In November 2002, Travis Martin was failing all his college classes so he decided he needed a change. After visiting the recruiter’s office, he joined the Army and soon found himself in Germany and then in Iraq for the first of two deployments.
Following his service Martin — this week’s guest on The American Legion Tango Alpha Lima podcast — returned to Eastern Kentucky University, which he had left earlier to get the degree that had eluded him. “It was important to me to show that I had grown.”
While he acquired the degrees he needed, there were few opportunities for him to stay in Kentucky and achieve his goal of teaching English. So he pivoted again.
Now, Martin is director of the Kentucky Center for Veterans Studies at Eastern Kentucky University and author of “War & Homecoming: Veteran Identity and the Post-9/11 Generation.”
In fact, he designed the program in 2010 when he was getting his masters degree.
“It’s really an odd story — a student designing and proposing curriculum to tenured professors is really unheard of,” he said, noting that “at the time EKU was one of the best colleges for vets, and still is.”
Among other topics Martin covers is using bibliotherapy, how he has succeeded despite batting post-traumatic stress, his book and more.
The book merges various experiences in a unique way to advance understandings of veteran homecomings.
“A lot of the time we talk about vets as one big model, they’re all the same, but that’s not true,” he said. “The book is about that and it is about the tangible effects that these stereotypes — both good and bad — can have as negative influences on individuals.”
Also notable this week is that Tango Alpha Lima was named among the finalists in the 17th annual People’s Choice Podcast Awards. Tango Alpha Lima is among 10 finalists — including last year’s winner, Inside the FBI — in the Government & Organizations category. The winners will be announced on Sept. 30.
This episode is among more than 140 that are all available in both audio and video formats here. You can also download episodes on iTunes, Stitcher or other major podcast-hosting sites. The video version is available for viewing at the Legion’s YouTube channel.