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 Submissions have been archived from veterans of World War I through Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom.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

Featured VHP Submissions

Col. (retired) Thomas Williams, a veteran of the Korean and Vietnam Wars, began his decorated military career in 1951 when he enlisted in the Air Force. He was following in the footsteps of his older brother who was a fighter pilot. While he had aspiriation to fly fighter planes, the Air Force had other plans for him. He learned to fly the B-26 which he flew in support of the Korean War. During the Vietnam War he flew C-130s. While he was stationed all over the world, his job at Little Rock Air Force Base, his final miliary, is a highlight because of his different role. “I did things here that I never had the opportunity to do before,” Williams said. He supervised the transportation, supply, comptroller, contracting and logistics plans and learned “more from the people with whom I worked than they learned from me.” 
 Listen to the memories of his more than 30-year Air Force career in this video.

Lt. Col. (retired) Robert M. Horn was destined to serve in the military. He grew up in Colorado Springs, Colorado, the home of the U.S. Air Force Academy. He learned firsthand about military service from his father who served in the Army Air Corps in WWII. Horn served in uniform for 22 years in locations across the world including Vietnam and in Panama ahead of the the U.S. invasion. His time in uniform helped him land his second career in Fort Smith as the Vice President of Finance and Administration for Westark Community College, which today is the University of Arkansas Fort Smith. Hear his memories of his years in the service in this video.

John Edmond Ross Sr. was inspired to serve as a paratrooper after watching the Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis movie “Jumping Jacks” about Army paratroopers. After graduating from Airborne School, Ross was assigned to Fort Bragg where he jumped 35 times and earned his senior paratrooper wings. Ross served two tours in Vietnam. For his service he earned the Bronze Star among other distinctions. Ross retired from military service in 1974. “I loved the Army. It was great. It was my home,” he said. Listen to his memories of military service in this video.