From Combat to Campus

Combat to Campus

Lino Camacho still hears the whizzing sound of AK-47 bullets just inches from his head. This happened almost daily during his nine months of combat in Afghanistan.

Although these harrowing experiences happened five years ago, Lino still struggles with PTSD, waking up ten times every night, constantly watching the door and reacting to every sound. He still instinctively reaches to hug a rifle in his sleep like he did every night on active duty.

Now a senior Kinesiology major at DBU, Lino is one of 100 veterans who are pursuing a Christ-centered education at DBU. Many of these students also served on the front lines and today face some of the same challenges as Lino.

It has not been easy for Lino to make it this far in college. He says he struggles to remember things as easily as he once did, and he wonders if younger students think he is not intelligent because he must ask so many questions. Lino is grateful for DBU Student Services helping him obtain accommodations that allow him a quiet room and extra time for taking exams.

Most veteran-students are between the ages of 24 and 40 and are juggling jobs and families in addition to being full-time students. Their intense experiences in active duty make it even harder to join in socially with traditional students, often leading to isolation. However, DBU provides them a supportive Christian environment where they can heal and grow.

Our professors realize veterans "bring a depth of experience that adds a richness to class discussions," according to Dr. Susie Casstevens, Assistant Professor of Library Science. Her youngest son is in the Army, which helps her relate to the veteran-students in her teacher-preparation course called Reading in the Content Area. "Veteran-students are very passionate about their studies and prepare so well for presentations," she says. "Students such as Lino will make fantastic teachers because of the maturity and compassion they gained through their experiences in the military," remarks Dr. Casstevens.

DBU is recognized as one of the top military-friendly universities in the nation. We value the sacrifices these veterans have made for our country and welcome their contribution to our campus.

Written by College of Professional Studies