A Day To Say “Thank You”
Colleagues who served in the armed forces remind us of the sacrifice
This week, as we observe Veterans Day, there are a number of campus events dedicated to the men and women who have served our country in uniform. (Visit Veterans Week for a full schedule.) We also get two days off, rather than the customary one, which provides even more time to reflect on the sacrifices made by women and men of the armed forces.
“Veterans Day is special to me, because it is a day we celebrate and honor all of those who served,” says Lieutenant Colonel Eric Farquharson, chair of the Department of Military Science. “Memorial Day is significant, because it is the day we honor those you paid the ultimate price for our freedom, and we spend that day attending ceremonies at cemeteries or listening honor rolls being called for those who gave their life serving their country during a time of war. However, Veterans Day is a celebration of service that honors all who gave time out of their lives to serve a country during war and peace. During Veterans Day you can shake the hand of a vet male or female, young or old, and tell them you appreciate their service. It is a day to say ‘Thank You.’”
Here at SU, we need not look far for veterans to thank. Many of our students are veterans. (RELATED COVERAGE: Learn more about the university's effort to better serve student veterans by visiting Veterans Working Group Q&A.) Other veterans work right here alongside us. At the invitation of The Commons, some of our colleagues graciously reflected on their days in the service and what they have taken away from the experience. Here’s what they shared.
Denis Puls, facilities manager, Facilities:
“I served in the U.S. Army from 1969 until 1993 (Vietnam, “Cold War” and Desert Storm veteran). I spent the majority of career in Europe (Germany) in Air Defense Artillery maintaining Nike and Chaparral missile systems. My biggest take-away was the opportunity to teach those that followed me to continue the mission.”
Dan Doyle, assistant professor, Matteo Ricci College:
“I am a Vietnam Veteran. I served on active duty from January 1966 to October 1969. I joined the Navy as a hospital corpsman in January of 1969, and after Hospital Corps School and a brief time at Newport Naval Hospital in Newport, RI, I was transferred to the United States Marine Corps where I served the rest of my time. In 1968 I served with Bravo Co. 3rd Recon Bn, 3rd Marine Division in Vietnam.
Service to Country
Following is a still-evolving list of faculty and staff who served or are serving in the armed forces. If you served and would like to be included on the list, please send your information to The Commons at firstname.lastname@example.org.
John Bean, English, Army
Michael Beatty, Military Science, Army
Rob Bourke, Albers, Navy
Ronilo Credito, Military Science, Army
Robert Deltete, Philosophy, Navy
Dan Doyle, Matteo Ricci, Navy/Marines
John Eshelman, Albers, Army
Eric Farquharson, Military Science, Army
John Foster, S.J., Matteo Ricci, Army
Mitchell Hanson, Military Science, Army
Bob Harmon, History, Army
Jay Heitman, Facilities, Army
Matt Herring, Facilities, Marines
Audrey Hudgins, Arts and Sciences, Army
Timothy Lowenberg, Law, Army
David Madsen, History, Army
Dan Matlock, Biology, Army
Eutemio Ohno, Military Science, Army
Norman Printer, Law, Air Force
Denis Puls, Facilities, Army
John Schrader, Facilities, Air Force
Al Sims, Facilities, Navy
Skee Vigness-Evjen, Facilities, Marines
I arrived in Vietnam just in time for the Tet Offensive and was among those Marines who were surrounded at Khe Sanh for 77 days during that time. After being liberated from that siege I served the rest of my tour in the country as a recon medic going out on patrols with 5-7 Marines. I spent 13 months in Vietnam with the Marines.
Though I joined the Navy, I have always identified more with the Marines and am proud of my association with them. The young Marines I served with were good people who served with honor and dignity in the face of the political tenor of the times. We were never welcomed home, and I believe the nation has never really come to a resolution or closure about that war. We are a generation of veterans unlike any who went to war before us, or who have come home after us. We have suffered much over the years, but we knew that sacrifice came with the territory. Though none of us would argue for war, we were proud to serve the nation.”
John Foster, S.J., executive assistant to the dean, Matteo Ricci College:
“Served in the U.S. Army Signal Corps, Alaska Communications System, 1953-1956 (Korean War truce June 1953); Basic and Tech training in Camp San Luis Obispo, Calif.; stationed on Adak in the Aleutian Islands 1954-1955 and the (old) Federal Office Building (headquarters).
I had never known anyone to shout obscenities at me before, as did the Army drill sergeants, and it scared the (timidity) out of me and turned me from an absolute introvert to a mild extrovert.
As for Adak, we were told there were girls behind every tree and got there to find there were no trees on the island, just barren tundra grass, except when the most beautiful miniscule orchid-like flowers bloomed during the summer—both weeks! You get the idea...
Lots of friends, however, including one who came up to SU from San Francisco two years ago for my 50th jubilee as a Jesuit.”
Rob Deltete, professor philosophy:
"I served in the US Navy from 1970 to 1973, which included a tour in Vietnam (1971-1973). I was the Combat Information Center (CIC) officer on a destroyer for 22 months, and then operations officer when we returned to port to prepare the ship for de-commissioning and transfer it to the South Korean navy in 1973. I was discharged at rank of lieutenant.
I didn't know what I was getting into when I was forced to into military service by a low lottery number in 1969. That was not what I wanted to do. I wanted to go to graduate school, and the ’69 lottery derailed all that. Military service changed me. In retrospect, I think, for the better.”
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