Lafayette Archives - StoryCorps

Two Iraq War Veterans Reflect On A Day That Changed Their Lives

Nick Bennett always knew he was going to join the military. His grandfathers were World War II combat veterans, and he hoped to follow in their footsteps. He joined the Marines, and missed being assigned to a combat unit during his first deployment. Dan Miller also had had a family legacy, and was inspired by his uncle to join the Marine Corps. 

Two white men stand embracing. The taller one on the right has his chin on the shorter man's head, and his arm around his shoulder. The shorter man is holding a photo album. The shorter man on the left is wearing a red t-shirt and the taller man on the right is wearing a black polo short sleeve shirt. Both shirts have the logo of Wounded Warrior Project on them.
Nick Bennett and Dan Miller embracing with a photo album at Nick’s home in Franklin, Indiana in August 2021. Courtesy of Wounded Warrior Project.

In 2004, when the Iraq War was in full swing, Nick and Dan were both deployed to a region known as the ‘Triangle of Death’, which saw some of the highest levels of violence and casualties during the war. There, Dan was a Gunnery Sergeant, and Nick was in charge of the internet cafe.

Nick valued his role in keeping soldiers connected to  their families, but he felt called to fight. And so he requested to join Dan’s security team. They came to StoryCorps to remember what happened. 

Two white men stand together fishing in a lake. The taller one is wearing sneakers, blue jeans and a black shirt. The shorter one is wearing sandals, black shorts and a grey t-shirt.
Nick Bennett and Dan Miller fishing at Camp Allendale in Trafalgar, Indiana in August, 2021. Courtesy of Wounded Warrior Project.

 

Top Photo: Nick Bennett and Dan Miller at their StoryCorps interview in Lafayette, Indiana on April 7, 2024. By Rec Room Recording for StoryCorps.

This broadcast is supported in part by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, a private corporation funded by the American people, and the National Endowment for the Arts.

Originally aired on April 27, 2024 on NPR’s Weekend Edition Saturday.