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00000176-e6f7-dce8-adff-f6f7713f0000Veterans' Stories: Project 412 is a series of interviews created and produced by a group of Pittsburgh-area active-duty military personnel and veterans in 2014. 90.5 WESA partnered with Leadership Pittsburgh's Community Leadership Course for Veterans to shine a spotlight on area veterans from all branches of the military, who share personal memories and stories about their service in conflicts from World War II to Iraq and Afghanistan.This project supported in part by a Seed Award from The Sprout Fund.

Ryan Ahl: 'You're in a War Zone ... Anything Could Happen, and It Normally Did'

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Ryan Ahl enlisted in the Pennsylvania Army National Guard in 2002 and was eventually commissioned as a second lieutenant.

Ahl said his fondest memories from two deployments to Iraq were the days spent occupying observational posts and knowing he had the support of his fellow soldiers.

“You’re in a war zone and you’re with three of your closest buddies and anything could happen," he said. "And it normally did.”

Ahl said he feels part of something bigger than himself. He has gained a respect for freedom and understanding of other cultures through his service.

In addition to his duties with the National Guard, Ahl is also the director of the Office of Veterans Services at the University of Pittsburgh. He plans to continue his education and hopes to work with veteran reintegration in his future.

Ahl was interviewed by CLCV team member and former U.S. Army E-5 Sergeant James Yauger. Read more about Veterans' Stories: Project 412 and its participating team members.

Kevin Gavin is the host of WESA's news interview program "The Confluence." He is a native Pittsburgher and served as news director for 90.5 WDUQ for 34 years. Since the sale of the radio station by Duquesne University to Pittsburgh EPM, Inc. (now Pittsburgh Community Broadcasting Corp.), he served as Executive Producer of Special News Projects prior to being named as host of "The Confluence" five years ago. kgavin@wesa.fm
Sarah Schneider is WESA's education reporter. From early learning to higher education, Sarah is interested in students and educators working to create more equitable systems. Sarah previously worked with news outlets in Pennsylvania, Illinois and Idaho. She is a graduate of Southern Illinois University Carbondale where she worked for the school newspaper, the Daily Egyptian.
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