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Archive for Thursday, February 7, 2008

KU to offer program for war wounded

Soldiers will be able to earn master’s degrees while serving in Army

February 7, 2008

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KU Chancellor Robert Hemenway talks with wounded soldiers Wednesday at Fort Leavenworth. A new program will allow wounded soldiers to earn their master's degrees while remaining in the Army.

KU Chancellor Robert Hemenway talks with wounded soldiers Wednesday at Fort Leavenworth. A new program will allow wounded soldiers to earn their master's degrees while remaining in the Army.

Secretary of the Army Pete Geren addresses the crowd of soldiers gathered Wednesday, Feb. 6, 2008 in the Eisenhower Auditorium of the Lewis and Clark Center at Fort Leavenworth.

Secretary of the Army Pete Geren addresses the crowd of soldiers gathered Wednesday, Feb. 6, 2008 in the Eisenhower Auditorium of the Lewis and Clark Center at Fort Leavenworth.

— In just five months, an idea to offer wounded soldiers the chance to obtain advanced degrees at Kansas University moved from concept to reality.

During a ceremony Wednesday at Fort Leavenworth, KU Chancellor Robert Hemenway and U.S. Army Secretary Pete Geren announced the first eight soldiers who would be eligible to receive master's degrees at KU, in exchange for agreeing to serve a few more years in the Army. All eight were wounded in combat; some of them lost eyes, while others lost legs.

"Kansas University and the Army have a partnership that goes back decades," Geren said. "It's a great partnership for both institutions."

Geren expressed surprise that KU and the Army could successfully navigate their extensive bureaucracies to bring the program, the Wounded Warrior Education Initiative, together so quickly. Under a framework announced Wednesday, the eight current and former soldiers will be able to enroll in master's level courses at KU, likely as early as next fall.

The soldiers will pay in-state tuition, covered by the Army, and will be enrolled full time. For every 12 months of education the Army covers, the soldiers will be responsible for three years of active service, often as military college instructors. Those soldiers who have retired, often because of their injuries, will be employed by the Army as civilians for three years for every 12 months of education they receive.

"For those of us at the University of Kansas, it's a privilege and a pleasure to be a partner with the Army in this new program," Hemenway said.

The KU program will serve as a pilot for other universities across the country. It was established about 12 months after a scandal embroiled the Walter Reed Army Medical Center, when it was discovered that wounded veterans were often not getting the care they needed.

The education program, Geren said, was born in part out of the Army's response to that scandal.

"If there's a silver lining in the dark cloud of that incident, it's the awareness of the needs of our wounded warriors that has developed," Geren said. "It was a tragedy for the Army, but some good has now come of it."

The program was conceived by people already working to promote the relationship between KU and Fort Leavenworth's Command and General Staff College, according to KU instructor and former Ambassador to Thailand David Lambertson.

In September, Hemenway took the proposal to Defense Secretary Robert Gates, Hemenway's friend from Gates' days as leader of Texas A&M University. Hemenway left Washington with the knowledge that the Army was committed to the program.

For now, the program will be restricted to eight members, but it could grow.

Participant Capt. Gates Brown, a soldier already stationed at Fort Leavenworth, said he was "pretty overwhelmed" by the opportunity. After completing a degree in military history, Brown hopes to remain at Fort Leavenworth as an instructor.

"I want to go to school and get a better understanding of counter-insurgency and how we've fought it in the past and how we'll fight it in the future," he said.

First class

Seven men and one woman will be in the first Wounded Warrior Education Initiative class at Kansas University. The eight soldiers are:

  • Capt. Michael Reynolds, currently of Fort Collins, Colo., who will study history or anthropology.
  • 1st Lt. Jason Gladney, retired to Pismo Beach, Calif., who will study to return to teaching.
  • Staff Sgt. Thomas Davis, Reading, Mich., who will study information technology management.
  • Spc. Michael Hogg, retired to Richardson, Texas, who will study history.
  • Capt. Gates Brown, Shawnee, who will study history.
  • Capt. Kristin Facer, Fort Carson, Colo., who will study cultural anthropology or supply chain management.
  • Capt. Tim Hornik, Fort Hood, Texas, who will study social welfare.
  • Capt. Wesley Fine, retired to Waimanalo, Hawaii, who will study international studies.

Comments

klthompson1 6 years, 1 month ago

Akuna---you're mistaken if you think this is a ploy to get people to join the army. If you read the article thoroughly, and took a minute to absorb rather than passing judgement because of your views on the war, you saw this is a "Wounded Warrior Initiative"---a wonderful program for current and past or retired soldiers who have been injured, to provide them support and enable them to obtain their degrees. As the article states: "For every 12 months of education the Army covers, the soldiers will be responsible for three years of active service, often as military college instructors. Those soldiers who have retired, often because of their injuries, will be employed by the Army as civilians for three years for every 12 months of education they receive." This allows these brave and dedicated soldiers who have been injured serving our country, the opportunity to continue to serve the military in another capacity (not fighting on the front lines), in turn for an education that will continue to serve them after their military service has ended. Good for KU!

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georgeofwesternkansas 6 years, 2 months ago

The VA is a perfect point of refrence to the government run health care, Lets all sign up for universal care and receive the same treatment we so generousley provide our brave troops.

Don't forget ""we the people" are the government.

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madmike 6 years, 2 months ago

I doubt that you could cut it in the military, Akuna.

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pilch 6 years, 2 months ago

I agree about being screwed by the VA. I am going through their crap red tape now. Whether right or wrong on the whole war we cant forget about he service these people have performed. I can attest that things are not as they seem by having been there. I can sat that I and my team spent most of our time building and helping rather than hurting.

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Newell_Post 6 years, 2 months ago

I think this sounds wonderful. If somebody isn't interested in staying "in," then fine. Just ignore it. However, there are people who want to say in the military but might otherwise need to leave. This allows them to get a better education and pursue a career, if they choose to do so. Also, military personnel typically remain on benefits while in college. It could be worse.

I am reminded of some of the opening lines of Lawrence of Arabia, when Lawrence is working in a basement room drawing maps with a Sergeant named Hartley:

T.E. Lawrence: Michael George Hartley, this is a nasty, dark little room.

Hartley: That's right.

T.E. Lawrence: We are not happy in it.

Hartley: It's better than a nasty, dark little trench.

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Paul R Getto 6 years, 2 months ago

Good move, but not enough help for our brave soldiers getting ground up in a pointless occupation and being regularly screwed by the Veteran's Administration.

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akuna 6 years, 2 months ago

Wow. 1 year of education for 3 years of service. To get a masters degree would mean that you to spend a minimum of 6 years in the army plus the time to get the degree. I'd rather get a job at UPS where they give you money for college tuition. They might not pay for everything, but at least you don't have to serve under a dipwad commander and chief nor do you have the same chance of injuring or killing yourself.

KU helping people make stupid decisions.

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its_getting_warmer 6 years, 2 months ago

"I want to go to school and get a better understanding of counter-insurgency and how we've fought it in the past and how we'll fight it in the future," he said.


I guess that means he wants to read about Lawrence history and go to KU-MU games.

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