Welcome to the 18th Airborne Corps Podcast, a look inside America’s most prestigious military unit. With a new episode every Tuesday, host Joe Buccino explores the past, the present, and the future of the 18th Airborne, with each episode fully explaining one complicated subject.
Through discussions with some of the most prominent American and British historians, veterans, and currently-serving Soldiers from the Corps, Joe examines the full spectrum of life and service in the 18th Airborne.
Episode 107: End of An Era l The Final Episode
Winston Churchill was talking about the 18th Airborne Corps podcast when he famously said: "Now this is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning."
This is it, friends. The final episode. But not really the end of the podcast as you can always go back and listen to the old episodes at any time.
It's been a wild ride. Thanks for listening. Keep talking to each other.
Episode 106: To A Better Life l An Afghan Interpreter’s Story
Throughout our 20-year war in Afghanistan, so many me and women from that country risked themselves and their Families to support American service members and units. In the telling of that war, those Afghans must not be forgotten. Their sacrifices and the risks they took on our behalf are so real, the consequences for them so stark; the debt we owe to them is so steep.
One of those Afghans is a 25-year-old woman named Zamzama Safi. "ZZ", as she is affectionately known, had a trauma-filled childhood. Her father was an officer for the Afghan Army, making her a target of the Taliban as a child. As a teenager she was captured and held captive by the Taliban, only to later reunite with her Family. She later served as an interpreter for American forces herself.
At the end of the American presence in Afghanistan, ZZ was able to leave the country, making her way to Saint Louis, Missouri, with the help of a group of American military officers alongside whom she served.
This is ZZ's story. It's a story of courage and triumph. It's a story of trauma and tragedy. It's a story we all should hear as we seek to make sense of our experience in Afghanistan.
Episode 105: The Army Is A People Business with General Paul Funk II
Hey, friends! How's your 2022 going? Hope the New Year has been good for you so far. We're sure it's going to be a great year. And, if not, you at least have this podcast to look forward to!
General Paul Funk, commander of the Fort Eustis, Virginia-based US Army Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC), joins the 18th Airborne Corps podcast for episode 105. Paul talks about recruiting, training, and retaining a force that represents the country at a time of dynamic national and international change.
American society is evolving, global threats are progressing, technological change is accelerating. The American Army, too, must change. TRADOC is leading the way here, implementing new methods of communicating with potential Soldiers across the Nation, evaluating American citizens for Army service, and then educating, leading, and preparing Soldiers for continued service and for a new, more complex kind of combat.
This is a good, thoughtful discussion with Paul Funk, one that offers wisdom and insight for every Army leader. There are few topics more important to the institution of the US Army than the future of the force.
Episode 104: The Things Tim O’Brien Carried
Tim O'Brien, author of classic works of Vietnam War fiction such as "The Things They Carried," "If I Die in a Combat Zone, Box Me Up and Ship Me Home," and "Going After Cacciato," is an American literary giant. His writing helped define the Vietnam War for a generation of American readers, among them 18th Airborne Corps podcast host Joe Buccino, in the early 1990s.
Tim joins Joe for a long, riveting, personal conversation about his body of work, about his legacy, about growing up with an institutionalized alcoholic father, about starting a family very late in life. Tim and Joe also talk about the major motion picture based on "The Things They Carried" currently in development starring Tom Hardy and Pete Davidson (Joe vows never to watch it).
If Tim O'Brien's writing has made you feel the Vietnam War, this conversation will surprise and move you. If you've never heard of Tim O'Brien, well....this episode will open your eyes to a national treasure. Either way, you really owe it to yourself to listen to Episode 104 of the 18th Airborne Corps podcast.
Episode 103:The Healing Wall l The Controversy And Triumph of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial
The Vietnam War Memorial is a national landmark in Washington, DC that attracts millions of Americans every year. The reflective black granite wall engraved with more than 58,000 names is such a big part of our communal processing of that war. It's hard to imagine now, but during its inception the wall was a source of explosive controversy among Vietnam veterans.
This episode is the story of that wall. It's the story of Jan Scruggs, the wounded Vietnam veteran who fought for a national memorial to honor those Americans killed in that war. It's the story of Maya Lin, the Yale architecture student who designed the wall as a symbol that would not let the country off the hook for what it did to our Vietnam veterans. It's the story of the men who returned from Vietnam and organized a national movement to fund the memorial on the National Mall.
The story of the Vietnam War Memorial is a part of the story of the American experience in Vietnam. Like everything associated with that war, it was divisive within the United States, the subject of protests and outrage. It's now a source of comfort, of closure, of healing for so many Vietnam veterans and so many Families bereaved by that war. As Vietnam veteran, poet, and veterans' advocate John Musgrave said: "When I saw that wall, I knew it would save lives."
The wall, which displays no rank, no date of birth, no unit affiliation, and no hometown, bonds each of our Fallen in perpetuity.
This may be among the most important, insightful episodes we've ever produced, so we hope you'll listen and pass it on.
Episode 102: 2021 in Review
Oh, it's been a wild year, hasn't it friends? We climbed out of COVID. Went back into COVID. Closed out our longest war. Responded to crises within the US and abroad. Alwyn Cashe finally got the Medal of Honor. Now we're typing in these show notes. A bunch of other stuff happened.
So much, in fact, has happened over the past 12 months - including the launch of this podcast - that most people can barely keep it all straight. That's ok. Our host, Joe Buccino, and two friends, recap the entire year in less than 17 minutes.
It's episode 102 of the 18th Airborne Corps podcast and it's a good one. The year in review. Many more ahead for all of us. So, farewell to 2021. Cheers to a new, promising year. Thanks for supporting our show and thanks for listening. We here at the 18th Airborne Corps podcast will raise a glass of something for you on New Year's Eve.
Joe delivers deep and passionate analysis of many subjects centered on leadership. Candid interviews with a wide variety of perspectives and expertises keep the lineup of episodes engaging. My favorite episode is 39.
holds my interest
I first listened during Afghanistan withdrawal. I keep listening because I learn so much about the military and history! The host breaks down large topics into easy-to-understand segments. Great!
Top 5 Podcast for me! Thanks for creating it!
Thank you so much to the producers of this podcast! Every week, y’all add to my day and my character. I share this podcast with folks weekly. I have learned so much about leadership, service, our history as a nation as well as current day mechanics and human stories of this part of our country’s daily operations. I’m often humbled and grateful at the end of each episode. Huge thank you to Joe and the other hosts and producers who make this exceptional listening. (I don’t know how y’all are making at least two of these a week!) I will keep listening and sharing. Thank you for the passionate and rigorous excavation of truth, service, and growth in this very complex world that we are lucky enough to steward. Deep respect and gratitude for this contribution. I am better for it and suspect many others are as well. And deepest gratitude to all of you in uniform who show up to serve this nation’s highest ideals as we strive to make it even better each day.