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Guardsman mentors student veterans on campus

By Army Staff Sgt. S. Patrick McCollum
National Guard Bureau

ARLINGTON, Va., (7/28/09) - With the Post 9/11 G.I. Bill recently enacted, many college campuses are anticipating the fall semester to be flooded with students who are also war veterans.

And, in typical military fashion, current students who are servicemembers are also preparing for the influx.

The Student Veterans of America, a national student volunteer organization, provides an opportunity for veterans to come together to ask questions about benefits, advocate for veterans issues on campus, tell the story of the modern Soldier to other college students as members of the group, and relive that intangible bond of being in military service.

“Until you get out of the military, you don't realize the brotherhood that you have with (military) folks,” said Chief Warrant Officer Travis Wright, a graduate student at George Washington University, who works at the National Guard Bureau. “A lot of guys miss that when they get out. When I got off active duty, I missed that.” Wright enlisted at age 18 and shipped off to flight school soon afterwards. Flying OH-58 Kiowas and other helicopters in active duty, Wright found little time for school.

“I went into night classes off and on,” said Wright.

After finally receiving his bachelor's degree using the G.I. Bill, he decided to continue his education at GWU, where he found a new organization in the Student Veterans.

Wright became a graduate student advisor to the group, using his expertise in the G.I. Bill to mentor young veterans.

This, he said, was one of the most rewarding things about the group. “It's nice to be around young Soldiers and feed off their enthusiasm. They've been through the same things you've been through.”

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