Marine Corps, Ahmet served as a sergeant in the 4th Marine Logistics Group in Iraq during Operation Iraqi Freedom, protecting convoys from attack while also warding off the natural threats of heat and dehydration.
In his career as a Marine moving from one Marine base to another, and in his deployment to Iraq, Ahmet forged unforgettable bonds that he keeps to this day. It was while stationed in Illinois that Ahmet met his wife, Jae, whose interview appears below. They now live in Charleston, where Ahmet is currently studying at The Citadel to receive a degree in Biology. After graduating, he hopes to go on to work in researching diseases and biological weapons. Outside of his academic career, Ahmet spends his spare time similarly to how he grew up in the Carolinas—outdoors hunting and fishing with good friends.
Born on January 1, 1987, on the Marine base in Cherry Point, North Carolina, Janice “Jae” Arda is familiar with the military lifestyle. A fourth-generation Marine, she followed in the footsteps of her father, grandfather, and great-grandfather when she joined the Marine Corps Reserve at 20 years old. Though she enlisted on a Reservist contract, she was part of a unit activated for deployment at the end of 2008, spending seven months overseas in Iraq as part of the Iraqi Sovereignty campaign. Her time overseas was spent as part of the maintenance crew, and she continued this work upon returning to Illinois from Iraq as she completed her contract. Jae was meritoriously promoted twice based on her supportive nature and drive to see others succeed.
In this interview, Jae shares her life before, during, and after the military. She opens up about deploying overseas, breaking female barriers, volunteering with Toys 4 Tots, and advising women on joining the military. Jae completed her Nursing degree in Chicago and is now an Emergency Room Nurse at the Medical University of South Carolina. She and her husband, Ahmet, now live in Charleston.
Tim Frizelle was born December 14, 1949, in Charleston, South Carolina. He served in the U.S. Army during the Vietnam War from 1969 to 1971. In this interview, we learn about his southern roots, experiences within the draft office, and the constant action he witnessed in Khe Sanh, Vietnam. Mr. Frizelle credits the Army with training him well and helping him survive the war.
At the age of 20, Tim Frizelle was drafted and shipped to Vietnam to cook for the 17th Calvary 101st Airborne Division. At Khe Sanh, he was under constant shelling from the People’s Army of North Vietnam (PANV). Within the first week, his mess tent was blown up, and he heated C-rations for troops in barrel heaters. Being in the hotspot that was Khe Sanh, Frizelle believes that he saw more combat than your average cook—more than enough for his lifetime. Having to adapt to harsh living conditions, dealing with death daily, and receiving a Purple Heart, Tim Frizelle answered the call of his country when his number was called. Though his interview is humorous at times, Timothy Frizelle discloses the hardships of war and the sacrifices the Armed Forces make for the greater good.
Senior Chief Petty Officer (SW) Eric Charles McCafferty retired from the U.S. Navy after 20 years of service in 1993. His military career began in the final days of the Vietnam War and ended only a short time after the Persian Gulf War. During that time, Mr. Rick served aboard the USS Conyngham (DDG-17), USS Rich (DD-17), USS Clark (FFG-11), and the USS Santa Barbara (AE-28). During his time in the Navy, Mr. Rick mentored countless young sailors, and he was onboard during a violent collision that crippled the USS Rich. Onboard the USS Clark, Mr. Rick joined his ship in rapidly responding to the bombing of the Marine Barracks in Beirut, Lebanon in 1983. Ten years later, in the early morning hours of the First Persian Gulf War, Senior Chief McCafferty stood watch as Officer of the Deck onboard the USS Santa Barbara—he was the only enlisted person entrusted to command the ship at sea in that role. Mr. Rick’s 20-year career is a testament to his commitment to a larger purpose and to his fellow shipmates.
Eva Maria Jarvenpaa Montalbano is the mother of two, Rebecca and Linda; grandmother to three, Adam, Erin, and Logan; and a good friend to all who know her. Eva’s life was lived in small towns, big cities, and on U.S. Naval bases in Bermuda and Sicily. Growing up in a small town in Massachusetts, Eva longed for adventure, and she found it in the Navy. Eva entered the U.S. Navy in 1957. After boot camp and training school, she was assigned first to the Bureau of Naval Personnel and later to the Office of Legislative Affairs in Washington, D.C., where she worked under the command of Admiral John S. McCain, Jr.
Although she had hoped to make a career of the Navy, family would take precedence in her life, and with a very heavy heart, she would accept an honorable discharge from the Navy in November 1959. This was not the end of Eva’s adventure, however. She was the wife of a sailor, and in the best tradition of military wives, Eva would call various duty stations home over the next 14 years. She would go on to work in the transportation industry in New Orleans, the place she has called home since 1970.
Female service members today continue to struggle with juggling family and service. Eva has personally experienced the consequences of having to make this decision in her life and has seen this same struggle in the life of her daughter and in the life of a niece. Eva’s story demonstrates how marriage between members of the Armed Services can be difficult and require sacrifice but also be exciting and fulfilling.
Mr. Richard Stoughton served as a Captain in the U.S. Air Force for five years, including three months in combat during the Vietnam War. He was born on November 11, 1946, in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania. Growing up in a military family, Mr. Rick always knew that he wanted to join the Armed Forces. After graduating from The Citadel in 1968 with a degree in Mathematics, he married, and shortly after began navigation training in California. He was then sent to the Holloman Air Force Base in New Mexico, where he was called to duty in Vietnam. During his time in Vietnam, Mr. Rick participated in many successful missions, became a member of the River Rats (an organization for fighter pilots founded during the Vietnam War), and earned several medals, including a Distinguished Flying Cross.
After leaving the Air Force in 1973, Mr. Rick and his wife moved back to Charleston, where he began working at a local bank. He returned to The Citadel, where he earned his MBA. Mr. Rick, now retired, is living in Charleston, and he remains active in the local River Rats community.