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In July of 2006, the U.S. Armed Forces created a speakers initiative titled "Why We Serve."
This program was designed to give returning veterans the opportunity to share their personal military experiences with the American public, while answering the call for more first-hand accounting from the front lines.
Student Leaves Campus for Boot Camp

Marine Chief Warrant Officer Daniel K. Winnie photoWASHINGTON, March 21, 2008 – After completing four semesters at the University of Alabama, 19-year-old Daniel K. Winnie felt his life lacked discipline and direction. Story

Marine Captain Talks About Corps Pride

WASHINGTON, March 14, 2008 – Marine Capt. John Sand knows what it takes to be a good college student: go to class, read the book, and take good notes. Story

Veterans Connect with College Students

CINCINNATI, March 13, 2008 – Three veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan arrived unannounced yesterday on the University of Cincinnati campus to lead classroom discussions with about 250 students and shed light on their military lives. Story

ROTC Cadets Inspired by Servicemembers

CINCINNATI, March 12, 2008 – University of Cincinnati ROTC cadets attended on-campus lectures by three members of the Defense Department’s "Why We Serve" outreach program. Story

Speakers Asked to Substitute Teach

CINCINNATI, March 12, 2008 – Scores of students at the University of Cincinnati will be surprised today to find their history courses taught by servicemembers in uniform instead of their familiar tweed coat-clad professor. Story

Captain Helps Americans Relate to Troops

WASHINGTON, March 7, 2008 – Air Force Capt. Edward V. Szczepanik thinks his experiences -- both good and bad -- can help the American people understand the challenges servicemembers face... Story

Desire to Serve Brought Airman Back

WASHINGTON, Feb. 29, 2008 – Air Force Tech. Sgt. Paralyn McClain joined the military straight out of high school, but after an eight-year stint, decided to get out. Five years later, however, a love for the military and a desire to serve brought her back to the Air Force... Story

Sailor Shares Deployment Experiences

WASHINGTON, Feb. 22, 2008 – Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Emily K. Klinefelter may be a woman and a sailor, but she wants people to know that she has seen combat firsthand and gone through a lot of the same experiences as her brethren in the ground forces. Story

Air Force Sergeant Recalls Intense Firefight

WASHINGTON, Feb. 15, 2008 – An Air Force mechanic-turned-lawman cited leadership and teamwork as key reasons why his small band of airmen and Afghan police defeated a much-larger enemy force... Story

Small-Town Marine Broadens Horizons

WASHINGTON, Feb. 8, 2008 – With the aid of an unmanned aerial vehicle -- what she refers to as “a little bird with a video camera” -- Marine Sgt. LaDilvia S. Gregg used her eyes to safeguard troops... Story

Organizations interested in hosting a Why We Serve speaker can submit a request by simply logging on to A member of the Why We Serve Staff will be in touch soon thereafter to coordinate details.

Speakers are immediately available for booking throughout 2008 and will remain on-hand as long as the program exists. Please keep us in mind for your upcoming events, and don't forget to recommend the program to other organizations.
Speakers Photos
Soldier Chooses Military as Way of Life

WASHINGTON, Feb. 1, 2008 – Even as a child playing “G.I. Joe,” Army Staff Sgt. Gary Heffernan always thought one day he would wear the uniform himself. Story

Army Improves Life for Soldier, Family

WASHINGTON, Jan. 25, 2008 – Joining the Army more than four years ago helped Sgt. Dominic Garza achieve some of his personal goals and improve life for his new family. Story

Deployment Gives Sailor Message to Public

WASHINGTON, Jan. 18, 2008 – When Navy Senior Chief Petty Officer Ralph Chavez volunteered for a deployment to Afghanistan, he didn’t really know what he was getting himself into. It ended up being one of the best experiences of his military career. Story

Army Major Wants to Share Success Story

WASHINGTON, Jan. 11, 2008 – Army Maj. Lisa L. Carter, a two-time Iraq veteran, wants to share her life's success story with the American public. Story

Program Connects Troops, Civilians

Media outlets portray a version of the U.S. military as seen from the outside, but Americans across the country can access the primary source: hearing the military experience described by a soldier, sailor, airman or Marine who lives it. Story