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"At that moment, it didn’t quite dawn on me what I had just done. I didn’t think 'you just jumped into the battalion that’s going to be the first wave from the 82nd Airborne going into Afghanistan.'" (Video interview, 29:02)

   Joachin Jefferson Marchand
Collection image
Joachin Marchand at time of interview
War: Afghan War, 2001-; Iraq War, 2003-2011
Branch: Army; Army
Unit: Alpha Company, 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 82nd Airborne Division
Service Location: Fort Benning, Georgia; Fort Bragg, North Carolina; Germany; Madrid, Spain; Ireland; Saudi Arabia; Kuwait; Turkmenistan; Afghanistan; also: Iraq
Rank: E-5
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Joachin Marchand took his oath of enlistment on September 11, 2001, moments before the world learned about the terrorist attacks that occurred that morning. Having told his recruiter that he wanted to do “the toughest thing you’ve got” he wound up in Afghanistan with the 82nd Airborne a matter of months after enlisting. A few months after an eventful deployment to Afghanistan in which he experienced firefights, violent local politics, a leopard encounter, and a shot-down helicopter, his unit was deployed to Iraq. There he and his comrades found themselves embroiled in heavy firefights in Fallujah in late 2003 and early 2004 as that city contended with an increasingly violent insurgency. After guarding polling stations during his third deployment in three years, Marchand was relieved to leave the military and begin the emotional healing process from his experiences. Since leaving the Army, he has attained a master’s degree in public administration, served as a city councilman, and become active in advocating for social causes.

Interview (Video)
»Interview Highlights  (10 clips)
» Part 1 
Download: video (102 min.)
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»Twenty Years of Service: Post 9/11 Veterans
 Video (Interview Excerpts) (10 items)
Finishing school at Haskell University and deciding to join the Army; taking his oath of enlistment on September 11, 2001; partying in a hotel the night before they shipped off to basic training. (07:14) Getting himself reassigned to Alpha Company, 1st Battalion, 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 82nd Airborne Division, because he wanted to stay with his friends from Basic Training; did not realize the battalion was due to deploy to Afghanistan in a few weeks. (05:07) Mission in mountains around Bagram Air Base to observe suspected supply lines from Pakistan; finding a remote farm in mountains where elderly man claimed to be Osama Bin Laden’s relative; finding documents including forged U.S. passports, airplane schematics at the farm; helicopter hit by ground fire during extraction and had to crash land. (13:09)
Operating in Khost Province while his platoon was attached to a team from 7th Special Forces Group; encounter with a leopard on an overnight reconnaissance patrol; finding hemp plants. (06:29) Having to fight insurgents over supply drops while at their patrol base in Khost, which meant they often went hungry; dealing with warlord who murdered and stole from the local people. (04:58) Learning they were being sent to Iraq shortly after returning from Afghanistan; conducting operations in Fallujah out of FOB Volturno (later known as Camp Baharia); heavy firefights in Fallujah; locals mistakenly believed they were cannibals. (07:52)
Conducting joint operation in Fallujah to distract attention from the special forces raid that captured Saddam Hussein; operations to interdict weapons trafficking in Fallujah. (02:53) Marchand’s mother organized a group of her coworkers to send care packages for Christmas to members of his squad who were not getting mail. (03:01) Emotional strain of returning from Iraq after having comrades killed and wounded; feeling honored at supervising a burial detail for the funerals of soldiers killed in action. (02:52)
Processing out of the military; seeing his family again; adversity faced by Native Americans living on reservations; healing emotionally from his combat experiences; attaining a master’s degree in public administration. (08:12)  
  
 

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  The Library of Congress  >> American Folklife Center
  October 26, 2011
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