Laura Balser and Matthew Smith

Recorded April 15, 2022 Archived April 15, 2022 39:56 minutes
0:00 / 0:00
Id: ddv001609


Spouses Laura Balser (50) and Matthew Smith (50) talk about their marriage, memories of 9/11, and Matthew's military service in the National Guard.

Subject Log / Time Code

LB asks MS why he joined the military. He shares that it felt like a natural progression from a Boy Scout, ROTC, and because he needed money for college.
MS shares his military career, which started with full-time active duty, the National Guard, stocks, then business school (May 2001). He started at IBM on 09/04/2001.
LB and MS share their memories of 9/11. MS shares how on 02/03/2003 he was given notice to leave for Kuwait with no knowledge of when he would come home.
MS recalls his deployment to Iraq. He mainly worked throughout the country tracking Saddam Hussein. He describes the difference between his various deployments.
LB asks MS about coming home after a war zone. He describes the feeling as surreal, and how those who are in the armed forces make up such a small percentage of Americans so there is a huge disconnect from what veterans and active duty experience.
MS asks LB why did she say yes to someone who was in the National Guard. She honestly said that there was no war and she thought it was like a hobby.
MS shares the contrasts between Vietnam veterans' experiences from Americans coming back home and to Iraqi Freedom veteran's experiences from Americans coming back home.
MS shares his experiences with Howard Lee, a WWII veteran who had a tremendous impact on his life and was a grandfather-like figure to him.
MS and LB share advice for military couples and acknowledge those MS lost in combat.


  • Laura Balser
  • Matthew Smith


Partnership Type