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Student veterans discuss war experiences at Fireside Chat

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On the eve of Vietnam novelist Tim O’Brien’s reading, eight war veterans sat down to discuss their military service for Sierra Nevada College’s first Fireside Chat of the academic school year on Thursday, Sept. 20.

The panel consisted of Freshmen Chris Muravez and Greg Lynch Juniors Joel Granado, Stacey Arnsdorff, Chuck Roesch, Andrew Casey, and Incline Village Veterans Bruce McNulty and Ted Fuller.

Host Andy Whyman and Former Admission Counselor Aaron Tremblay, an Iraq War veteran, were moderators of the discussion.

Each panelist, including Tremblay, gave a small speech about their time overseas.  The moderators then asked questions, which were met with varied responses. The floor was then opened to the  audience to ask their questions.


Freshman Greg Lynch, Iraq War Veteran, giving the
details he can about his time in the service.

Of the 90 people in attendance, seven were Vietnam War veterans, two of which also spoke of personal experience.

The stories told by each panelist were only as descriptive as each veteran was comfortable discussing. Most gave detailed accounts about their time in the service, however, several hardly gave any details at all.

Casey gave details on how he served two tours as a Marine in Iraq, but not much more. Among the few words that Casey spoke that night his opinion on war was

“War is a slut that takes men and never gives them back.”

Lynch spoke on how civilians react when hearing they have served time.

“People are intrigued on why we do the things we do,” said Lynch, an Iraq War veteran.

Being in the service is a great experience and a way to gain perspective agreed most panel members though, their faces showed that they would rather not speak in detail.

“I would give an arm and a leg to be back in a second,” said Lynch, despite the difficult sights he saw while overseas.

Coming back from overseas has different effects on everyone. Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is something every service member must face as they re-enter society.

The panelist each showed how hard it was to talk about their experiences. Some panelists preferred not to get into personal details, and some who did share got choked up when speaking.

“We all experience different levels of PTSD. I don’t like alarms.” said Granado, a Cold War veteran. “This generation is able to talk about war unlike older generations.”

Muravez and Lynch were willing to share the most about their time, while other panel members sat in silence.


Juniors Chuck Roesch and Andrew Casey were silent most of the
night, they gave general details of their time,
but left much unsaid.

After coming back from war, many find it difficult to relate to civilians.

“There is no one you can relate to,” said Bruce McNulty, Vietnam War veteran.

Even being in a foreign country is tough. Roesch answered an audience question about what soldiers struggle with.

“You can’t trust anyone,” said Roesch, an Iraq War veteran. “You assume everyone is an enemy.”

There was hope among a few panel members that there would be an end to war.

“I have to believe that, no time soon, there will be no war,” said Muravez


Junior Stacey Arnsdorff gave a brief speech
about her service, then listened to others.

With that hope in mind, the Fireside Chat closed, and the tension that had been in the room since the chat opened, lifted.

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3 Responses to “Student veterans discuss war experiences at Fireside Chat”

  1. Chad Foster on September 28th, 2012 1:18 pm

    I wonder how many comments have been posted, but not approved?


    Sam Marquardt Reply:

    All comments that were submitted were approved. No reason to hold back different opinions.


  2. Andrew Casey on September 28th, 2012 1:33 pm

    Sam, you
    left out content from the conversation and also twisted the story.  


    posted the pictures that make us all look depressed and mental.  You also
    impose the image that it was too hard for some of us to talk (Chuck and
    myself), but in all reality, that picture was taken more  than halfway
    through the event after a certain panel member had been rambling on
    like a blatant idiot, making Chuck and I quite irritated.   You
    left out the fact that questions were being answered by only one/ two of the
    individuals on the panel.  And one was visually intoxicated.  


    You sway
    towards the state of myself being troubled by saying, “Casey gave details
    on how he served two tours as a Marine in Iraq, but not much more.” You
    excluded my statement of myself saying, “I’m unsure what everyone whats to
    hear this evening, and would feel that questions being directly asked would be

    also went into another room with about 20 individuals straight afterwards and
    talked for about 30 minutes about my experiences.  Funny stories and sad

    event was a bust on getting any actual experiences out or anything in such




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The student news site of Sierra Nevada College
Student veterans discuss war experiences at Fireside Chat