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Spotlighting Student Veterans at St. Mary’s

Nov. 11, Veterans Day, is a national holiday for the purpose of honoring those who have served in the military. St. Mary’s College of Maryland (SMCM), due to its proximity to the Naval Air Station Patuxent River, is greatly impacted by the military aspect of Southern Maryland.

It’s important for the College to acknowledge not only those veterans in our surrounding area but those who are a part of the College’s community as well. The Point News met with several veterans that attend SMCM to get their perspective.

Allison Burnett, ‘19, joined the Army in 2001 and was serving until 2004 when she was pregnant with her first child. But she still remained involved in the military life, as her husband was in the Air Force. He later on changed branches and joined the Army.

Burnett’s reasoning for going into the military came as a result of living in a small town in Ohio while working at Kmart and attending various colleges but realizing she couldn’t afford this life on her own. She had several family members in different branches of the military and decided that military was the best route for her.

She chose the Army specifically because she was impressed with what she saw upon walking into the recruiter’s office. Burnett says she saw the people working and how they carried themselves, as well as a poster that read “Loyalty, Duty, Respect, Selfless-Service, Honor, Integrity, and Personal Courage.” She felt a deep connection to those values. Burnett had several years of language experience in German, Italian and French, and also had a great passion for languages and culture, making the Army was the best route for her.

Burnett went to Monterey, California to study language, then moved to San Antonio, Texas for her work which was considered classified with her involvement with languages. She also traveled out of the country with her husband and spent some time in Madrid. She considered this experience to be her “absolute favorite,” later writing her ELAW (Experiencing Liberal Arts in the World) essay on the experience.

Burnett told The Point News that some of her personal benefits with being in the military was being able to work well with a wide variety of people from various different cultures. She also said that she “was put in situations where giving up was not a viable option, so I learned how to continually adapt and overcome.” She continued, saying, “I know pain is temporary, so I no longer fear it or avoid it if it needs to happen.”

Alan Frampton, ‘18, spent 20 years in the Air Force after joining in 1985. His job in the military was as a security police officer. Frampton told The Point News that some of his friends had joined the military and looking at his options, “the Air Force was just the best choice.”

Frampton spent most of his time overseas in England, Spain, and Korea, and then later spent five years at the Pentagon, followed by five years at the Andrews Air Force Base. Some of the personal benefits that he felt that he gained from being in the military were being able to see places that he would not have been able to see otherwise, along with meeting new people and creating new relationships with those people.

During his first 10 years of service, Frampton mainly guarded aircrafts, weapons, etc., and then spent the next 10 years doing “back office work,” which included working on programs related to background checks. After the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, he helped work on the development of new background check processes.

Frampton adds that some of the things that he misses about being in the military are the traveling, the people he met and became friends with and the group. He’s hoping that SMCM will look more closely into trying to recruit potential students involved with the military because the school is so close to the PAX Naval Base, and sees it as a “pool of potential students” that could gain something from attending a liberal arts school.

Rebecca Hitch, ‘19, spent six years in the Navy. She worked with flight engines, in which she sat in between the pilot and the co-pilot during flights and was an E-5, a Petty Officer Second Class. She got involved with the Navy through a co-worker of her because at the time the recruiter was looking for women who had swimming skills and Hitch had been a part of her high school’s swim team.

When she was going to meet with the recruiter, she said that “at first I was just gonna see what he has to say, but I’m not joining the Navy.” She ended up joining to help her get out and see the world beyond her small town and to also help her save money to attend college in the future.

During her time in the Navy, Hitch traveled to Chicago for boot camp, went to Pensacola for schooling and then traveled to Hawaii, Japan, the Philippines, Greece, Africa, and several other regions.

Her personal benefits from joining the military include gaining leadership skills, being able to hold herself accountable, gaining motivation, and also being able to go to college. She says that what she misses most about being in the military is “my job actually. I didn’t think that I would, but now that I think about it, like my job and my office was inside of a plane.”

She also misses the camaraderie and the companionship that she had within the Navy. Hitch enjoyed her time in the Navy and is planning on going back into the military after college to become an Officer, and hopes to rejoin the Navy.

These are simply highlights of a select few of the veterans that attend our school. It is important to recognize not only these students and the other student veterans on campus but also the veterans in our surrounding community for their service and time in the military. While the veterans community on St. Mary’s College campus is relatively small, they are still a part of our lives and our community. Appreciate those who have served just not on one day, but every day.

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