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Supporting Student-Veterans on Campus: Lessons from Lived Experience

Originally posted on the DEA's CampusDrugPrevention.gov website.

I was barely old enough to order a beer when I found myself being deployed to Iraq. This was post-9/11 so to say tensions were high is an understatement at best. I was thrown right into the deep end.
 
I was smart enough to know I didn’t know everything. But still, nothing in my 21 years prepared me for what I would see during that year on active duty. I went from attending classes and juggling studies to engaging in small arms fire and being hit with an improvised explosive device during my first week in the country. I led more than 180 combat patrols as an Army Infantry team leader and as a member of a recon/sniper team.
 
When I returned to college in the fall of 2006, I was quite literally a different person. The classmates I had been with my previous three years in college had graduated the previous spring. Lost in a sea of strange faces, I felt unmoored and alone.

In addition to the culture shock...

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CBS 4 INDY - "Noblesville veteran honored for serving others after his time overseas"

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NOBLESVILLE, Ind.– A local veteran is on a new mission these days to help student veterans and those who are struggling after serving our country.

Dave Closson grew up always wanting to serve. His father, a retired sergeant major and airborne ranger, served in Vietnam.

“He is just a walking, talking excellent role model. A man of integrity, and family man,” Closson said. “Growing up, I always wanted to be just like my dad.”

Closson joined the service at a young age. He joined the Illinois Army National Guard.

“I thought I could have the best of both worlds. I could serve and do all the fun Army stuff I knew I would love, but I could also have a civilian life,” he explained.

Closson was deployed during his junior year of college. He went overseas and fought as part of Operation Iraqi Freedom. During his first week there,...

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