Veterans History Project

Veterans History Project

There is perhaps no better way to learn about history than through firsthand accounts. You get a better understanding of what really happened when you hear directly from those who lived through the events. That’s what the Veterans History Project (VHP)—an initiative that aims to preserve and make accessible the personal accounts of American war veterans—seeks to do. 

Since the VHP was approved by Congress in 2000, over 100,000 veterans have described their service in audio and video recordings that are now part of the collection. Submissions have been archived from veterans of World War I through Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom. These men and women participated and witnessed some pivotal events in our nation’s history. 

Arkansans have a long and proud history of supporting our nation’s military. More than 250,000 veterans call Arkansas home, however only 1,200 Arkansas veterans’ stories are part of the VHP collection. I want to make sure this collection includes examples of courage, bravery and service of as many Arkansans who have worn our nation’s uniform as possible. 

Many of us have family members and friends who have served in the Armed Forces. Capturing and preserving their memories is a great way to honor their service and commitment to our country.

For more information on how you can participate in the Veterans History Project, visit

Celebrating 20 Years of the VHP

Featured VHP Submissions

Damon Helton is a veteran of Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom. He enlisted in the U.S. Army on February 22, 2001 and, to the surprise of many, had an Army Ranger contract. Helton deployed to Afghanistan with the 75th Ranger Regiment in early February 2002. He also deployed to Iraq as a part of the initial Iraqi invasion in 2003. During his four years of military service Helton deployed five times. He says the discipline of the Army Rangers and the positive influence of his military training has helped him succeed in civilian life. After he left military service, he discovered a passion for agriculture, which allowed him to mentally and emotionally recover from the side-effects of war. In this interview, Helton talks about his time in uniform and how agriculture continues to give him an opportunity serve others.
Gulf War veteran Master Sergeant (retired) Marilyn (Sue) Newton was interested in joining the Arkansas Army National Guard when she learned members would be training in Germany. Her desire to travel led to a 34-year career. She deployed with the the 224th Maintenance Company in support of Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm. She also completed the Sergeants Major Academy, achieving the rare accomplishment of graduating from both the Officer Candidate School and the United States Army Sergeants Major Academy. She shared her memories of military service in this interview

The late Benjamin Haymon, a World War II veteran, served in the Pacific Theater. On April 25, 1941, Haymon was drafted into the Army. At the age of 31, he was considerably older than many of his brothers in arms. He was deployed to Port Moresby, Australia where he served as a cook He continued his service in New Hebrides, now called Vanuatu. During a ceremony to honor Haymon in November 2019, he was presented with the WWII Victory Medal, coins, and letters, but the most moving moment was the formal presentation of the American flag. Haymon repeatedly shared a heartfelt “thank you” to those who attended and honored him. He shares his memories of military service in this interview.