When she joined the Army, Shoshana Johnson figured she’d “save some money, lose some weight, and come back home.” It didn’t work out as planned: in her first month in Iraq, working as a cook in a maintenance unit, her convoy took a wrong turn and she was wounded and captured, becoming the first Black American woman to be held as a POW. But her captivity was only the beginning.
Johnson’s story is the first episode in a new podcast series, American Veteran: Unforgettable Stories.
In war and in peace, what veterans have done in America’s name is woven into the fabric of the American story. The new PBS series, American Veteran, illuminates their experiences with a stunning range of veterans’ voices, presented in a primetime television series; a collection of digital shorts on YouTube, American Veteran: Keep It Close; and a new 9-part podcast, American Veteran: Unforgettable Stories.
Each episode of the podcast revolves around the direct testimony of a single veteran – from a Coast Guard gunner’s mate who manned a landing craft at Omaha Beach on D-Day, to an Army nurse in Vietnam who struggled to do her part, to a satellite technician who served as a gay man during the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell era. This collection of riveting first-person stories provides a compelling portrait of the veteran experience over multiple generations.
The series is hosted by Phil Klay, a Marine Corps veteran featured in the American Veteran television series and author of the National Book Award-winning collection of short stories, “Redeployment.”
American Veteran: Unforgettable Stories is a production of Insignia Films and PRX for GBH.
For more powerful memories from veterans, visit PBS.org/AmericanVeteran, where you can also watch the American Veteran television series and digital short films. Learn more by using #AmericanVeteranPBS.
Funding for American Veteran: Unforgettable Stories is provided by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, with additional funding from The Wexner Family Charitable Fund, Battelle Memorial Institute, JPMorgan Chase & Co., and Analog Devices.
This program is made possible by viewers like you. Please support your local PBS stations: https://pbs.org/donate
Subscribe to the American Experience | PBS channel for more clips: https://www.youtube.com/AmericanExperiencePBS
Enjoy full episodes of American Experience anytime, anywhere with the free PBS Video App: https://to.pbs.org/2QbtzhR