Robert Steiner

An Iraq War Marine Veteran with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) finds himself unable to cope with everyday life and is now using Mesa Community College (MCC) to help him find his way. Freshman Blain Reed is very open about how he is coping with being home from his tours in Iraq. He explained that while on a tour he was involved in an explosion that caused partial deafness and was been diagnosed with PTSD. He is often uncomfortable around a crowd of people and gets easily irritated by noises. Blain said the most distressing thing for him is knowing he would be homeless if it wasn’t for his ability to go to school using a GI Bill.

Blain was unreachable for an interview and it is unknown as to why he missed the appointment but it makes one wonder if participating in a story written about his experiences would be due to his current disposition and temperament brought on with his PTSD. Ethan Jones is an Iraq war veteran and a ASU graduate. “Military pushed me to do it [school]. Before you get out they [the military] make you create a future plan,” he said. School seems to be an appealing route after serving our country and it is apparent as military pushes many servicemen in this direction. According to the PBS program “Coming Back with Wes Moore,” more veterans than ever are making use of the Post-9/11 GI Bill.

The numbers of veterans using education benefits increased by 67 percent from 2009 to 2012. The VA helps veterans after completing active duty by providing an education through GI Bills, by helping to be an asset to the general welfare. Military also offers a stipend of $1,500 if they are a full-time student. The stipend can be used for living expenses, such as housing and food. Our military uses school to help progress veterans in their adaptation to civilian life. According to the same program report, Veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan have more support than those from previous generations.

This includes programs like the Yellow Ribbon, a non-profit organization that will support excess expense if cost of a private or nonresident student surpasses financial support given by 9/11 bill, that will assist with education. The report also explains that veterans are faring better with post-service careers mostly due the support of the programs provided for reintegration like the GI and 9/11 bills. Education may not be the only option post service, as many companies have veteran work programs such as the federal government hire veterans program to get federal jobs, but it seems to be the most beneficial in helping those returning to learn to adapt.

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These are archived stories from Mesa Legend editions before Fall 2018. See article for corresponding author.

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