When my husband decided to join the US Navy, he and I were still dating. I had recently graduated with my Master’s degree in social work and just started my first “real” job, working as a substance abuse counselor for incarcerated adolescents. I still remember the day he told me he was thinking of joining the military. He asked if I was okay with his decision. I said I supported him, but would have to decide if I wanted to follow him down this path.
Blog posts with the tag "Guest Perspective"
My professor set me up for success in the clinical world when I was tasked to read Unspeakable Truths and Happy Endings: Human Cruelty and the New Trauma Therapy by Rebecca Coffey.The purpose was to prepare us as students to sit in the pocket of the client’s story, no matter how tragic or graphic. It was a challenging task as the book was filled with gruesome stories, including one of a Veteran, introducing me to the impact of combat trauma. It was a wake-up call to the high honor and power of listening to someone’s story, especially those of military families.
Like many, my understanding of culture grew through my experiences over time. I grew up as a Hispanic woman in a predominantly Hispanic part of Texas. When I went away to a school in the North, I quickly learned I was different than many there. Nearly every interaction was a cross-cultural one. It made me stronger, took me out of my comfort zone, and taught me that adaptation was necessary, not just for survival, but to be successful. It also gave me a whole new respect for a wider and more diverse world.
Early in our endeavor in Iraq, and more frequently as our troop strength in Afghanistan increased, we heard emotional reports of civilians being killed by American forces during operations. These reports usually included tearful relatives and possibly a bullet-riddled car in the background.
I never served. My time would have been during the Vietnam War. But from 1970-1974, I completed my undergraduate studies under a 2-S student deferment; when President Nixon revoked the student deferment with a new draft bill in September 1971, the first to be impacted were men in the Class of ’75 – those a year behind me. When the draft lottery was held in August of 1971 for men in my cohort, I drew #264. (Had I been born on December 4th of 1952 instead of January 4th, I would have drawn #1.) And so I transitioned uninterrupted from undergraduate to graduate studies, completing my doctoral degree three years after the fall of Saigon.