The Journal of Military Experience, housed in Eastern Kentucky University’s institutional repository, Encompass, features works by veterans returning from war who have found a therapeutic benefit and a societal responsibility in documenting their wartime experience. The journal’s goal is to provide a creative space for veterans to find a place to narrow the gap “between military and civilian cultures.”
Travis Martin, founder and editor-in-chief of the journal and an Iraq war veteran, says one of the functions of the journal is to “branch beyond the classroom.” Every submission falls under the critical eye of the editorial team where each author is paired with a writing peer who reviews the article or story before it’s published. The end result is a journal that serves its authors and readers with a burgeoning amount of high-quality content. Since their inaugural issue in July 2012, the journal has received over 4,760 full-text downloads across the globe. Authors range in age from college students returning from Afghanistan and Iraq to seasoned veterans writing about their times in Vietnam.
The journal has met strong support from EKU’s College of Justice & Safety, Student Government Association, the departments of English and History, local newspapers, and even news outlets on the national level, including mention in an article from The New York Times about writing programs and journals launched across the country. The JME is indicative of veterans exploring creative avenues to manage PTSD and their trauma. Martin, along with the assistance of Encompass’s copyright and scholarly communications librarian, Linda Sizemore, have looked at other universities to sponsor further military experience-centered journals that provide these writing opportunities for more poetry, artwork, essays, scholarly articles, and stories.