Interview with Paul Dolan

Matt Oleson, Interviewer | 1128
UW-Madison Campus Voices | Badger Veterans

0:00No transcript.

0:00 - Introduction

Play segmentSegment link

Partial Transcript:

Segment Synopsis:

Keywords:

Subjects:

0:28 - Joining the Military

Play segmentSegment link

Partial Transcript: Starting off-- Why did you decide to join the military?

Segment Synopsis: Paul Dolan (PD) felt he didn’t belong at college, didn’t have enough discipline. He talked to a recruiter and spoke of his experience signing up for the military. Joined the military a month after high school.

Keywords: army recruiter; basic training; college applications; Delayed Entry Program; DEP; Marine Corps

Subjects:

1:31 - Choosing the Marines

Play segmentSegment link

Partial Transcript: Why did you join the marines specifically?

Segment Synopsis: PD was looking for a challenge, was attracted by the motto “The few, the proud, the Marines.” He saw more job opportunities in the Marines as well. Tells of his hopes to be an Embassy Security Guard and working as a Radar Technician. Spoke of hopes to be a “War Hero,” and calls goals “ignorant.”

Keywords: Embassy Security; Marine Corps; military career; Radar Technician

Subjects:

3:03 - Boot camp

Play segmentSegment link

Partial Transcript: So you do remember how you felt when you official became part of the United States Marine Corps?

Segment Synopsis: PD calls the moment the proudest of his life. Speaks about hardships of boot camp. Tells how boot camp makes people feel comfortable in an uncomfortable situation. Tells process of teaching basics for every Marine. PD details info about following orders and people who would talk back or stand out, and the discipline tactics of boot camp.

Keywords: basic training; boot camp; discipline; Marine Corps

Subjects:

7:12 - Tested into aviation electronics

Play segmentSegment link

Partial Transcript: So you said you started out as a Radar Tech. How did you decide that you wanted to--

Segment Synopsis: PD tells how his high score on military intelligence test led to him becoming a radar technician. PD went to training for electrician and radar tech in Florida from November 2002 to about April 2004. Later, PD explains how his job as a radar technician allowed him to accomplish his initial hopes of becoming a U.S. Embassy Guard.

Keywords: ASVAB test; aviation; electronics; Embassy Guard; Marine Corps; Marine recruiter; Pensacola, FL; Radar Technician

Subjects:

9:43 - Stationed in Okinawa, Japan

Play segmentSegment link

Partial Transcript: You mentioned in the email that you've been stationed in Japan, the Netherlands...

Segment Synopsis: PD said his main goal of joining the Marines was to go away and experience foreign cultures. PD then recounts his experiences in Okinawa, Japan. He disliked being a radar technician, and being perceived as not a good guy because of former Marines on Okinawa. He enjoyed engaging the Japanese culture. Tells of Japanese protests of Marine presence after helicopter crash and an experience of dating a Japanese woman.

Keywords: dating; Japanese culture; Marine Corps; Okinawa, Japan; overseas duty; protests; Radar Technician

Subjects:

14:20 - Living in Japanese culture

Play segmentSegment link

Partial Transcript: You mentioned-- So you mentioned you had a girlfriend. Were there any cultural boundaries or language boundaries...

Segment Synopsis: PD explains how the language barrier was difficult but that many Japanese knew English. He also told of social nuances with tipping, dating, and social life that are different than in the U.S.

Keywords: etiquette; Japanese culture; language barrier; Marine Corps; Okinawa, Japan

Subjects:

16:31 - Expectations of military after 9/11

Play segmentSegment link

Partial Transcript: So how did your friends and family feel about you leaving going overseas?

Segment Synopsis: PD tells of how after Sept. 11th, he was afraid of going to the Middle East after the reserves were used up. He then detailed how he went to Okinawa after his unit was deployed to the Middle East. Additionally, once he was in the embassy program, he knew he would not be put in the front lines, which his family was happy about.

Keywords: 9/11; Delayed Entry Program; Embassy Guard; Marine Corps; Okinawa, Japan; September 11th

Subjects:

18:47 - Radar technician work

Play segmentSegment link

Partial Transcript: So what would a normal day be like, say in Okinawa, Japan?

Segment Synopsis: PD primarily dealt with maintenance on radar machines. He also completed different tasks that were assigned that would be monthly or weekly. Spent first 8 months in Okinawa fixing broken radar from the unit’s tour in the Middle East.

Keywords: Marine Corps; Okinawa, Japan; Radar Technician

Subjects:

21:43 - Free time in Okinawa

Play segmentSegment link

Partial Transcript: And so, when you weren't working, what kind of things did you do?

Segment Synopsis: Described his free time as being a naïve 20 year old chasing women. Also trained in Marine martial arts programs, played in sports, went to the beaches, and went to Tokyo.

Keywords: language barrier; Marine Corps; Marine Corps martial arts program; Okinawa, Japan

Subjects:

23:58 - Embassy post in Netherlands

Play segmentSegment link

Partial Transcript: So then after Japan, you went to the Netherlands?

Segment Synopsis: The Netherlands was PD’s first embassy post after a year in Japan. PD tells how his team maintained internal security of the U.S. Embassy in the Netherlands keeping surveillance and patrolling grounds. Details the different assignments of each day, evening, and night shift. The unit was self-sufficient, as far as ammunition stocks, feeding, and moral leaders. PD was happier as an embassy guard because he felt that’s what Marines should be doing. Liked to protect and help people.

Keywords: classified information; Embassy Guard; Marine Corps; Netherlands; Radar Technician; security; surveillance; U.S. Embassy

Subjects:

29:40 - Issues transferring to Cuba / Panama

Play segmentSegment link

Partial Transcript: So after the Netherlands, you were in Panama?

Segment Synopsis: PD was assigned to Cuba after the Netherlands as an award for being dependable and trustworthy. However the Cuban state made it hard for Americans to get Visas/Passports so he was sent to Panama Embassy while waiting for his Visa to get approved. Was told he’d be there for 1 to 3 weeks, spent 3 months there. Talked of diplomats in Havana blocking Visas for Marines.

Keywords: DEA; diplomacy; Embassy Guard; hardship post; Havana, Cuba; intelligence gathering; intelligence post; Marine Corps; non-fraternization; Panama; US Embassy; visas

Subjects:

35:37 - Embassy work in Cuba

Play segmentSegment link

Partial Transcript: And then-- So and then you were stationed in Cuba?

Segment Synopsis: The U.S. has no embassy in Cuba, worked at the Swiss Embassy because the country is an “interest section” at the Swiss Embassy. PD had similar responsibilities as in the Netherlands and Panama. He was promoted to the Assistant Detachment Commander of the Marines at the Swiss Embassy. Describes more restrictions on Marine behavior both by Cuban state and U.S. regulations. PD and other Marines could not go 25 miles away from base, and had “non-fraternization” policy with Cubans. American officials feared that every Cuban was trying to gain intelligence. PD gained a respect for ingenuity of Cubans to make due with what they had. PD told story of how oftentimes items for Americans shipped into country would be held by the Cuban government for long periods of time.

Keywords: Cuban culture; Embassy Guard; Havana, Cuba; intelligence gathering; Marine Corps; non-fraternization; Swiss Embassy in Cuba; US-Cuba relations

Subjects:

44:06 - Cuban government withheld US imports

Play segmentSegment link

Partial Transcript: You mentioned there were some instances where the government would withhold food or imports...

Segment Synopsis: PD often had to wait to receive any American Imports in Cuba because the government wouldn’t allow it to go through customs. He then tells about a “diplomatic pouch” the U.S. government implements to get sensitive information into harsh areas.

Keywords: Astana, Kazakhstan; diplomacy; Embassy Guard; Marine Corps; US-Cuba relationships

Subjects:

47:03 - Post in Helsinki, Finland

Play segmentSegment link

Partial Transcript: And what led to you picking Finland?

Segment Synopsis: PD began to work on an online degree, and planned on leaving the military after his tour was up so he chose Finland as his last post. He tells how he truly got involved with the culture in the country and he loved it. PD had less responsibility in Finland because he was transitioning out of the military so he had more free time. In Finland, PD was responsible for training new embassy guards and providing security detail to the embassy.

Keywords: career change; Embassy Guard; Finnish culture; Helsinki, Finland; Marine Corps; rugby; US Embassy

Subjects:

50:39 - 2007 G8 Summit

Play segmentSegment link

Partial Transcript: And then you mentioned also that, as something that you-- as an experience that you'd like to talk about--

Segment Synopsis: Marine security details are sent to areas 2 weeks before diplomats arrive, so PD was chosen to lead security detail at the 2007 G8 Summit. His unit was assigned to block off a section of the hotel the President (George W. Bush) was staying in. The high level of protestors of the G8 Summit led to tense and difficult maneuvering. The Marines worked as crowd surveillance specialists to keep an eye on the crowd so things didn’t get out of hand. The Marines worked closely with the German police at this time.

Keywords: 2007 G8 Summit; crowd surveillance; Havana, Cuba; Heiligendamm, Germany; Marine Corps; protesters; security detail

Subjects:

56:48 - Meeting President Bush / More on G8 Summit

Play segmentSegment link

Partial Transcript: They kind of rewarded us, which was nice, because the four Marines I was with got to meet the President...

Segment Synopsis: After the summit, PD got to meet President George W. Bush. PD wanted to give the President a souvenir as a gift. As he shook President Bush’s hand, PD gave him a shirt stored in his pants. He was then reprimanded by the secret service because no one was aware of what PD was trying to do.

Keywords: 2007 G8 Summit; Air Force One; Bono; challenge coins; crowd control; Havana, Cuba; Heiligendamm, Germany; Marine Corps; President George W. Bush; Secret Service; security detail

Subjects:

61:44 - Applying to UW-Madison

Play segmentSegment link

Partial Transcript: So that was the G8 Summit, and then you were in Finland.

Segment Synopsis: PD was asked to stay a couple months after his tour to help train the next embassy guard in Finland. He was then accepted to U.W.-Madison with a letter from the U.S. Ambassador to Finland.

Keywords: Ambassador to Finland; Associate's Degree; class registration; Embassy Guard; Helsinki, Finland; Marine Corps; UW-Madison

Subjects:

64:07 - Transitioning to UW-Madison

Play segmentSegment link

Partial Transcript: How would you say that transition coming back home was?

Segment Synopsis: PD said his transition to civilian life was much more difficult than expected. He no longer had his paycheck, food services, or health services he was used to. PD said he felt like a “fish out of water” at the SOAR program as a 26 year old among typical college freshmen. Additionally, PD became used to the structure of military life and had a hard time transitioning and having more free time. Described how Vets for Vets helped him because he could be around like-minded people. PD described how he had to go to a LGBT event as a part of one of his first classes, which really opened his eyes to different mindsets. Additionally, PD joined a community-involvement organization early in his college career.

Keywords: campus life; discipline; LGBT students; Marine Corps; placement exams; professional fraternities; SOAR; Student Orientation, Advising, and Registration; student veterans; UW-Madison; Vets for Vets

Subjects:

73:22 - Professional fraternity in chemistry

Play segmentSegment link

Partial Transcript: You said you joined a professional fraternity that would kind of do community outreach--

Segment Synopsis: PD as a prospective chemistry major, he saw fliers for an outreach organization, so he went to some meetings because he was looking for something to do. PD said the members were very nice to him to he continued to participate in assisted-living outreach events and rake-a-thons. The group also helped out with science fairs, and PD enjoyed helping young kids and inspiring them to get excited about their education. PD also volunteers at the VA Hospital because he likes to give back to veterans.

Keywords: assisted living; chemistry; community outreach; professional fraternity; science fairs; student veterans; UW-Madison; VA Hospital; volunteering

Subjects:

77:54 - Choosing UW-Madison / Using military experience

Play segmentSegment link

Partial Transcript: So why-- Why did you choose to come to UW after your time in the military?

Segment Synopsis: PD’s mother and uncle both attended UW Madison. Additionally, as a Wisconsin resident, UW stood out the most to PD as the best university to go to. His schooling has been improving since returning to civilian life. However, he still struggles with everything normal college students struggle with as far as deadlines, tests, projects, and trying different learning techniques. PD says his time as a Marine helped him with organization and time management. Additionally, he feels he is more punctual, dependable, and motivated because of his experiences.

Keywords: Greater University Tutoring Service; GUTS; learning styles; student veterans; study groups; UW-Madison

Subjects:

83:30 - Vets for Vets

Play segmentSegment link

Partial Transcript: You mentioned you were the president for Vets for Vets?

Segment Synopsis: PD started out at Vets for Vets in the peer-to-peer program where he would meet incoming veterans and help them with anything they needed. PD enjoys helping veterans feel like they’re normal and giving them a safe place to be among like-minded people. PD hopes to increase interaction between veterans and students because he thinks both groups could benefit from increased interaction. He plans to be involved in Vets for Vets until he graduates.

Keywords: Operation Enduring Freedom; student veterans; UW-Madison; Vets for Vets

Subjects:

89:37 - Reflecting on time in the Marines

Play segmentSegment link

Partial Transcript: Now that you've kind of had a little bit of time away from being in the Marines...

Segment Synopsis: PD feels that joining the Marines was the best decision of his life. The Marine Corps brought him structure and discipline, which allowed him to thrive and feel good. Additionally, he got to visit numerous places he would have otherwise not been able to visit. PD is proud of his time he spent in the Marines.

Keywords: Marine Corps; veterans

Subjects:

91:48 - Plans for the future

Play segmentSegment link

Partial Transcript: So you mentioned you are majoring in zoology and you hope to go onto a physical therapy program...

Segment Synopsis: PD plans on marrying his fiancé and pursuing a degree in physical therapy. He hopes to retire in Finland where he can drink beer and fish for the rest of his life

Keywords:

Subjects:

92:58 - Story of his uncle, a Vietnam vet, at UW

Play segmentSegment link

Partial Transcript: That's pretty much it. The last thing, always at the end of the interview--

Segment Synopsis: PD told a story of how his uncle, a Vietnam Veteran and UW Student, committed suicide after being treated at the VA. He feels it is important to help students and reach out to those at risk of developing PTSD. PD would like to see more initiative with helping veterans with whatever they need, which is why he enjoys being President of Vets for Vets.

Keywords: homelessness; student veterans; suicide; UW-Madison; VA Hospital; veterans affairs; Vets for Vets; Vietnam veteran

Subjects:

97:08 - End of Interview

Play segmentSegment link

Partial Transcript:

Segment Synopsis:

Keywords:

Subjects:

Search This Index
SearchClear