Thursday, July 26, 2012

Behind Closed Doors: Graphic Novels and the US Navy

The USS George Washington (CVN-73) graphic novel, made by the US Navy to ease tensions about having a nuclear aircraft carrier in Japan.
In recent years, the U.S. Navy has used graphic novels as a tool to teach and communicate. One such example reassured Japanese citizens regarding the stationing of the nuclear aircraft carrier USS George Washington (CVN-73) in the port city of Yokosuka. Graphic novels have recently surged in readership, largely due to their popularity among relatively younger audiences. Unlike many comic books, graphic novels tell fully developed stories. The Navy saw an opportunity to use graphic novels as an age-appropriate way to simultaneously entertain and educate Sailors. One result was “The Docs,” a graphic novel that is both an interesting narrative with fictional characters, and a “voice of experience” testimonial based on actual situations encountered in Iraq at the height of the war and actual demands on Corpsmen under hostile fire.

"The Docs," a graphic novel created to train Navy Corpsmen about combat stress.
On Thursday evening, September 20, at 6pm, the Hampton Roads Naval Museum will host a FREE program about the Navy’s use of graphic novels. Visitors will learn about how training in the Navy has changed throughout the years. This program features Dr. Heidi Kraft, co-author of “The Docs.” Dr. Kraft received her Ph.D. in clinical psychology from the UC San Diego/SDSU Joint Doctoral Program in Clinical Psychology in 1996. Her active-duty assignments included the Naval Safety Center, the Naval Health Research Center, and Naval Hospital Jacksonville, FL. In February 2004, she deployed to western Iraq for seven months with a Marine Corps surgical company.  She left active duty in 2005 after nine years in the Navy, and now serves as a consultant for the US Navy and Marine Corps’ Combat Stress Control programs. 

The September 20th program is free of charge. Complimentary food and drinks will also be provided. Dr. Kraft will be available for a book-signing after the program ends. All attendees will receive a free copy of “The Docs” (one per family, please). Reservations are required. Please call 757-322-3108 to reserve your seat today.

For all public questions and inquiries, please contact Laura Orr at or 757-322-3108, or visit HRNM’s Facebook page at The event is co-sponsored by the Hampton Roads Council of the Navy League.

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