Here is the article I wrote for my News Writing class on veterans from my school in honor of Veterans Day:
University of Detroit Mercy veterans
Michael Tierney is a retired man enjoying the fruits of his labor.
He was a business major at University of Detroit, and graduated in 1960.
Working for General Motors in a career spanning 40 years, Tierney joined the U.S. Army Reserves.
“I was going to get drafted,” Tierney said. He said he ended up going to basic training at Fort Leonard Wood, Mo., then to Augusta, Ga., for 16 weeks of military school.
On the side, he pursued a business degree at the university on a part-time basis.
“I was not going to be in combat,” Tierney said. He said he was just getting his military duty out of the way.
While he finished his business studies, he spent that time fulfilling his military duty of 5 ½ years of service.
“I went to summer camp for 2 weeks,” Tierney said. He said he also went to meetings every week consisting of drills and class work.
University of Detroit Mercy had other men and women like Tierney willing to serve their country. For reasons including military families and an interest in the health profession, they decided through volunteerism and the draft to dedicate years of their lives to public service.
“I considered [joining] when I was in college,” Lori Caloia, ’00 and a biochemistry major. She said she considered going to the Airforce Academy.
When applying to medical schools, the thought came up again.
“They could pay a stipend every year,” Caloia said. She said it was better than ending up in piles of debt.
She started off as a fight surgeon.
“I took care of air crew and personnel in Qatar and Afghanistan,” Caloia said. She said by the time she started, people were getting injuries.
Besides taking care of Americans, she took care of Afghanis as well, she said.
“The death toll was the Afghani people,” Caloia said. She said the media does not report what Al Qaeda is doing to hurt those people.
She noted the reason the death toll was high among Afghanis.
“There was a lack of health care,” Caloia said. She said she would see patients with post-traumatic stress disorder.
She recounted a particular occasion she remembered.
“A gentlemen saw his friends legs having been blown off,” Caloia said. She said what else could she have done than to be there as a human being.
Looking back, she recalls the main goals she was tasked to accomplish.
“I did a lot of primary care,” Caloia said. She said she prevented people from getting sick.
Today, she is continuing the dream the military helped her begin to pursue.
“I am doing a residency program for family medicine,” Caloia said.
Mike Stone, ’89 and a history major had other reasons for joining.
“My brother went to the Naval Academy,” Stone said. He said it was only a couple of years prior to his departure.
His brother was not the only one to participate in state service.
“My step-father, father, and uncle were in it,” Stone said. He said he was not originally interested in joining.
However, he said he saw the ROTC [Reserve Officers’ Training Corps] men one day, and he decided to join.
“I was struggling my second year [in what he wanted to do with his life],” Stone said. He said he got brainwashed pretty quickly upon meeting the ROTC people.
He felt it was important to differentiate his time and the time of today.
“When it comes to the environment post 9/11, people should be 100 percent sure [they want to commit to the army],” Stone said.
He explained what his work in ROTC required.
“I did ROTC as a program where you could go to college for training,” Stone said. He said you could also compete for scholarships.
In joining, he made clear what his choices were when it came down to it.
“I decided between guard and active duty,” Stone said. He was placed on military duty in Detroit.
He eventually became a field artillery battalion commander.
“I took command right before 9/11,” Stone said. He said he was a part of a rockets division headquartered in Detroit.
He was deployed soon taking his post.
“My military police unit from Detroit landed in Desert Storm,” Stone said. He said he was deployed there as a second lieutenant.
He remembered pretty clearly how that was.
“I remember rows and rows of tanks going by,” Stone said. “We were in the middle of tank deployment.”
However, he would be called upon again when the War on Terror in Iraq came about.
“I deployed as a military commander in Iraq,” Stone said. He said he was responsible for detention operations.
He spoke about different scenarios he came about.
“We dealt with a lot of former regime people,” Stone said. He said we had to ask how to deal with people such as Chemical Ali and a number of different “deck of cards” regime people.
Though he lived in the shadow of Abu Grab, dealing in military detention was not the only thing he was a part of.
“We [the military detention] had almost 800 teenagers, and we sent them to school,” Stone said. He said just because they killed someone, it does not mean they will not take care of them in a humanitarian fashion
He became a colonel in 2007.
He said these experiences sent him on a life journey.
“I never dreamt I would interact with the United States government at the international strategic level,” Stone said. He said he tried to broker deals to bring about peace.
Today, his work does not take him too far away from home.
“I work as a brigadier general in Lansing,” Stone said. He said he was also a travel attorney and corporate lawyer on the side for a while.
He loves his life now, and finds it very fulfilling.
Like Tierney, Stone and Caloia saw the need to serve their country.
Through it, they were able to achieve the dreams and desires they had always dreamt of doing.
I cannot thank the number of men and women who have served in our armed forces. I had the pleasure of interviewing others, and I appreciate the help they gave to this article along with Mr. Tierney, Stone, and Ms. Caloia. It was an honor to speak with them, and share their stories with all who read this blog. Thanks.