Liam Walsh


Liam Walsh graduated from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point in 2006, when the U.S. involvement in the Iraq war was at its height. Walsh would serve 14 months in Baghdad as an officer with the personal security team for the battalion commander. While there, Walsh learned to deal with local officials, along with IEDs and rocket attacks. Walsh would also be deployed to Afghanistan twice, the second time as a company commander helping to train Afghan security forces. As of the interview in 2014, Walsh is a captain and studying for his master’s degree at Tufts University.





On patrol in Tarok Kalache, Arghandab District, Kandahar Province, summer 2012


1st Platoon, Delta Company, 1st Battalion, 502nd Infantry Regiment. Summer 2008. FOB Justice, Baghdad


Saying farewell to my Afghan National Army counterpart at my change of command ceremony, Combat Outpost Terra Nova, Arghandab District, October 2012

Joe Shanahan


Joe Shanahan joined the Army ROTC at the University of Vermont in 2001 thinking it was a relatively peaceful time to serve in the Army. Sept. 11 changed all that. After extensive training stateside and in Kuwait, Shanahan took part in battles in Baghdad in 2003 and Fallujah in 2005 as an officer in the 3rd Infantry Division. He encountered everything from rocket-propelled grenades to corruption within the Iraqi police and armed forces.




Joe Shanahan in front of monument to Iraq-Iran war


Iraqis looting


On top of a tank turret

Michael Rush


Mike Rush grew up in West Roxbury with a strong military tradition; relatives on both sides of the family served in the military, especially the Navy. Rush would join the Navy in 1994 while a student at Providence College. He started with a Naval construction battalion (SeaBees), and would eventually move into military intelligence. At the time of the interview, Rush was a state Senator and a lieutenant commander in the U.S. Naval Reserves.



Mike Rush speaking at Memorial Day ceremonies in Dover, Mass.


Mike Rush in Iraq


Mike Rush, left, in his Navy whites

Molly McGlaughlin


Molly McGlaughlin wanted to follow her father and join the Air Force. Instead, she joined the Army’s Signal Corps, earning her commission as a second lieutenant following her graduation from Norwich University in 1989. Her career in active and Reserves duty has focused on information operations, including cybersecurity. As of 2015, she is a colonel, with tours of duty in Korea, Europe and Iraq.


William “Bill” Callahan


Bill Callahan is a “30-year” man with service in both the U.S. Air Force and the Mass. Army National Guard. His active service with the Guard includes two tours of Iraq, during which he helped provide logistics and supplies for coalition forces (2003-04), as well as helped provide security around Camp Liberty near Baghdad (2007-08). Callahan would earn two Bronze Stars for his work.



Bill Callahan, formal portrait


Col. Callahan in Iraq briefing security guards from Uganda.


Col. Callahan at Camp Victory in Iraq


David Gallo

U.S. Army 1984–2007


David Gallo joined the Army in 1984, after graduation from Salem State College. He entered the military police program and served in MP units while on active duty and later with the Mass. National Guard. He served in Iraq and Kuwait during Operation Desert Storm in 1991.


David Gallo, right, with state Sen. Richard Ross

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Paul F. Foley

U.S. Navy 1979–2009


Paul Foley joined the military in 1979 because he thought the U.S. was about to wage war against Iran. He joined the Naval Construction Battalion (Seabees) and served in a variety of positions around the world, from the Aleutians Islands to Antarctica. He also served two tours in Iraq. Foley retired in 2009 with the rank of Master Chief.


Paul Foley, 2014



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Viviana Cordoba

U.S. Army 1999–2008


Viviana Cordoba joined the Army in 1999 because she wanted to travel and be part of the Army lifestyle. As a reservist she worked in patient administration at Fort Devens with the 804th Medical Brigade. In 2005, she was called into active service, placed with the 883rd Medical Company and sent to Iraq. Her duties included interaction with the local workforce, and recording the experiences of troops returning from the battlefield. After six months in Baghdad, her unit was sent to Camp Liberty in southwest Iraq, and the remainder of her deployment she spent with clients, including more women veterans. Upon discharge she returned to Massachusetts; as of the interview in 2012, she was the coordinator for the Women’s Veterans Network, keeping the 28,000 female veterans in Massachusetts informed of the benefits and programs available to them.

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Brett Conaway

National Guard 2003-2022

While at Roger Williams University, Brett Conaway joined the ROTC program. Following the terrorist attack of September 11, 2001, he was called to active duty with the 211th Military Police Battalion of the 772nd Military Police Company, overseeing security at Otis Air National Guard Base and at airports on Cape Cod and the islands off the coast. He was then sent overseas for Operation Iraqui Freedom, where his battalion handled security for a base in Baghdad and conducted missions throughout the Sunni Triangle. A former palace of Uday Hussein became their headquarters. While training police in Fallujah, members of the 211th came under attack, and Conaway helped rescue wounded soldiers. After many years of active duty, Conaway talks about returning home and reuniting with his family.
Brett Conaway with a humvee.
An apartment building in Iraq.
Brett Conaway, inside one of the palaces.
Brett Conaway, at home with his sons

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