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"When you wear the uniform, it changes you." (Video interview, 28:17)

   Mark S. Kirk
Image of Mark S. Kirk
Mark Kirk [detail from video]
War: Kosovo, 1999; Afghan War, 2001-
Branch: Navy; Navy
Unit: VAQ-209 (Electronic Attack Squadron); Military Joint Intelligence Center
Service Location: Pentagon, Arlington, Virginia; Suitland and Andrews Air Force Base, Maryland; Aviano Air Base, Italy; Incirlik Air Base, Turkey; also: Afghanistan
Rank: Commander
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Working in politics on Capitol Hill, Commander Mark S. Kirk realized that he couldn’t effectively advise on military matters without personal experience--so he volunteered for a direct commission in the Navy. This decision led to a dual career as both a politician and an intelligence officer, and eventually, as an air crewman flying missions in Iraq aboard a Prowler aircraft. Of his military service as a whole, he comments that it meant a “fundamental transformation of life,” and explains that all veterans, no matter the conflict or time period in which they served, are set apart by the way in which they have taken on the success and safety of the United States as their own personal responsibility.

Interview (Video)
»Interview Highlights  (5 clips)
»Complete Interview 
Download: video (34 min.)
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 Video (Interview Excerpts) (5 items)
Deciding he needed personal experience with the military; service with the Office of Naval Intelligence; detailed to the CIA; then served as a watch officer for the Navy Desk at the Pentagon. (02:20) Service during invasion of Haiti; working in the office of Chief Naval Operations as a senior forces analyst for the Pentagon; providing intelligence information on Haitian military. (02:00) Getting called up from Naval Reserves for combat in war in Kosovo; assigned to a Navy squadron flying EA-6B Prowler aircrafts; deployed to a military base in Italy; living conditions; combat operations against Yugoslav forces. (03:49)
Flying as an air crewman on the Prowler aircraft; motion sickness; mistaking flak for weather; realizing inherent danger of operations. (01:42) How military service changes a person; emotional commitment of service; difference in morale between military made up of draftees and the all-volunteer force; interconnectedness enabled by email and today‚Äôs technology. (03:33) 
  
 

Home » Mark S. Kirk
  The Library of Congress  >> American Folklife Center
  October 26, 2011
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