Online Radio Show Gives Voice to Military Community

By Jamie Findlater
Special to American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Sept. 2, 2008 - The host of a radio program available worldwide on the Internet gives servicemembers a chance to tell their stories.

"This is one way that I can serve the military," Dave Whitten, host of "Voice of the Troops," a weekly hour-long show on Phoenix station KFNX and carried on the station's Web site, said in an "ASY Live" BlogTalkRadio interview.

"ASY Live" is part of the Defense Department's America Supports You program, which connects American citizens and companies with servicemembers at home and abroad.

"I grew up in a very military household," Whitten said. "I always kick myself for not serving."

The idea started for Whitten a year and a half ago, he said, after listening to the radio and television and sensing a need to bring to light the voice of the individual servicemember.

"You hear all the bad stuff that goes on," he said. "Let's face it, war is not pretty. ... But you never [get] to hear the good stories about the good things that our troops [are] doing."

on the program airs Sundays at 7 p.m. PST and is available on the Web at

"I give them an hour every week to talk about whatever they want without cutting them up into sound bites," Whitten said. Topics range from post-traumatic stress disorder to military history.

"On one of our most memorable shows, we had two of the remaining five Navajo code talkers talking about how they saved countless numbers of Marine lives in the Pacific Theater," he said. "What was really interesting was that many of these guys were in their mid-80s, and you never know, this might be the last time we capture this. I was told by another Marine, "You guys have captured a part of history."

It's important, especially with current conflicts, to talk to those who are directly affected, Whitten said.

"Kimberly Dozier was a CBS News reporter that we had on our show recently to talk about her experience," he said. "Kimberly and her video crew were involved in an [improvised explosive device] explosion over in Iraq and almost lost her life. [As a] matter of a fact, her photographer and sound person did lose their lives, and she knows first-hand the type of quality care that military survivors received. We got her on the show to talk about how the military doctors got her back to normal."

The show also discusses recent topics of interest and the important ramifications of new military policy.

"Recently, we had a show with two colonels, Kevin and Kate Voight, who talked about their experience serving as intel officers based in Baghdad, Iraq," he said. "Now that Army rules have changed, they can actually serve in a combat area together and have their own housing. It's a way to attract qualified people, because they can have the 15 months of actually functioning as a husband and wife."

Voice of the Troops also brings to light plans for future development of new capabilities. For example, he said, he has lined up Air Force Maj. Gen. William T. Lord, commander of the Air Force's provisional Cyberspace Command, as a guest for an upcoming program to talk about the importance of defending the nation's computer systems from adversaries.

Whitten said he appreciates that programs like America Supports You work to get the message out to servicemembers about programs like his.

"We are proud to work with programs like America Supports You, [which] has done a phenomenal job in garnering the support of people throughout the nation," Whitten said. "We need to help [the public] understand that there is a need out there. We still have men and women in a combat zone, and my hat's off to ASY for what they do."

(Jamie Findlater works in the New Media directorate of the Defense Media Activity.)

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