UIVA to honor veterans


The University of Iowa Veterans Association consists of members from all different branches of the military.

In honor of Veterans Day, two U.S. Marines and one Army National Guard member discussed what made them decide to serve our country, as well as the new meaning Veterans Day has taken on because of their service. 

The University of Iowa enrolled 505 veterans in fall 2013, and the university ranks consistently according to U.S. News & World Report in best colleges for veterans — ranking sixth nationally out of 234 institutions.

Jacob Stone, U.S. Marine

U.S. Marine Jacob Stone, a combat veteran in Afghanistan, decided to attend the University of Iowa because he had heard it was one of the top-10 veteran-friendly schools.

After four years of being a motor technician and recovering broken or disabled vehicles, Stone is studying ethics and public policy, and he hopes to go to law school.

Stone said he decided to join the Marines because he didn’t want to go to college at the time. His plan was to enlist with one of his friends.

But when his friend backed out last minute, Stone followed through with his decision despite his parents’ hesitancy to accept his determination to serve the country.

“[They were] very opposed, [but I dealt with it] with facts and rational arguments,” he said.

Stone left two weeks after high school, and although his parents are now proud of his decision, they are relieved he’s home safe.

Stone said he thinks the hardest part about coming home from war, for a veteran, is other people understanding. Not just civilians, but even people in the military, because of how different everyone’s experiences are.

Though his grandfather served in World War II, Stone did not come from a traditional military family, unlike some of his fellow UI Veterans Association members.

Stone said he didn’t really know what Veterans Day represented when he was in high school.

“[But now I understand the] sacrifice people put into it,” he said.

Josh Mulder, U.S. Marine

Josh Mulder, also a veteran of Afghanistan, served in the Marines for four years as well, and he long knew he was going to be in the military because he was raised in a military family.

Mulder’s father and uncle both served in the Navy, his brother served in the Army, and another uncle served in the Air Force.

“Dinner-table conversations are always interesting,” Mulder said.

He said this is because the family members like to trash talk the other branches and joke about which branch is best.

For Mulder, this was the Marines.

During his four years, he was in the Marine Expeditionary Unit and served for seven months in Afghanistan.

Mulder said he didn’t give a lot of attention to Veterans Day until he experienced combat firsthand.

“I didn’t really think about it until I actually served,” he said. “After that, it meant a lot more.”

Tony Rivera, Army National Guard

Tony Rivera came from a military family and served in the Army National Guard in Afghanistan.

Both of his parents were Marines, but Rivera said he didn’t think about joining the military until he was with a few of his friends one day, and he realized he wasn’t sure what the next step in his life was.

“I just decided to give it a shot,” he said.

Rivera went through basic training, as well as additional medical training in which he learned how to do procedures such as sutures and chest tubes.

When he began, he was already familiar with some of these procedures because he was a paramedic before he joined the Guard.

Since serving as a medic, Rivera said he has more of an appreciation for veterans on Veterans Day and everything that the UI Veterans Association does to recognize those who have served the country.

One thing he noted appreciating was the “I” made out of American flags on the Pentacrest lawn.

Each individual flag is dedicated to people who have served in the military.

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