United States Navy
Even after adjusting to living in another culture, Kyle Schenk still can’t get used to sleeping in.
Schenk is a first year Central Oregon Community College student who served in the United States Navy for the last five years.
After completing his enlistment, he drove across the country to Bend, Oregon to start classes in fall 2012.
Schenk was stationed in Great Lakes, Illinois, Okinawa Japan, and Cherry Point, North Carolina.
“I was deployed out of North Carolina to Afghanistan,” Schenk said.
Schenk was in Afghanistan from Aug. 2011 to March 2012.
“I was a Hospital Corpsman,” Schenk said. “Our job is pretty much to be an [Emergency Medical Technician.]”
“It’s definitely taught me how to be more persistent on getting my work done and I have better discipline on doing my homework than I had in high school,” Schenk said. Schenk said he’s still going through the transitional period.“It’s just weird being able to sleep in, doing pretty much whatever I want, whenever I want,” said Schenk. “You feel like you’re doing something wrong.”Since Schenk is accustomed to having a set routine, attending classes at COCC has been helpful, because having a set schedule “makes things a lot easier.”
Schenk is currently working on his Associate of Arts Oregon Transfer degree and plans to go on to obtain a degree in natural resources with a minor in tourism and outdoor leadership.
“Outdoor living skills,” Schenk said, “I love that class.”
Schenk spends his downtime in the Veteran Center, located in the top floor of the Campus Center.
“I always like talking to other veterans and finding out about their experience.”
Schenk advises other veterans to explore their educational options available through the GI Bill.
“It’s stupid not to go to school with how good the GI Bill is,” Schenk said. “Take advantage of what you earned.”
United States Coast Guard
When the weather changes, Michael Callahan begins calculating what it’d be like to launch a search and rescue mission.
“It’s become a part of me,” Callahan said. “I’m always focused on what the weather is doing and what it’s about to do.”
One of the biggest things Callahan has taken from the five years served in the Coast Guard is a passion for weather.
Callahan is a first year student attending both Central Oregon Community College and Oregon State University-Cascades. He is a social science major with plans to go on to the postgraduate teaching program.
Callahan’s primary role in the Coast Guard was search and rescue.“We did a lot of heavy weather related search and rescue and law enforcement,” Callahan said.
Callahan entered in the Coast Guard on Sept. 11, 2007.
“Strangely it was just like any other day,” Callahan said. “The only reason I chose that day is because I knew it’d be easy to remember.”
He completed his initial training in New Jersey and was then stationed on the Oregon Coast.
During his downtime, he and his wife would take “short vacations to Bend, to get away from the rain,” Callahan said. “and to enjoy a different setting for a while.”
In June of 2012 Callahan began his transition out of the military. Three months later he started his first term in college.
“It was all part of the plan,” Callahan said. “Plus the new military GI benefits are so advantageous that you’d be kind of foolish not to.”
Going from the military into the college setting has been a smooth transition for Callahan.
“It was pretty easy,” Callahan said. “It was daunting the weeks leading up to leaving the military. It’s a lot to think about, especially when it’s all you’ve known for so long.”
Army National Guard
This Army National Guard soldier leaves school and goes to Prineville to blow things up.
Marcus Glassow has been in the Army National Guard since 2001 as a Combat Engineer.
“We do a lot of urban breaching and demolition work with explosives,” Glassow said.
Upon returning from deployment, Glassow discovered the company he worked for, making custom cabinets, was no longer in business.
“I didn’t like working dead-end jobs,” Glassow said.
So he returned to school at Central Oregon Community College to pursue a degree in eco adventure tourism.
“It’s a blast,” Glassow said in regards to the program.
Glassow’s study habits have improved because his military training has taught the importance of focus.
“[The military] kind of straightened me out,” Glassow said.
Glassow’s transition from the military into the college setting has been “a lot easier” than he had expected. He attributes this to improved study habits and “being a little bit more mature.”
Glassow enjoys spending time in COCC’s Veteran Center on campus.
“It’s nice. Most of the time it’s quiet,” Glassow said. “I can drink coffee and watch TV or do my homework.”
Glassow encourages all veterans to further their education.
He also encourages veterans having a difficult time transitioning out of the military to go to the Central Oregon Veteran’s Center, located on the east side of Bend next to Lava Lanes. The Vet Center offers basic reintegration counseling, according to Glassow.
“They are great people over there,” Glassow said.
On Veteran’s Day Glassow encourages others to think about the sacrifices made by veterans who did not come home and sacrifices made by previous generations of veterans.
United States Marine Corps
Jeff Zaccaro has lived in Japan, Korea and Australia, all because he got bad grades in high school.
In high school he “didn’t get the best grades,” Zaccaro said. After graduating, he didn’t feel “ready” for college, so instead he joined the United States Marine Corps. Zaccaro is now in his second year at Central Oregon Community College, studying computer information systems and boasts a 3.92 grade point average. “I definitely feel like [the military] gave me a much stronger work ethic and much greater personal responsibility,” Zaccaro said. “If I went to college directly out of high school, there was no way I would have had that discipline and personal accountability.”
Marines are trained to accomplish a mission above all, according to Zaccaro. “If you’re told to do something, you do it,” Zaccaro said. “Pretty much the minute you step off the bus, you know what your role is. You’re learning very quickly that you’re not in mommy and daddy’s house anymore.”
Zaccaro was stationed in Iwakuni, Japan and San Diego, California. “[Japan] was great. It was totally different than America, a much different culture,” Zaccaro said. “Growing up here in Oregon, that’s all I ever knew. So just getting out there, seeing how big the world is and the different types of people… was an amazing experience.” In the Marines, Zaccaro worked as a journalist.
“It was the coolest job because… you kind of get to go everywhere, see everything and do everything.” Zaccaro recalls covering a training exercise involving airplane squadrons getting deployed to Australia.
“They needed a journalist, so I went and hung out in Australia for a month and a half,” Zaccaro said. “I was in Korea twice. It was really cool.” Zaccaro experienced an easy transition out of the military, which he believes is partly due to the fact that he did not deploy to a combat zone.
“For some of the guys that did go to the war, it has been more difficult,” Zaccaro said. “I was fortunate enough to be in San Diego when I got out, which is a huge military community.”
Zaccaro finds Bend to be much different than San Diego post-deployment. “You don’t really see military people unless you run into them in the Vet Center,” Zaccaro said. Zaccaro encourages others to support veterans this Veterans Day. “Some people are against the war for whatever personal beliefs they have,” Zaccaro said, “but they should never hold the personal soldier, sailor or marine accountable for the decisions of the government.”
Anna Quesenberry | TheBroadside (Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org)