When U.S. Marine David Pond returned from war, something was missing. After serving seven months in Afghanistan, Pond and his bomb-sniffing dog Pablo were split up. However, their recent reunion has helped him deal with his experiences post-deployment.
It's also helped him to talk about those experiences with students and the public at Regis University in Denver.
Pond and fellow Afghanistan veteran U.S. Soldier Nathaniel Pryor are part of a series taking place at Regis University through April called "Stories From Wartime."
The panels will also feature veterans from World War II, Vietnam, Korea and Iraq and are organized by Professor Nate Matlock.
David Pond on why the "Stories on Stage" panels are important:
"I hadn't vocalized a lot of the things I had [happen] while I was deployed, outside of my family and a few friends. And being able to just go and talk about it and pour your guts out. It gives people a chance to try and fathom these things. That's the thing with war, unless you've gone or have been in the military, you just don't know. So by telling our stories, where we've been, what we've done -- and giving it with a bit of an edge, exactly what happened, and not sugar coating it. People get more a first hand account of what it's actually like to be deployed."
Nathaniel Pryor on how he responded to a tough question from a student:
"Last year on the panel the movie "American Sniper" had come out, and someone asked, "how does he know that he had that many confirmed kills?" That was something I told the professor that I'd never talk about, but I actually ended up answering it. It just came out. And it kind of felt like a weight was lifted off me and, that's why I'm personally very open to answering any question anyone asks, some people aren't. But I am because I just feel it's healing, and it gets easier with time.
Nate Matlock on why "Stories From Wartime" has continued for 22 years at Regis University:
"There's a number of things we want the students to get out of it. I think it's very important for the public to have an understanding of what the individual experience of conflict is really like. That's probably my number one goal."
"About one percent of the population ever serves in uniform, and only a small fraction of those people ever see a shot fired in anger. And so I think it's very important for people who have done the nation's fighting to be in dialogue with members of the community and with the public so everybody can have some better understanding of what's done in our name, how it's done, and we can make informed decisions about when we're going to commit to a course of violence."
The "Stories From Wartime" moderated events take place weekly at Regis University and are open to the public. They run through April 25, 2017.
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