Oral History: Ryan Ferrell


I was excited when this project was introduced to us. I love story time! I decided to interview my grandpa, John Miller, as retired U.S. Army veteran that worked with communication technology and electronics. I could hear the excitement in his voice when I called him to ask if I could interview him about the technology he’s worked with for so many years. When I got home, we interviewed in his bedroom, which has lots of furniture to cushion the sound and the room also has low ceilings, at about 8.5 feet which helps prevent echo and delivered a crisp, quality recording. When I started to interview him, his eyes got so big and he had a smile on his face, he was excited to share his knowledge with me.

The focus of our interview was based on the advancement of communication technology in both, the military and civilian life. Some themes I noticed within our topic were spy technology, space communications, phones, and radios (military and civilian).

My grandpa talked about his experience with communication and how he used to use it. Each step forward in technological advancement kept him on his toes and learning. He eventually started teaching about the communication technology to the military after he had retired from the U.S. Army. We spoke about the boundless potential of technology and that it can go as far as what the human can take it to, there are no limits!

We had a fun interview, although there were some distractions that kept us from getting too deep into the topic; we were interviewing on Thanksgiving Day, in which my grandpa cooks all the food for our family of 8. We kept conversation flowing, but I was mostly focusing on asking questions because I didn’t understand what he was saying enough, so I would just comment on how fascinating it is, how knowledgeable he is, and those sort of comments. I was surprised by the lack of knowledge I have in technology after listening to him go on about it. I sure learned a lot, like that we got spy satellites out there, and that communications can go any distance without any obstructions between each line.

I decided to edit the interview to be organized by starting in my grandpa’s younger years, then continue to talk about the evolution of technology as he aged. I started with his knowledge on communication technology, the limits, how communication technology got to the point it’s at today, and what we should expect in the future from communication technology, and technology as a whole. It seemed to flow the best and the topics transitioned to the next one fairly naturally, more than some of the other audio I had. I also cut out all the extended silences, pauses, and hesitations.






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