Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name


Organizational Unit

College of Arts Humanities and Social Sciences, Communication Studies

First Advisor

Bernadette Marie Calafell, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Erin Willer

Third Advisor

Kate Willink

Fourth Advisor

Jacob Hyde


Autoethnography, Identity, Military, Narrative, Reintegration, Veteran


This dissertation explores how Veteran reintegration is a process of identity transformation. Written as a first-person narrative and weaving my own story of Veteran reintegration and identity into the chapters, this purpose of this project is to address two questions: RQ1: Examining my own experiences of separating from the U.S. Military institution, what are some possible Veteran identity tensions that exist in the liminal space of reintegration? And, RQ2: How might the experiences of U.S. Military Veteran reintegration be shaped by an individual's sacred liminal experience of military initial entry training as well as their institutionalized liminal experience of belonging to the Military institution?

The overarching professional goals for this dissertation are 1) to argue that the current ways we are researching reintegration is exclusive and inhibiting; it has led to conceptualizations and understandings of reintegration to be solely about post-war and more explicitly, post-combat difficulties; 2) to illustrate the nature of liminality in military Initial Entry Training (IET) and Time in Service (TIS) and to shift our thinking towards identity; 3) to illuminate social struggles and challenges of [the] Veteran identity during [my] reintegration experiences; 4) to highlight how Veteran identity dissonance is rooted in the conditioning that happens during military IET and TIS and; 5) to propose and advocate a new term and subsequent conceptualization for reintegration that is comprehensive, inclusive, and centers the social manifestations of the Veteran identity.

In the final chapter, I propose new language and a new framework for experiences of Veteran reintegration and identity; I aim for this new framework to influence transdisciplinary research on Military/Veteran reintegration and identity in a way that leads to more comprehensive, inclusive, and effective program and policy development. The flow of this dissertation is organized according to these goals. My personal aim for this dissertation was to claim my own space to heal - to write through my lived experiences of IET, TIS, and reintegration so I can understand how my struggles are connected. I write to speak my truth and though I realize that all our truths are different, I intend for my stories to also illuminate some realities of my brothers and sisters in arms - because all of you are part of me, this story is both for and about you too.

Publication Statement

Copyright is held by the author. User is responsible for all copyright compliance.

Rights Holder

Jeni Hunniecutt


Received from ProQuest

File Format




File Size

201 p.


Communication, Military studies