Veterans Week Celebrations

Saddleback College celebrated Veterans Day by holding a week’s worth of activities in The Quad at Saddleback College Nov. 7 through Nov. 10. Events ranged from information sessions with veterans themselves to an obstacle course that students could participate in side by side veterans and recruiters.

“Veterans Day was established to signify the end of World War I,” said Marine Sgt. Jeremy Powell, a Lake Forest Marine recruiter. “It is a very important day for veterans in general being that I am a veteran. And that I surround myself with people of that stature, it means a lot to me because it allows us to take pride in what we have done and reflect back on the sacrifice that we as well as our predecessors have made for this country.”

This week’s events were put on by the Veterans Student Council, which provides support for the 450 registered students receiving aid using the GI Bill, not including other student veterans not represented through the GI Bill.

“Coming out of highschool I was looking at what I could do to set myself up for success in life and I wanted to get into law enforcement,” said Marine Sgt. Andrew Cruz, a Mission Viejo Marine recruiter.  “One of the options was to have a military background to get into law enforcement, I pulled the trigger and I ended up joining the marine corps. I took a look at all the different branches of service and this is what felt like the best fit for me.”

On Monday, Nov. 7, a Field of Flags were put in The Quad to celebrate and remember those who have served in the military. On Tuesday, Nov. 8, a veteran spoke at an event titled Vet Talk to educate and inform the student body on the military experience. On Wednesday, Nov. 9, students participated in the Combat Fitness Course. On Thursday, Nov. 10, Veterans Week activities will come to an end with a concluding BBQ and a Marine Corps Birthday Cake Cutting.

“I joined the Army because I wanted to see who was defending my family, see the people that were doing it and to serve my country,” said Chad Comes, 26, business major at Saddleback College, served for almost four years in the U.S. Army. “My favorite part is the brotherhood and getting to know all the guys.”

The obstacle course put students through mock training in hopes of winning a prize as well as showing their strength next to veterans and recruiters. After a walk through and coaching of the course, students began by sprinting from the starting line to the first obstacle cone, dropping to a bear crawl and going from one cone to the next. Then students flipped over into a crab crawl followed by five pushups.

Throwing a volunteer into a fireman’s hold, participants then ran from cone to cone until they reached a grenade simulant where the volunteer is dropped and the grenade is thrown. Continuing the course, students dragged the volunteer from one cone to the next and then finished by sprinting to the finish line. The fastest received two free movie tickets.

“I feel like it is very important to not just thank a veteran for their service but to actually take a second to stop and ask them for their story,” Powell said. “A lot of people just say thank you for your service and just keep moving but it is really important that you stop and you ask that person if they can just share a little bit and enlighten us on how your experience was and what you are proud of.”

The Military Appreciation Football Game will be the next Veterans Student Council event at the home football game Saturday Nov. 12. Free admission to the game will be offered for Veterans, active duty personnel, and their families as well as a halftime recognition.