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About Today’s Guest:

Dr. David Kieran is an Assistant Professor of History at Washington & Jefferson College in Washington, PA. He is particularly interested in the interactions of war, the military, and American culture from the Vietnam War era to the present.

David has published widely on the legacy of the U.S. war in Vietnam and the cultural history of the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars. Recently, he completed the manuscript of Signature Wounds: The Untold Story of the Military’s Mental Health Crisis, published by New York University Press. This book, which draws upon interviews with nearly 50 high-ranking Army officials and thousands of pages of documents released through Freedom of Information Act requests, tells the story of the Army’s and the VA’s efforts to address the mental health issues that the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars produced, as well as how activists, politicians, and citizens seized upon mental health issues as a primary avenue to critique the wars.

He regularly teaches courses on topics related to twentieth-century America, War & Society, public memory, and African-American history and culture, as well as the capstone course for W&J’s American Studies concentration.

In this Episode, you will learn:

  • David’s background and experience
  • The defining aspect of Vietnam
  • Non-Veterans talking to veterans
  • Being respectfully curious about service members
  • How Vietnam influenced lawmakers’ approach to the Global War on Terror
  • Differences in mental health from Vietnam to today
  • Increased connectivity as additional stress
  • Addressing mental health issues after service
  • Good, bad, and adaptable responses to combat
  • Treatment and recovery while remaining in the service
  • Perceptions that others don’t understand that leads to desire to remain in or return to the military
  • Writing history while conflicts are still occurring
  • Need for cultural competence to provide care

Links Mentioned in this Episode:

David’s Web Site

David on Social Media:


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Duane France

Duane K. L. France is a combat veteran of both Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as a mental health counselor practicing in the state of Colorado. Do you want to join the conversation regarding veteran mental health? Share, like, and comment. Read Duane's previous posts and follow him on Twitter and LinkedIn. Keep the conversation about #veteranmentalhealth going.