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The project

Incoming is a collaboration between So Say We All, a literary and performing arts nonprofit, and KPBS. The project's goal is to provide a platform for true stories of the men and women of America’s military, told in their own words, about their experiences leaving war and transitioning back to civilian life.

Originally created in the form of a print anthology and storytelling series by So Say We All through the Cal Humanities “War Comes Home,” initiative, administered by the Oceanside and San Diego Central Libraries, Incoming provided creative writing workshops to veterans throughout Southern California at no cost, and solicited veteran writers across the nation to submit their works on the subject.

Thanks to the KPBS Explore Project, the Incoming team was able to record contributors performing their stories along with interviews, provide scoring by Chris Warren and his coterie of talented San Diego-based musicians, and present them on-air and online. The project's aim is to provide an oral history archive of the experiences of pre and post-9/11 veterans’ journey home. Incoming creators have endeavored to do so under the full knowledge that American veterans who served in the Forever Wars have died as a result of suicide than combat, on a markedly disproportionate scale.

That is why the creators dedicate this project to those who never came home.

Where to listen

Subscribe on iTunes.

Subscribe on your favorite podcatcher.

Download the producer's cuts on SoundCloud.

Get fresh with NPR One.

Click through full episodes below.

Other KPBS podcasts

Cinema Junkie with Beth Accomando

Midday Edition with Maureen Cavanaugh

San Diego Headlines by the KPBS News team

The episodes

Episode 1: Women Don't See Combat

Two veterans tell real tales of war: memories that linger from each deployment and a different kind of fight — beyond the frontlines. Episode 1 features veterans Brooke King and Kelli Hewlett.

Episode 2: American Pirates

Two real veterans share their honest stories. One man struggles to maintain his relationship while wrestling with the power he wields in war, another finds himself in a new role as a pirate. (The pirate also happens to be the crush of Incoming host, Justin Hudnall.)

Episode 3: Any Station This Net

A combat photojournalist fears conflict. From the streets of Afghanistan he tells his story of unwinnable war and moral injury. Another soldier avoids being the last casualty of a forgotten war. He decides whether he must get out of his current life of revolving battles or go back home, where everything is foreign.

Episode 4: Back To School

A veteran goes through the motions of school, but with the weight of war on his mind. He also shares how PTSD colors life in surprising ways. And a militarized academic discusses writing as therapy for veterans and the importance of waiting in the military.

Episode 5: My Life As A Foreign Country

Incoming returns with "the poet laureate of veteran writers," Army veteran Brian Turner. He performs some of his award winning pieces, and discusses his career in the Army, and teaching veterans to write through their experiences.

Episode 6: I Write To You From Kandahar Again

Career Army servicewoman Mariah Smith has completed six tours and was one of the first female candidates in the Army's integrated Ranger school. On this episode of Incoming she discusses gender integration in the military and balancing her identity in and out of the service.

Episode 7: Here's A Tip: Don't Die

This episode of Incoming has a very precise theme: Navy veterans of literary and artistic inclinations who live in San Diego. Hosts Justin Hudnall and Julia Evans get acquainted with this unique cohort.

Episode 8: Where Will The War Go Next?

Marine veteran, author, and actor from "The Wire," Benjamin Busch, talks straight about practicing for war, the importance of acting in military service, and how death feels different when he's home, no longer on the battlefield.

Episode 9: Asking And Telling

Justin Hudnall sits down with vet Anthony Moll, who used to be a trainer for the military's "don't ask don't tell" policy. Anthony identifies as queer and is among the last generation of service members who had to stay in something like "the closet." In this episode, Justin asks, Anthony tells.

Episode 10: Therapy

Lisabeth Prifogle joins Incoming this week. She talks us through her post-deployment therapy session, how she learned to forgive civilians and take control through running.

The music

All the music you hear on Incoming was performed by local artists just for these stories.

Chris Warren: lead composer, audio editor, software and assorted noisemakers

Ariana Warren: woodwinds

Kristopher Apple: violin and electronics

Christian Kjeldsen: electronics

A.F. Jones: guitar and electronics

Charlie Arbelaez: tenor saxophone

Nakul Tiruviluamala: piano

Nicolee Kuester: french horn

Sol Jorge Moscol: guitar

Tim Koch (aka 10:32): composer, outro song, "Blue Little"