Got Your 6 Hosts Inspiring Veteran Storytellers

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The stage is set for the Got Your 6 Storyteller event, Nov. 5, in New York City.
Photo courtesy of Got Your 6

The veteran speakers at Got Your 6’s Storyteller event were incredibly diverse, including comedians, actors, nonprofit founders, and artists. Each one, after returning home, has become a community leader, helping other veterans to express themselves.


“My experience of being in the arts my whole life and my experience of having been in the military were not mutually exclusive, and they didn’t have to be,” said BR McDonald, an opera singer who joined the Army and founded the Veteran Artist Program.

Though each person provided different “storyteller” narratives, they all focused primarily on the idea of understanding who you are both as a service member and as a person. The series, held Nov. 5 at HBO Theater in New York City, stressed the importance of the arts in self-discovery after returning from combat and overseas.

Among the 13 speakers who told their stories were veterans BR McDonald; Maurice Decaul, a writer and poet; and Danielle Green, who works as a supervisory readjustment counseling therapist with the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Watch their stories below:

BR McDonald served seven years in the Army as an Arabic linguist and special operator. After leaving the Army, he returned to his roots as an actor and singer and founded the Veteran Artist Program.

Maurice Decaul, after serving in the Marine Corps, turned to poetry to ease his transition back to civilian life. He is now a poet, essayist, and playwright with work featured in The New York Times and The Daily Beast.

Danielle Green was a college athlete who joined the Army. After losing her left arm in combat, she found a renewed sense of purpose and now counsels the veteran community. She is also a Pat Tillman Foundation award winner.

Army Staff Sgt. Ahmed lives in California, and serves with the Active Guard Reserve. But he didn't come into service the same way his colleagues did — he started as a translator in Iraq, for American troops.

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(DoD photo)

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Marine Maj. Jose J. Anzaldua Jr. spent more than three years during the height of the Vietnam War. Now, more than 45 years after his release, Sig Sauer is paying tribute to his service with a special gift.

Sig Sauer on Friday unveiled a unique 1911 pistol engraved with Anzaldua's name, the details of his imprisonment in Vietnam, and the phrase "You Are Not Forgotten" accompanied by the POW-MIA flag on the grip to commemorate POW-MIA Recognition Day.

The gunmaker also released a short documentary entitled "Once A Marine, Always A Marine" — a fitting title given Anzaldua's courageous actions in the line of duty

Marine Maj. Jose Anzaldua's commemorative 1911 pistol

(Sig Sauer)

Born in Texas in 1950, Anzaldua enlisted in the Marine Corps in 1968 and deployed to Vietnam as an intelligence scout assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division.

On Jan. 23, 1970, he was captured during a foot patrol and spent 1,160 days in captivity in various locations across North Vietnam — including he infamous Hỏa Lò Prison known among American POWs as the "Hanoi Hilton" — before he was freed during Operation Homecoming on March 27, 1973.

Anzaldua may have been a prisoner, but he never stopped fighting. After his release, he received two Bronze Stars with combat "V" valor devices and a Prisoner of War Medal for displaying "extraordinary leadership and devotion to his companions" during his time in captivity. From one of his Bronze Star citations:

Using his knowledge of the Vietnamese language, he was diligent, resourceful, and invaluable as a collector of intelligence information for the senior officer interned in the prison camp.

In addition, while performing as interpreter for other United States prisoners making known their needs to their captors, [Anzaldua] regularly, at the grave risk of sever retaliation to himself, delivered and received messages for the senior officer.

On one occasion, when detected, he refused to implicate any of his fellow prisoners, even though severe punitive action was expected.

Anzaldua also received a Navy and Marine Corps Medal for his heroism in December 1969, when he entered the flaming wreckage of a U.S. helicopter that crashed nearr his battalion command post in the country's Quang Nam Province and rescued the crew chief and a Vietnamese civilian "although painfully burned himself," according to his citation.

After a brief stay at Camp Pendleton following his 1973 release, Anzaldua attended Officer Candidate School at MCB Quantico, Virginia, earning his commission in 1974. He retired from the Corps in 1992 after 24 years of service.

Sig Sauer presented the commemorative 1911 pistol to Anzaldua in a private ceremony at the gunmaker's headquarters in Newington, New Hampshire. The pistol's unique features include:

  • 1911 Pistol: the 1911 pistol was carried by U.S. forces throughout the Vietnam War, and by Major Anzaldua throughout his service. The commemorative 1911 POW pistol features a high-polish DLC finish on both the frame and slide, and is chambered in.45 AUTO with an SAO trigger. All pistol engravings are done in 24k gold;
  • Right Slide Engraving: the Prisoner of War ribbon inset, with USMC Eagle Globe and Anchor and "Major Jose Anzaldua" engravings;
  • Top Slide Engraving: engraved oak leaf insignia representing the Major's rank at the time of retirement and a pair of dog tags inscribed with the date, latitude and longitude of the location where Major Anzaldua was taken as a prisoner, and the phrase "You Are Not Forgotten" taken from the POW-MIA flag;
  • Left Side Engraving: the Vietnam War service ribbon inset, with USMC Eagle Globe and Anchor engraving;
  • Pistol Grips: anodized aluminum grips with POW-MIA flag.

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