NSU Veterans and Service Members

NSU Salutes Our Veterans and Service Members!
Hear How Some Of Our Current NSU Students and Faculty and Staff Members Have Served Our Country

Veterans Day 2012 - Welcome Home: We asked our service members to write about their own experiences of returning home from service, their experiences of welcoming home others, or their thoughts on our obligations toward returning service members. Here are their stories:

Name: Thaddaeus Cox
NSU Program: Law
Military Branch: Army
Term: 2004-2012
Rank: Staff Sergeant

I enlisted as an Airborne Infantryman and served in the 82d Airborne Division and the U.S. Army School of Infantry. While with the 82d Airborne Division I deployed to Afghanistan during the country's first ever national elections. During the latter part of my career I served as a Recruiter and was able to work with local civilian agencies in sending care packages and letters to deployed troops. My entire time in the Army I was greeted with respect and admiration and now I am glad to thank everyone who has ever served and those that continue to serve today.

Name: Michael Cubbage
NSU Program: Law
Military Branch: Army
Term: 2003-2011
Rank: First Lieutenant

1LT Mike Cubbage is a Philadelphia native who comes from a long line of military service with a member of his family serving in every war this nation has been involved in including The French and Indian War and the American Revolution. Mike is a graduate of Temple University with a degree in International Relations, Foreign Policy, and Military Science. His graduate work in International Relations/Conflict resolution and International/Transnational Security Issues is with The American Military University and he is currently a second year law student at The Shepard Broad Law Center. Mike enlisted in the United States Army in 2003 during the Invasion of Iraq under the Special Forces Street Recruit (18X) Program. . In late 2004 he was reassigned to the Famous “Easy Company” 2-506 Infantry “Currahee,” the unit depicted in the HBO series “Band of Brothers. The following year, Mike deployed with “Easy Company” to Baghdad, Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom as a Squad Designated Marksman and Infantry Team Leader. Upon return to Ft Campbell, KY, Mike attended Air Assault school where he was appointed as Platoon Sergeant and graduated third in his class. After being notified early in 2011 of the possibility that he may be separated from service due to injuries sustained in combat and garrison, Mike decided to attend law school at NSU and began his first year while still on active duty using vacation leave that he had saved. 1LT Mike Cubbage retired from the United States Army on October 7th 2011 after over 8 years of service in the United States Active Duty Army Infantry.

Name: Marissa Decker
NSU Program: BSN
Military Branch: Air Force
Term: Jul 11, 2006 - Jan 11, 2011
Rank: E4 - Senior Airman

I was stationed in Balad, Iraq for 9 months and it was the best time of my entire service. Emotions were very high coming home. I was so sad to leave the best people I have ever met. They are still my best friends and we still visit each other as often as we can. I knew I didn't want to go back to my home base without them. I also didn't deploy with anyone from my squadron or with a "team or group" of people, it was only me so I came and went with complete strangers whom I made friends with on the plane. When I came home my best friend from my base was there waiting for me at the airport with her daughter. She took me home and soon after being alone in my quiet house I went back to her house because I hadn't been alone in 9 months. The peacefulness was nice, but almost made me uneasy. Later that night all my friends got together and we had a welcome home party. My “Welcome Home” party wasn't what it was hyped up to be, my experience of being deployed was the best thing that's ever happened to me.

Name: Kelsey DeSantis
NSU Program: Business
Military Branch: Marines
Term: Jan 2007 - Jan 2012
Rank: E-5

My name is Kelsey DeSantis and I am a United States Marine Corps Veteran. I joined the Marines at 18, and spent the last 5 years on active duty. My primary job was a military police K-9 officer, later I was transferred to be an instructor of one of the most challenging courses the Marine Corps offers, the U.S.M.C. Martial Arts Instructor Trainer Course. I am eternally grateful for the experience, opportunity, and pleasure of serving with the countless heroic service men and women that this country has to offer. NSU is a great school, however a Veterans Resource Center would be a tremendous value, just ask Pasadena City College in California. At least one full time Veterans Counselor with qualifications and an understanding of PTSD, MST, and other resources for the challenges returning veterans are facing, this is how NSU could give back.

Name: Brian Dever
NSU Program: Biology
Military Branch: Navy
Term: 12/2000 - 02/2006
Rank: E-5

The greatest feeling I’ve had, was when I returned from deployment. The military chartered a Boeing 777 and filled it with just Navy and Marine Corps warriors. Upon landing, the aircraft captain came on to tell us about the fire truck outside the aircraft. "It’s nothing to be alarmed about, the aircraft is fine. They’re just saluting your return." When we disembarked from the Boeing 777, we were greeted by the Air Force band and a line of politicians and officers. Most of us were still in our stinky sweaty dingy cammies, but were willing to shake as many hands as we could. What a welcome home!

Name: Marcos Ferro
NSU Program: Computer Science
Military Branch: Marines
Term: 2003-2007
Rank: Sergeant

I joined the Marines in 2003 and was stationed in Okinawa, Japan for 1 year. After leaving Okinawa I was stationed in Cherry Point, NC. I deployed with VMU-2 to Iraq in 2006 as Data Communications. There I received the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal for Mission Accomplishment. This was an Unmanned Arial Vehicle Squadron. I got back to the states that same year and 9 months later I got out in June of 2007. After getting out it was a hard transition. The VA hospital has been very helpful in helping with PTSD and providing me with help needed. I would like to also thank all military brothers/sisters who have served and are still serving. I have met young veterans who were homeless and also dealing with PTSD. Also, I thank the Vietnam and Korean War veterans for their service. I love all my veterans.

Name: Andrew Feth
NSU Program: Computer Science
Military Branch: Air Force
Term: 1998 - Present
Rank: Major

Service before self is one of the US Air Force’s core values and is at the heart of how an airman approaches extended deployments. For me, this was no different when I left my wife behind in early January 2003 for Burgas, Bulgaria to stand-up communications for an aerial refueling forward operating base. Massive preparation efforts were underway to support the coming “shock and awe” against Iraq only a few weeks away. Our site was small and definitely not as glamorous as the sites that were much closer to the anticipated action. Resources and battle tested personnel were in short supply. Consequently, we did not get the best equipment nor did we get first pick at the personnel to comprise our team. But once they came together, I was astonished with the speed, commitment, and talent this team brought to bear. Our communications were up in record time and the services we provided were second to none. I was never so proud of a team of individuals and their hard work and dedication is a testament to their professionalism. Upon our return home we knew were tested in the most difficult circumstances and we succeed to the highest standards. We were glad to be home but we all were also honored to serve.

Name: JoAnn Fisher
NSU Program: EdD
Military Branch: Navy Reserves
Term: 01/1976 - 05/1991
Rank: E-6

As the Chair of the Disabled American Veterans (DAV) Women Veterans Committee for the State of Maryland, I would like to personally welcome our women veterans home! Welcome Home! As the Chair, I am committed to working with our women veterans to improve their quality of life through educational opportunities; health complaints which include musculoskeletal disorders, digestive complaints, plastic surgery for shrapnel scars, prosthetic to replace missing limbs, counseling to address nightmares in which comrades die and bombs blast reverberate; domestic violence; military sexual trauma (MST); military mothers and children; traditional views of women; and other concerns as well as contraception, abortion, women connecting with each other, work/balance, childcare, feminine care, services, and personal appearance, parenting and skills, personal finances, and setting up a business. The DAV cares! We are here to help you with filing claims for benefits! Changes must be made for more women to hold quality positions in veteran service organizations. We are here for you! Women are now 16% - 19% of the military and must be reached. I salute my mother for standing with me.

Name: James Gordon
NSU Program: MBA - Management
Military Branch: Marines
Term: 06/2003 - Present
Rank: Captain

"All gave some, some gave all...Freedom is not free." Thank you to all of those who have served, as well as those that are close friends and family to those who served. Sacrifice is made by all. Thank you for your sacrifice and service. I’m very pleased to see what many in the country, businesses, communities, the VA and multiple other organizations who’ve make it their mission to help veterans, service members and their families. Whether it is medical care via the VA, transition assistance, job training, educational benefits (GI Bill®). As a veteran myself I have been very grateful and pleased. I personally was very fortunate. After serving two tours as a Tank (Armor) Officer in Iraq (2005-2007) to be transferred to S. Florida (my home, where I grew up) where I was serving in support of US Embassies in the Western Hemisphere and was able to enroll into NSU's MBA program during nights and weekends. I have now started my own business and am currently completing my last class. Thank you!

Name: Ronald Green
NSU Program: My wife is in the International Dental Graduate Program
Military Branch: Army
Term: Jul 1982 - Jan 2010
Rank: Chief Warrant Officer 4

When I was getting ready to deploy, my wife (Claudia Green an NSU International Dental Graduate Program student) could see change in me. Excitement you might say because I’ll do what I’ve trained for everyday. My wife would go through a change, but her change would be of sadness. Knowing she would now take care of our daughter and run the household by herself. Once there, I would focus on the mission and each day find time to call home to hear my wife’s and daughter’s voices on the other end. That would make each day special, being so far away and yet seem so close. The day that I would return would be filled with excitement, this time because I would get to hold my wife and daughter again. It is truly a great feeling to be with them once more. I would just look at them as if it were the first time I had seen them. After a deployment, you have a higher appreciation for things. Every day I look around and think what a great country this is. God bless America!

Name: Tom Griffin
NSU Program: Business
Military Branch: Army
Term: 1970 - 1972
Rank: E4

I had an opportunity to see my own son come home after his deployment. I am so proud of our country now on recognition of troops. Welcome home - you made us proud!

Name: Master Sergeant Larry D. Heskett
NSU Program: AA Program-Tampa SEC
Military Branch: Marines
Term: 1992 - present
Rank: Master Sargeant

This is my son, Master Sergeant Larry D. Heskett, of the United States Marine Corps. I am so honored to be his mom. When war developed in Iraq, he was deployed twice. In January of 2012 he was deployed once again, but this time to Afghanistan where he is now. In June, he was given his long awaited promotion to Master Sergeant. Words cannot describe how very proud I am of my son. Unless you are or have been a soldier in the military, it is difficult to understand what these men and women actually go through and do for us to keep us safe. THEY are not safe and there’s nothing we can do for them, except pray and support their efforts. We pray that they will be safe and not come to any harm. We support them as they do their job for us, regardless of how we feel about our presence in the Middle East. Veteran’s Day is a day to pay our respect to all those in the military, however, every day should be Veteran’s Day. Semper Fi, son!

Name: Peter Keller
NSU Program: Dental
Military Branch: Navy/Marines
Term: 1967-1969
Rank: Lieutenant

I enlisted in the U.S. Navy when I entered dental school. Everyone was being drafted at that time. Aside from wanting to control my draft status and do all of my four year reserve time while at dental school, I thought I would look great in the blue uniform. Everyone said that having duty at a Naval Hospital for two years would be soft and easy. However, when I went on active duty, I was assigned to a special Marine Division that was always on 24 hour alert. I worked on patients daily in an outpost 5 miles from the hospital. I always wore combat boots and green fatigues. The first day I knew that something was different was when I was informed that tomorrow my unit was going on a five mile hike with full pack. For the two years, we did a lot of Marine training. Once I reported to my unit, I never wore that nice blue uniform again.

Name: James Kononoff
NSU Program: National Security Affairs
Military Branch: Army, Infantry
Term: Jun 1980 - Sep 1994
Rank: Captain/03

I was a so called "Cold Warrior." I ran around the woods of Washington State and Germany training to fight WWIII and the Soviet Union. No live ammo and very little physical danger, but there is always some. We had small brushes with terrorism in those days, mostly when overseas. There wasn’t anything that approached the act of 9/11 or its post event traumas. We old cold warriors would like to tell the young sheepdogs of today how very PROUD we are of THEM and the job they're doing. Our era of service passed with no serious shots being fired in anger by the principals. The new sheepdogs answered the call to arms without hesitation (as they should -- as we did) and it's been blood and destruction ever since. Thank you for your service, your sacrifices have not been in vain. Godspeed, ladies and gentlemen.

Name: Jake Milkovich
NSU Program: Criminal Justice
Military Branch: Marine Corps
Term: Jul 2007 - Jul 2012
Rank: E-5/Sargeant

I started attending Nova Southeastern University this past August after being honorably discharged from the Marine Corps. I served five years active duty as an Infantry Rifleman. I served three years at Camp David as part of the security company for President Obama. I then received orders to report to Twentynine palms, California where I checked into 3rd Battalion Fourth Marines. I deployed to Helmand Province, Afghanistan as a Infantry Squad Leader. Coming home was an amazing feeling, but very different. I wasn’t being shot at and I didn’t have to fear IED's. NSU has helped me transition, because I am around students my age. I feel NSU should implement a Veterans Organization, that would allow Veterans to interact with each other. It would give returning Veterans a place to go, just to be around others who share the same thought process, and experiences. Even a counselor to deal just with Veterans, helping to answer any questions we may have.

Name: Frank Orlando
NSU Program: Law/Staff
Military Branch: Army
Term: 10/1953 - 7/1955
Rank: E-3

My service was many years ago--as a draftee-while attending University of Florida. I lost my student deferment due to my non performance as to academics and was about to flunk out of college! Without a doubt, my service in the Army is the most singular event that resulted in my returning to U.F., graduating and later going on to Law School--becoming a Circuit Judge and the last 20 years here at Nova Southeastern University’s Law Center. I went into the Army as a potential "loser" grew into a man with a future. My service was in the Medical Corps and 16 months of duty at Tripler Army Hospital, Honolulu, Hawaii. Proud to be a Veteran of the US Army!

Name: Jose Orochena
NSU Program: Law School
Military Branch: Army
Term: 2001-2009
Rank: E-4 Specialist

My Experience: My 3000-mile long return home from Iraq would never have been so sweet had my departure not been as equally bitter.

In 2008, I had been on what’s called the Individual Ready Reserve (IRR) list and for the most part out of the Army. When described to me by my recruiter he said that the only way to be put back into active duty from the IRR list, was if World War III broke out. Well, on my last year of inactive duty, I was reactivated with only three weeks notice. I was told to report to Fort Benning, GA on August 30, 2008; my second daughter was born just two weeks before I reported. Bitter. Despite the short notice (three weeks) and my wife having to care for two children by herself, my wife and I never questioned the orders, because we knew that we owed a duty to our country.

My orders originally were for Afghanistan, but they were changed in the last minute to Iraq. New weapon systems, new uniforms, being 5 years older made for an interesting adjustment period, but you just have to soldier on.

My wife would constantly send me pictures of the kids and never told me of her difficulties at home, despite my constant inquires. And as the end of my tour grew closer, I kept hoping that life would be just like I left it and my kids would remember and accept their father.

I lived in Bronx, NY and the first stop from Iraq would be Fort Dix, NJ. After three days of in-processing, the IRR soldiers would be discharged and the National Guard unit that we were attached to would continue on to their home base in Pennsylvania.

My brother agreed to pick me up from Fort Dix alone, because my family was preparing a welcome home dinner. Funny thing happened on the ride from New Jersey to New York. I love to drive and I asked him to drive back and he agreed (who would say no to a returning veteran?). On the drive back, I kept searching, and after 30 minutes, by brother asked if I was ok, if I was still in “military mode” searching for roadside bombs? To which I replied, "Nope, just looking for Dunkin Donuts." For the last month before I came home, all I could think about was a large French vanilla hot coffee.

Obligation to returning Vets: My transition back to civilian life was pretty seamless. Before returning to active duty, I already had my college degree and a good job within the Department of Labor. I had a good head on my shoulders and a job that I could return to (by law, they had to keep my job available to me). Unfortunately, many of my brothers and sisters at arms were not as fortunate. Some had a difficult life before they were deployed that was only worsened by their prolonged absence. Some were taking medications to cope with the demands of war, only to be cut off completely from their prescription drugs upon their return home.

My close Army buddies and I always vowed to keep in contact, but as the months passed, we slowly lost touch and returned to our daily lives until July 19, 2009. On that day word got out that one of our Army friends passed away. He was only 26 years old and died of an accidental overdose. Those who were close to him knew that he would have a difficult time returning to civilian life because we suspected that he was taking heavy prescription drugs. There were times that Shaun would sleep 12 hours and skip meals.

Without thinking twice, I packed my car and drove 1000 miles, from New York to Wisconsin, to attend his funeral and pay my respects. It was nice reuniting with my Army buddies, but I wouldn’t wish this on my worst enemy.

According to the Department of Defense, during the first nine months of 2012, 247 Army troops – including active-duty soldiers, National Guard members and reservist have committed suicide; another 126 service members within the Navy, Marines and Air Force have also committed suicide. One soldier committing suicide is a tragedy, what we have instead is a National crisis. Soldiers are by definition, rough and tough. Our obligations to returning veterans is to pierce that rough and tough veneer and get them help when they need it.


Tangella Streets Pilcher Name: Tangella Streets Pilcher
NSU Program: Mental Health Counseling
Military Branch: Army
Term: October 1996 to June 2002
Rank: Specialist E-4

My name is Tangella Streets Pilcher and I am a proud United States Army Veteran. I served in the Army for 6 years. My military specialties were Psychiatric Specialist and Combat Medic. I served a tour in Iraq and Kuwait.

I am a daughter, a sister and a single mother of a loving six year old little boy named Victor.

Currently, I am a graduate student attending the Tampa campus at Nova Southeastern University working towards my master's degree in Mental Health Counseling. I am a member of the Golden Key Honor Society, the Student Government Association and the Counseling Student Organization.

Name: Jose Ramos
NSU Program: Faculty of Computer Science
Military Branch: Army
Term: 1941 - 1953
Rank: 65th Infantry - Radioman

I'm a faculty at NSU's Farquhar College of Arts and Sciences. This story is about my father, Luis Ramos, who served in WWII and the Korean War. He passed away on October 11, 2012 at the age of 90. He was recently honored with a Bronze Star medal for his bravery during the Korean War. Luis Ramos served as a radioman, a highly vulnerable job that required him to be in the thick of combat, as the Puerto-Rico-based 65th Infantry Regiment fought Chinese and North Korean troops from 1950-1953. You can find the full story at this link.

Name: Kevin V Reyes
NSU Program: Environmental Science/Studies
Military Branch: Navy
Term: 2000 - 2010, now in Reserves
Rank: E-6

I enlisted as a Sonar Technician in the Navy on May 22, 2000. After training to become a Sonar technician in San Diego, CA, I went to my first duty station which was on the USS Vandegrift FFG-48 in Yokosuka, Japan. Being forward deployed, I conducted various missions and completed 2 deployments in support of Operation Enduring freedom and Operation Iraqi freedom. During my time here, I advanced to the pay grade of E-5 and was awarded the Global War on Terrorism, Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary and the Navy and Maine corps Achievement medal.

I transferred duty stations in March of 2004 to the USS Hopper DDG-70 in Pearl Harbor, HI. There I completed 2 deployments also in support of Operation Enduring freedom and Operation Iraqi freedom. Our unit was also one of few to participate in the Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense testing. I was awarded another Navy and Marine Corp Achievement medal during my time here.

I then transferred again in March of 2007 to be deployed for detainee operations in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. My original tour of 1 year extended for another 2 years where I conducted many of the day to day camp operations. I was awarded 2 Joint Service Commendation medals and 1 Joint Service Achievement Medal.

I was honorably discharged in March of 2010 and joined the Navy reserves as a mine technician where I have advanced to the pay grade of E-6. I am attached to the Mobile Mine Unit 3 that is home based at the Naval Weapons Station located in Charleston, SC. In Fall of 2010, I began my tenure here at Nova Southeastern University in the Environmental Science/Studies program and will be graduating in May 2013.

Name: Nicolas Ruiz
NSU Program: BHS
Military Branch: Navy
Term: Jul 2002 - Jul 2008
Rank: E-4

My name is Nicolas Ruiz, I am 28 years old, I am from Miami, FL and I served in the U.S. Navy for 6 years (2002-2008). The Navy trained me as a field combat Corpsman (medic). I had the opportunity to travel onboard the hospital ship USNS Mercy and help people all over the world. My most memorable moment in the service was deploying to Southeast Asia in a humanitarian aid mission after the tsunami that occurred in 2004. In that particular deployment I experienced things that changed my life forever; I learned that no matter how bad the situation is, people will work together to help those in need. I also had the privilege to serve as a Corpsman with the Marines. Their dedication and love for the Corps is like none other, semper fi. Currently I am an active duty USNR member attached to a Marine unit and I work for the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Name: Allen Sells
NSU Program: Conflict Resolution
Military Branch: Marine Corps
Term: 1965 - 1969
Rank: Sergeant

I was language trained in Vietnamese prior to being sent to the war in 1966, and a Marine able to read, write, and speak the language was a rarity. This led to my assignment in starting up the Kit Carson Scout Program in which defectors from the enemy side were trained and assigned as scouts with Marine infantry units in the field. I spent seven months continuously in the field on combat operations developing tactics for this program, living with the (former)enemy the whole time. This program which was adopted countrywide in 1967. I then went to live in Phuoc Thien hamlet for four months providing local security and civic action projects at the fringe of the Chu Lai operating area. My language skills and knowledge of the Viet Cong led to my being asked to start the intelligence gathering program for the Marine pacification program in two provinces in late 1967, work that earned me the Navy Commendation Medal from the U.S. Secretary of the Navy, awarded after I returned to the States. During the Tet Offensive, I was trapped in Quang Ngai City when it was overrun by the enemy. I returned to the U.S. in June, 1968 and was assigned to the U.S. State Department as a Marine Security Guard assigned to the U.S. embassies in Cyprus and then in Lebanon.

Name: Jessica Patel Sheppard
NSU Program: Undergraduate/ Biology major
Military Branch: Navy
Term: Jul 2006 - Jul 2012
Rank: E-5

I am proud to have served in the U.S. Navy and since my return home, I truly savor the freedoms we have as US citizens. My eyes have been forever changed to see the price of the smallest decisions we make every day, from what to wear daily to what profession to study. These opportunities are not presented worldwide and we are truly blessed to live in a country that embraces free will.

Name: Pablo Varela
NSU Program: Mental Health Counseling
Military Branch: Army
Term: 10/2004 - 12/2010
Rank: Sergeant

In my experience from being a soldier and transitioning into civilian life, it is important that soldiers and veterans are given the necessary support that they need to overcome their obstacles in life. This includes potential issues that they may face in their transition from active duty, reserves, and National Guard members to civilian veterans. It is important that society advocate for our veteran’s concerning laws and policies as well. It is one of the reasons I have decided to enroll with Nova Southeastern University and pursue my graduate degree in Mental Health Counseling without the support of our society, my family, and friends this would not be possible. Thank you for all your support. Go Sharks!

Name: Rodane Williams
NSU Program: Biology
Military Branch: Air Force
Term: 2/2010 - present
Rank: E-4 Senior Airman

I have been a member of the U.S. Air Force for the past three years. Being a member has helped me contribute to my country and has assisted me in furthering my education here at NSU, and has given me the opportunity to strive towards my goal to be an anesthesiologist as a commissioned medical officer in the Air Force. The decision to make this commitment to my country has been my most beloved choice and my true service is to carry on the determination and courage to protect this great country such as Pat Tillman, Colin Powell, & the bravery of all the Tuskegee Airman before me. I currently serve as an aircraft scheduler and production management. I am the vice president of Homestead AFB Airman's Council, as well as an honor guard member. I take great pride as an honor guard member, to provide funeral honors for fallen comrades & displaying and escorting the national flag on ceremonial occasions. As a member of the armed forces, I remain highly motivated with exceptionally high standards.

Veterans Day 2011 - NSU Core Values. NSU asked our veterans, "How have NSU's core values formed the motivation of your actions as a veteran and a student at NSU?" Here are their stories

Name: Angel Rafael Braña
NSU Program: Master of Science in Biomedical Informatics, College of Osteopathic Medicine
Military Branch: USPHS
Term: 1977-2006
Rank: CAPT

As a proud Service Member of the U.S. Uniformed Services, for over 28 years in the U.S. Public Health Service, I provided care to underserved communities and hard to reach populations and served our Nation as First Receiver and First Responder in disasters. Upon retirement in 2006, I have continued "my mission" as a civilian activist on behalf of Health Care for All. As I complete my Master in Science in Biomedical informatics (MSMI) , also honoring NSU Core Values of Academic Excellence and Community Service, I plan, as a medical informatician, to help reform our health care system as a social entrepreneurship activity rather than as a commodity. In this photo, I joined clinical leaders, from all over the U.S., advocating for Health Care Justice and Access to Health Care for All Americans in a vigil in front of the U.S. Capitol in Washington DC in 2009.

Name: Troy Falardeau
NSU Program: Ph.D. candidate - Conflict Analysis and Resolution in the Graduate School of Humanities and Social Sciences (SHSS)
Military Branch: Army
Term: June 1981-Present
Rank: SGM

Like NSU, the Army also has core values that guide the actions of its soldiers. I feel that a clear statement of values is important to guide us when we face important life decisions. In the Army, our stated values are Loyalty, Duty, Respect, Selfless Service, Honor, Integrity, and Personal Courage, but I am especially drawn to Integrity. Integrity is a quality you develop by adhering to moral principles. It requires that you do and say nothing that deceives others. As your integrity grows, so does the trust others place in you. As you might expect, I am also drawn to Integrity at NSU. As a student and social scientist, integrity is all we have as we seek and share knowledge. In both organizations, we must be transparent to those around us, to inspire trust in our thoughts and actions. As Army leaders, we endeavor to inspire soldiers to follow us into battle without question; we do this by inspiring trust. However, at NSU we work to inspire trust, but we also know that our words and deeds will and should be questioned to build the body of knowledge.

Name: Natalie Guzman
NSU Program: Psychology (undergraduate)
Military Branch: Army
Term: 12/17/02-01/11
Rank: E-4/Specialist

First and foremost my name is Natalie Guzman and I am a Veteran for the United States Army and currently a Nova Southeastern University student. When I first began my journey at the age of 17 years old I decided to join the Army right after September 11 but at the same time I was still enrolled in high school. From that moment on I knew that I had to continue my education however, I felt the need to serve my country. On December 17, 2002 I joined the Army and several years later I decided to go back to school and that's when I decided to go to Nova Southeastern University.

When I first arrived at Nova Southeastern University I felt a connection right away only because Nova offered similar core values that the Army had offered me during my military career. For instance, at Nova Southeastern University, the university offers a diverse array of innovative academic programs that complement on-campus educational opportunities and resources with accessible distance learning programs to foster academic excellence, intellectual inquiry, leadership, research, and commitment to community through engagement of students and faculty members in a dynamic, life-long learning environment. Keeping this in mind I knew that I could go to Nova Southeastern University and still be able to go to my monthly battle assembly's in the military.

Next, the Army has helped me to further my education by offering me educational assistance, which help me to afford the financial part of my education. However, at Nova Southeastern University they also offer financial opportunities and resources that helped me to further my education. For example, one of the several resources that were offered to me was Financial Aid. Furthermore, Nova Southeastern University has many more opportunities that assisted me along my educational experience such as academically and of course student services. The student services at Nova Southeastern University, provides veterans benefits, which are designated to provide eligible individuals like me with an opportunity for educational and career growth. Also, it is certainly one of the most valuable benefits afforded to veterans and at Nova Southeastern University they are both pleased and honored to assist me in utilizing it to my best advantages.

In addition, Nova's core values has motivated me to continue and further my education because of there diverse array of innovative academic programs that complement on-campus educational opportunities and resources with accessible distance learning programs to foster academic excellence. As a full-time mother, military personnel and wife I found it easy for me to go to Nova Southeastern University because I have the advantage to take most of my classes online and fit my classes with my daily regular schedule. At, first it was a bit frightening for me however, Nova Southeastern University provides assistance like the help desk and with their excellent faculty I was able to complete and understand how to function outside a classroom setting.

Lastly, Nova Southeastern University has motivated me to reach out to my community. For instance, currently I am majoring in psychology and I believe that I should give back to my community because Nova Southeastern University has taught me that our communities are the foundation to our future. As a result, I decide to become a psychologist and further my career towards a Ph.D degree. In addition I will achieve my goal to go back to the Army and help out as a post-traumatic therapist and to also, reach out to many organizations like, Out of the Darkness, an American Foundation for suicide prevention program because most people don't realize how many people are hiding in the dark when they are encountering some type of dilemma that doesn't let me succeed in life. Finally, I will achieve my goal when it sums up to my community because Nova Southeastern University offers diverse services, clinical programs, and community-based research and resources that assist students to engage in our communities. According to Nova Southeastern University, our community extends into professional, intellectual, as well as geographical domains that both support and are the focus of our educational mission.

I am honored to know that I am attending a school of excellence and achievement that holds the beliefs that was once taught to me in my previous military career path and that I can say proudly that I am NSU.

Name: Daphnee Labbe
NSU Program: Nursing
Military Branch: Navy
Term: July 27 2005 - Present
Rank: E5/Second Class Petty Officer

NSU's core values form the motivation of my actions as a veteran and student by reinforcing the values that I was taught as a sailor because always striving for excellence both academically and militarily became important and natural. By retaining the utmost integrity wherever I may be whether it is at school or work. To always be open to diversity, by broadening my horizon and learning from other people whenever possible, because knowledge is power and diversity leads to adaptation. The opportunity to work with the community and help by volunteering in many different areas has helped me confirm my goal to one day have my own non-pro fit organization and give back to the community. Being a student at NSU gave me a great sense of motivation and community that I found similar to what I have learned in the military, where a sense of family was instilled and we would always reach out to one another and guide each other to the finish line.

Name: Anthony Lett
NSU Program: Huizenga Business School
Military Branch: United States Marine Corps
Term: 12/27/2004 - 12/26/2009
Rank: Sergeant - E5

Dear Nova,

Before I get into an explanation of how I both embody and embrace Nova's Core Values, I would first like to give myself some credibility as a veteran. It is not my intention to sound boastful, but it is necessary to explain my recent history prior to becoming a student in order to grant respect for and acceptance of my thoughts to those who are reading this. Not to imply that some veterans are unworthy of respect, but every true veteran holds a distinct reverence to distinguish between combat and non-combat veterans. Because of circumstances beyond my control, I happen to be the latter.

As succinct as I can make this story, I will tell you that I am originally from South Florida. I graduated from College Academy at Broward Community College, which allowed me to receive both my high school diploma and my Associates Degree simultaneously - and at the age of 18. Rather than pursuing a Bachelor's Degree in either computer science or engineering, I decided to join the military in order to serve my country at a time when it needed me the most. It was 2004, and the U.S. had been involved in Iraq for over a year and Afghanistan for nearly 3 years.

I met with a recruiter and quickly signed the papers to become a basic Rifleman in the Marine infantry. I was shipped to Parris Island, South Carolina for basic training. Shortly after my arrival, myself and several others were forced to take a language test. Apparently, the Marine Corps was short of linguists, so recruits in boot camp were being chosen to take a linguistic test based on their respective ASVAB (Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery) scores. I was the only one of several candidates who passed the test, and my job, or "occupational specialty" as we called it, was changed from Rifleman to Arabic linguist.

After several months of basic training, I was sent to the Defense Language Institute in Monterey, California. For the next year and half, I spent eight grueling hours per day learning - Arabic, you think? No, actually, I was trained to become a Russian linguist. One fun fact about the Marine Corps is that it may often order you to do one thing, but it will arbitrarily change that order at the last second, and your life will be spun out of control. The only thing that you can do in this situation is adapt - an arguably positive but still undeniably frustrating aspect of military life. Shortly after graduating from the language school, I was sent to my duty station - the beautiful state of Hawaii. Although stationed there for three years, I spent only 11 months on Hawaiian soil.

The rest of my time was spent in various, terrorist-infiltrated countries all over the Middle East and Southeast Asia. It was during this time in my life that I began to truly realize and embrace the Marine's Core Values - honor, courage, and commitment. These values are supposed to shape a Marine's disposition on and off the battlefield; they closely relate to other values such as integrity, warrior ethos, diversity, and community, which are similar to Nova's Core Values.

It wasn't until after several close encounters with a seemingly unlimited number of enemies spanning the globe that I opened my eyes to the gruesome reality of life on earth - people are capable of intolerance and violence to a mind-boggling degree of injustice. I had witnessed atrocious acts of violence conducted by mankind towards mankind in four different countries. While serving 12 months in Southern Afghanistan, I had fought for my own life nearly everyday on the most undesirable and unimaginable terrain that one could think of - a land filled with bombs, both anti-vehicle and anti-personnel. During one particular 30 day mission to clear a road of insurgency, we lost a vehicle to an IED (improvised explosive device) nearly every 18 hours continuously. On one occasion several months later, I even went gun-for-gun against a Taliban-controlled anti-aircraft weapon. I never would have believed that they had that kind of weaponry.

Luckily, I survived all of my encounters, and I began to strictly adhere to my principles - essentially, the core values stated above. Now, you should understand why I prefaced this essay with an explanation of my trials and tribulations. It is to prove sincerity in my upcoming statements. I do uphold and exemplify Nova's core values. I do this because my life has been reshaped by certain events that have led me to appreciate the significance in having values. It is our values that allow us to interact humanely within small groups, organizations, and society alike. Once we start to lose or defy our values, society starts to deteriorate. Greed takes over, and people fight each other for personal gain rather than work together towards a common interest - liberty and prosperity for all. I hold these values true for both selfless and selfish reasons. It is not just in the interest of everyone for my actions to be benevolent, but it is also in my own self-interest.

By helping others, remaining honest, and staying on a commendable course, I will not only develop a strong network of good, reliable associates, but I will also inspire others to act as I do. This inspiration will disseminate exponentially amongst my peers and will serve to improve society. Simply put, my own Core Values, which are inclusive of Nova's Core Values, are my only motivation for my actions. Acting on values is the only sure method of guaranteeing success. If you made it this far, thank you for taking the time to read this. - Anthony Lett Loyal NSU Shark

Name: Patrick Offor
NSU Program: Ph.D. candidate, Information Systems, Computer and Information Sciences
Military Branch: Army
Term: Sept 1996 to Present
Rank: CW3

As a veteran of the U.S. Army and a doctoral student at Nova Southeastern University (NSU), it is hard to separate the Army core values from the NSU core values because they are intertwined and have equally shaped the lives of many men and women, of which my family and I are proud beneficiaries. The Army core values are loyalty, duty, respect, selfless service, honor, integrity, and personal courage. The NSU core values are academic excellence, student centered, integrity, research and scholarship, diversity, opportunity, innovation, and community. My answer to the question of ranking for the values at both institutions is that although the values are equally important, integrity (do what is right, legally and morally) seems to be centerpiece because it allows me to be loyal to the nation, the Army, and the unit; to judiciously perform my duty; to treat others equally; to put other people's needs before my own; to abide with the Army values; and to be resolute in action. The aforementioned values are also inherent in the NSU core values: true to self, others, and the school; pursuit of academic excellence; and addition to the body of knowledge.

Name: Jeffrey Pearson
NSU Program: Pre-Law
Military Branch: Air Force
Term: Sep 6 2005- Sep 5 2011
Rank: SSgt

My personal values stem off of what the military has taught me over the past 6 years. Working with people from all over the world in a dynamic, diverse environment that can only be perceived by the individuals that embrace that environment. I have many war stories, many in which I would most likely never talk about again. But those experiences have forged me into the student I am today. Having served several tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, I have seen first hand, what it is like to lead, follow and achieve excellence. The NSU Core Values are those in which not only the students should emulate, but values that we all should live by.