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Dustin Hackbarth Story

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This is veteran Dustin Hackbarth's story written by Isaac Federspiel, student reporter for the War: Through Their Eyes, Vol. 3, Warriors & Students multimedia project.

Major: Political Science, University of Wisconsin Oshkosh
Military Rank: Sergeant E-5 3rd Brigade 4th Infantry Division Fort Carson, Colo. 
Tours: Dahlia Province 2005-2006, Baghdad 2007-2009, Dhi Qar Province 2010-2011

Nothing Like the Movies

by Isaac Federspiel
Student Reporter

About once or twice a month Dustin Hackbarth watches "Top Gun," which has been his favorite movie for as long as he can remember. It’s a solitary experience for Hackbarth, and even though he’s watched it countless times, he still tears up when Goose dies. The opening scene is what really hooks him into the movie.

They’re playing "Highway to the Danger Zone" and you got the aircraft on top of the aircraft carrier that’s ready to take off. The teamwork, the coordination, just going along with the excitement and the adrenaline. And the thrill of being catapulted off an aircraft.

Watching it reminds him of when he was young, before he graduated high school, before he attended college, before he joined the Army and before he learned that war is nothing like the movies.

To read the entire story, please download this PDF.


In this audio podcast, Dustin Hackbarth talks about how his experiences in war helped him grow an appreciation for the little things.


In this audio podcast, Dustin Hackbarth explains what paved his path to the military.


In this audio podcast, Dustin Hackbarth describes how he struggled coping with the loss of friends overseas.


Podcasts produced by student reporter Isaac Federspiel.

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