Back in School

As of spring 2011, the population of veterans attending the University of Washington under the GI Bill stood at nearly 800. Of that number, almost 10 percent belonged to a growing group called Husky United Military Veterans (HUMV). Its goal: “to foster unity, pride and community within its members and surrounding community through educational, cultural and social advancement.” Three recent vets who serve as HUMV officers—Cole Zuckerman, president; Chas Manfredi, vice president; and Luke Fearey, secretary—shared some details about themselves.

CHAS MANFREDI

AGE: 24

HOMETOWN: Billings, Mont.

AT UW: Pre-engineering, with plans to major in aerospace and aeronautical engineering

REASON FOR ENLISTING: “There are very few people in America willing to stand up and fight for what they believe in and fight for their country. I didn’t want to sit on the sidelines and let other people do the fighting.”

DEPLOYMENTS: Twice to Iraq.

ADJUSTMENT: “One of my buddies, when he got back, about six months later, he killed himself. Suicide in the Infantry has increased in recent years, and he wasn’t the first person from my unit to kill himself.”

LUKE FEAREY

AGE: 25

HOMETOWN: Bainbridge Island

AT UW: International Studies

REASON FOR ENLISTING: “My main reason for enlisting, honestly, was boredom. I had finished two years of college as a Political Science major and got tired of being the proverbial ‘armchair quarterback.’ That is, discussing world events from the safety of a classroom without actually participating in them.”

DEPLOYMENTS: Twice to Iraq.

ADJUSTMENT: “The transition has been mostly smooth. I got lucky in a lot of ways, such as getting accepted at UW, having a good support network, and not much in the way of service-related injuries.”

COLE ZUCKERMAN

AGE: 25

HOMETOWN: Seattle

AT UW: Program on the Environment

REASON FOR ENLISTING: “I enlisted in the military after high school in order to see the world, mature and earn a free college education.”

DEPLOYMENTS: Once to Iraq, once to the South Pacific.

ADJUSTMENT: “My transition out of the military has been very successful and I would consider myself the poster boy of the system working… I do see a lot of (buddies from the Marines) struggling through their Facebook messages and stuff like that … struggling with relationships, finding a job, and just getting on with their life.”

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