A&E

More stories from Columbia's military veterans

In The Eye’s lead story this week, Stephen Snowder examines the lives of military veterans at Columbia. In compiling his story, Snowder spoke to more than a dozen veterans who shared their stories with us.

Unfortunately, due to space constraints, some of their accounts had to be excised from the final print version. While the experiences of Justin Neal (GS ’13) and John Schiffer (GS ’15) did not make it to print, they are nonetheless powerful narratives that further illustrate the harsh reality of war, with all its tension, turmoil, and triumph. Read on for their stories, and don’t forget to read the full article.

Justin Neal, from Tennessee, is a senior in the School of General Studies. He enlisted in the Army as an infantryman and went to basic training in February of 2003.

He was stationed in Alaska after basic training, but less than two months after arriving at his permanent duty station, he deployed to Afghanistan.

Neal’s job consisted of conducting foot patrols. He also conducted village assessments: “We would go in there and ask the village elders if they knew of any hostiles, or if they had any weapons,” he explained. “They pretty much always said no.” The real job, though, “was pretty much just trying to draw fire. We were just walking around, like ‘OK, well if we get shot at then we know there’s bad guys in the area.’”

Early one afternoon, Neal was travelling as part of a convoy. Suddenly, he heard gunshots. With his fellow soldiers, he dismounted from his vehicle and started shooting back. The firefight lasted about five minutes, by Neal’s estimate.

Some of their soldiers were wounded, but no one in Neal’s unit was killed. He returned to Alaska in August of 2004. “That was the most emotional thing for me, because when we got back, everyone was greeted by their friends or family. And I didn’t have anyone there... but it really sunk in, like, you’re back.”

Psychological counseling was offered to the soldiers who returned, “but nobody takes it,” Neal told me. “These are wild guys, warriors. No one gives a shit about what just happened in terms of how it’s going to affect you.”

Neal’s immediate desire upon returning from Afghanistan was to go out and get drunk. This has been such a common response to returning that many units now impose a mandatory lockdown for soldiers returning from deployment, requiring them to remain on the base.

One night, while out drinking, Neal got into a fight. “I think I probably had a lot of aggression when I came home,” he told me. His response (again, typical among the veterans I talked to) was to deal with the problem himself---he quit drinking for good, and he hasn’t had an alcoholic beverage since that night.

After Neal left the service, he began attending college in California. His high grades earned him a letter of interest from Columbia’s School of General Studies. “I would not be at Columbia if it wasn’t for the Army,” Neal told me. “I just wouldn’t. And it’s not because of the thing that I did in the Army, or anything inherent about the Army... but what it did for me, in terms of turning me around---I’m a product of the Army.”

 

John Schiffer, a member of the School of General Studies' class of 2015, served in the Marine Corps from 2007 to 2012. After graduating boot camp, he was stationed in Hawaii. In October of 2009, he was deployed to western Afghanistan.

As a signals intelligence specialist, Schiffer went out with patrols to collect intelligence and provide real-time updates to the units he was with. No one in Schiffer’s unit was killed, although some Marines were injured.

There was a Marine in another unit on the small base, however, who died after being shot on a mission. “One that comes to mind is this guy named Birchfield, and I can remember that he was missing a front tooth. It’s odd that that is, like, my most significant memory about him now. I can remember him laughing, missing his front tooth,” Schiffer recalled. “I was thinking he looked stupid, which I almost feel guilty for now.” The Marine was 24-year-old Lance Corporal Joshua Birchfield. He was killed by small-arms fire on Feb. 19, 2010.

With the death of Birchfield and others on the base, Schiffer recalls that he came to the realization that “that line between being alive and being dead is very, very thin.”

Schiffer came back from Afghanistan in March of 2010. Part of the reintegration checklist that every Marine had to complete upon returning to Hawaii was a visit to the chaplain. Like everyone else I spoke to, however, Schiffer turned down further opportunities to be screened or treated for PTSD. “I think, that close to the experience, I wasn’t really ready to think about it.”

Instead, Schiffer focused his attention on seemingly small details of everyday life---his barracks room, for instance. He remembered thinking, “There’d better be hot water,” and “there’d better be air conditioning. I’d better not get a roommate I hate.” He dealt with nightmares for a few months, but says they began to go away as he buried himself in the work of his newly-assigned role in Hawaii.

Schiffer did a few more years in the Marines, and then left at the end of his contract to matriculate at Columbia.

I asked him whether he still has nightmares. His response: “Not ever as frequently. I think part of the reason for that is, I just keep myself so busy, it’s like, ‘Do I really have time for this?’”

Comments

Plain text

  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
Jake posted on

Go stephen! Amazing article.

+1
0
-1
Rob '13 posted on

Don't know why it took me so long to read/find this article. Justin is a great human being, and I'm going to miss running into him around around the city (re: Starbucks) and talking with him about everything from Darwin's theory of evolution and how it, throughout much of the late 19th-to early 20th centuries, precipitated changes in spheres outside of the sciences, namely socio-economic, to debating which member of Wu Tang Clan had the best solo album (the correct answer to latter is, rather obviously, GZA's Liquid Swords).

+1
0
-1
ElbertGafe posted on

acheter cialis
generico cialis
cialis precio
http://achetercialisgeneriqueenlignefrance.com/ prix cialis
http://acquistarepillolecialisgenericoitalia.com/ cialis
http://comprarcialiscomprimidogenericoespana.com/ venta cialis

+1
0
-1
rtbdxnrky posted on

锘縄 can't stress Christian Louboutin Outlet enough how terrible it is. I thought so too. The Christian Louboutin Red Bottom Peep-toes Cheap Sale Patent High Heel actual cleanse, however, is more underwhelming in practice; it involves swishing vegetable oil around in your mouth for Christian Louboutin Outlet twenty minutes every morning. Every all 1960s team seems to have Russell and Wilt together with one or the other at a power forward spot. Russell was 6 foot 8, 210 pounds and in a hypothetical tournament against the other all decade teams, he defend power forwards like Tim Duncan and Elvin Hayes. Still, where Russell would position himself on offense with his limited shooting range and the need to leave Wilt room to maneuver around the hoop? If I was coaching this bunch, the idea of having an assistant tell Russell or Wilt that Jerry Lucas (a 6 foot 8 forward who also played some center in where to get cheap oakleys his All Star career) would be starting and that one of the two greatest centers in NBA history would be coming off the bench..

These differences may color their experiences in the world. Furthermore, through self isolation, limited numbers of relationships or peer rejection, the opportunity for social emotional learning may be less than for typical children. These difficulties play out in school as immature social regulation, inability to modulate response to disappointment or frustration, or anger in response to any deviation from expectancy.

Nerds suddenly felt like the entire world had turned upside down; it was like entering Jaynestown (that's 14 Nerd Points! We're going to level up into Geeks any minute now). Bespectacled women in brown trench coats sobbed hysterically in the corners of darkened rooms, listening to "You Can't Take the Sky From Me" on endless repeat. And really, nobody else cared.

Are those two out of nine suppose to be read separate and apart from the other seven, or all they all read together? I would think the later. My reasoning being, none of the other seven reflect a criteria like continued Internet gaming despite knowledge of negative psychological program OR withdrawal symptoms when Internet gaming is taken away. Normally DSM criteria are read together and a diagnosis is not given unless a particular minimum number of criteria are met.

This product is indicated in women trying to conceive if there is proven, documented deficiency of the progesterone hormone (during luteal phase). Once conception has taken place, progesterone hormone is indicated only in pregnanices due to assisted reproductive techniques such as IVF etc. Or in cases of habitual abortion (repeated miscarriages)..

+1
0
-1
nhotaaudz posted on

锘?nd, the video shows a Pepsi can in a cup holder above the radio. There is no such cupholder on this car it has been modified. The stunt driving was done at Christian Louboutin Red Bottom Daffodil Sale Discount Suede Blue an old Phillip Morris plant.. A native of Detroit, Wilson joined the Pistons in 1978 and was promoted to Chief Executive Christian Louboutin Shoes Officer the following year. In 1993, Wilson was named President and CEO of the Pistons. During his tenure, the Pistons were recognized as one of the best marketed and most highly valued teams in the NBA..

"I'm not positive (what happened). I think he (the official, who walked over to the Prep bench after the call to try to explain) said Ben might have grazed him when he went by him. It was nothing he said. Each city has reasons to Christian Louboutin Red Bottom Daffodil High Heels Cover Shinning Fish Pattern think it has a good chance to win the bid.Minneapolis is building a new stadium in downtown, due for completion in 2016 and the NFL has rewarded owners with new venues in the past with Super Bowls, including the most recently completed game at MetLife Stadium.Indianapolis, meanwhile, hosted a largely successful game in 2012, one in which those who attended raved about the proximity of venues in the downtown area.The Crescent City, meanwhile, has hosted 10 prior games and the 2013 edition was hailed by many who attended as the template for how Super Bowls should function. 2018 also is the city 300th anniversary, adding even more pomp and circumstance to an already huge event.Cicero, though, understands how difficult it is for the city to obtain events now. It not like it used to be; the city can just trot out its great location and all facilities being in close proximity for fans and workers.other cities have definitely learned that the business of sports is something that they very interested in, Cicero said.

Despu amigos y familiares adoptaron el h de llamarlos con dichos sobrenombres. Naru es una pronunciaci fuertemente acentuada para Nell en japon por eso que Naru se inquieta cuando Mai lo llama de ese modo, por que cree que lo esta llamando Nell anime evito todas las referencias directas sobre Eugene. Sin embargo Bou san y John discutieron acerca de sus habilidades ps en el Manga, al igual que discutieron acerca de las habilidades de Oliver Davis, todo lo que Bou san y John dijeron acerca de las habilidades de de Oliver y Eugene es verdad.

In testing the One, Christian Louboutin Outlet I actually had my PS4 plugged in to the HDMI input and could quickly switch between consoles simply by saying Watch TV The HDMI input properly (read: legally) handles HDCP content, so by default you can use it to circumvent the HDCP protection that enabled on the PS4 at launch unfortunately. The One HDMI output only applies HDCP to content that needs it. The dashboard, most apps and games stream through unencrypted.

+1
0
-1