Barracks Stories

Welcome to Barracks Stories, hosted by US Navy Veteran Alan Murphy (@MrAlanMurphy). We've all heard military veterans share their story in some bar or at a gathering with friends and family. On this monthly podcast you will find candid conversations with military veterans about their funny, memorable and hilarious moments from the barracks, training and deployment. More information and content from the podcast can be found on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook (@BarracksStories).

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    Dysentery and the Red Light District in Germany - James Fitzgerald

    Our guest for this week is James Fitzgerald, a U.S. Army Staff Sergeant veteran. James has an interesting back story. He joined the military at the age of 19 to gain connection in the world and said that the quickest way to gain connection to the world is thru service.

    He started his 16-week bootcamp at Fort Ben from basic training to AIT. During his AIT days, it was a relentless barrage of trainings and drills. It even came to a point where he even dream about those drills at night. After the bootcamp, he wants to get away as far as possible from Tennessee and luckily his first duty station was in Fort Louis in Washington State. He was eventually transferred to Germany for 3 years with a 15 month tour to Iraq and Afghanistan afterwards in 2010. He medically retired in 2014 due to sustained injuries.

    We talked about his memorable experiences during his 16-week bootcamp, his time at Washington State where he got culturally shocked, his eventual transfer to Germany and crazy drunk stories while he was there and got in “trouble” with the German police. He shared how he appreciates the German soldiers, why Germans love Americans and if he’s still friend with the soldiers he worked with.

    James also shared his experience when transferred to Fort Campbell in Kentucky and how it changed his life, the story of his deployment in Afghanistan and why it's way different from Iraq, his back injury and how it happened, and many more.

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    Dedicated to the 2004 West Point Class - Frank Aburto

    Our guest for this week is my friend Frank Aburto - a Senior Manager focusing on Financial Planning and Analysis for Audible, the world's largest provider of audio-books.

    Frank grew up with a family who served in the military. He joined in 2000 when he went to West Point and took East Asian Studies & Mandarin Chinese. He chose to go the officer route instead of ROTC or enlisting during high school because he wanted to have something else in case he wanted to get out of the military.

    After graduating in 2004, he was commissioned as an armor and cavalry officer and spent a year in South Korea as his first duty station. He eventually moved to 2nd Stryker Brigade in Hawaii and completed a 15-month deployment in Camp Taji, Northern Baghdad.

    We talked about his journey of applying to West Point and memorable moments during his 4-year stay there. He also shared his experience at Fort Knox when taking up Officer Basic Course, how was he able to choose South Korea and Hawaii as his first and second duty stations, and how his 15-month deployment in Camp Taji changed him personally along with the lessons he learned.

    He also shared some untold stories from his deployment, what made him decide to get out of the military, his fallen comrades from his class, and the struggles of keeping in touch with other members of his West Point class as a civilian.

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    Sexual Misconduct and Spiderman - Tom Smoot

    Tom Smoot – Chief Executive Officer of Lift and Shift Foundation, a foundation dedicated to providing veterans with science and technology activities deployed as an alternative therapy setting, geared towards building confidence and developing problem solving skills.

    Tom served in the military for 12 years as a staff sergeant mostly in civil affairs, and briefly as a chemical reconnaissance soldier. He’s been deployed in various countries such as Iraq, Kuwait, and Afghanistan.

    He moved away from his family to have personal space in Ocean City Maryland at an early age of 17, worked a few jobs, and realized that he wanted to be someone better, hence joining the military.

    We talk a lot about memorable moments from his first drill sergeants, life during and after various deployments, his struggles from having Post Traumatic Stress Disorder during reintegration, and his Lift and Shift Foundation – it’s inception and it’s mission of redirecting wounded veterans to a new purpose.

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    How to Part a Protesting Crowd in Bahrain - Raphael Harry

    On this episode of Barracks Stories, I talk to a Navy veteran buddy of mine. He immigrated from Nigeria in late 2007 at the age of 25, unsure about what to do for work or school once he was in the States. At the encouragement of his cousin who was in the Navy, he started looking into joining the Army because he didn’t know how to swim. His mother objected to this idea strongly, not wanting to send her youngest son off to the Middle East, so he decided to follow his cousin’s lead and join the Navy, where his mother assumed he would always be safe on a ship.