Military Voices Initiative: Great Questions
Download (PDF): Suggested Questions for Interviewing Veterans and their Families
Early Days in the Service
- When were you drafted or when did you enlist?
- What do you remember about the day you enlisted?
- How did you tell your family and friends that you were joining the military? Are there any conversations that stand out from that time?
- If you enlisted, what were some of the reasons that you joined the military? How did you choose your branch of service?
- How did you imagine military life before you joined? How did your perceptions change after serving?
- What was basic training like?
- Can you describe a funny moment from boot camp?
- What are some of the things you remember about adapting to military life?
- Where did you serve during the war?
- If you deployed overseas, how did you tell your loved ones you were being deployed?
- How did you stay in touch with family and friends back home?
- What are some things you remember most about your deployment?
- If you saw multiple deployments, how did they differ from each other? How did you change?
- Can you describe how you felt coming home from combat?
- Was there anything you especially missed about civilian life?
Transitioning to Civilian Life
- Is there someone you served with that you remember fondly? Can you tell me about him/her?
- What are some fun things you and your friends did together while you were deployed?
- Did any of your military friends play pranks on each other? Can you describe a funny one?
- Did you ever get caught breaking any rules? Did you ever get away with something you weren’t supposed to do?
- Did you ever learn something about a fellow service member that surprised you?
- When did you leave the military? What was that process like?
- What were your first few months out of the service like?
- Was there anything or anyone that helped you during the transition from military to civilian life?
- Do you have advice for others transitioning out of the military?
- How do you think your time in the military affected you?
- What did you learn about yourself?
- What are some of your hopes for the future?
- What phrase or word will never be the same now that you served?
- When you were first discharged, what are some things about civilians that were difficult for you to deal with?
- Is there anything you wish civilians understood about military service?
- What are some habits you developed in the service that you like? What are some that you dislike?
- What are some things you miss about being in the service? What are some you are glad to have left behind?
MARRIAGE, PARTNERSHIPS, AND FAMILIES
- How did you meet your husband/wife/partner?
- What was your first impression of him/her/them?
- How did you know that he/she/they was right for you?
- What were some the best time in your relationship?
- What were some of the difficult times? How did you deal with them?
- What has been difficult to communicate to family and friends about your
- Do you have advice for other military couples?
- If you have children, what do you want them to know about your military
Remembering the Fallen
- What was your relationship to _______?
- Tell me about _______.
- What did _______ look like?
- What is one of your favorite memories of _______?
- How did you find out about _______’s death?
- What has helped you most in your grief?
- Do you have any traditions to honor _______?
- Do you have any funny stories about the two of you together?