A Common Bond of Service

Veterans in the Tufts community—faculty, staff, students, and alumni—talk about what being in the armed services means to them
Andrea Goldstein in military gear
Military service “made the world a lot smaller,” said Andrea Goldstein, F18. “My time working with allies has made me truly appreciate our diplomatic relationships.” Photo: Courtesy of Andrea Goldstein
November 6, 2018

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It’s easy, in the rush of daily life, to let a holiday like Veterans Day slip by without much thought. But for many veterans, it’s a reminder of the time they spent in the armed services, and it’s a good reminder for the rest of us of the Americans who have served in the military.

At Tufts, there are veterans all around us—faculty, staff, students, and alumni—though we might not realize it. To give them a voice, Tufts Now reached out to a few, who told us their stories. They are young and old, male and female, and speak of the positive influence their service had on their lives.

Speaking of his time in the Army, Sean Majoy, a clinical assistant professor at Cummings School who served twelve years in the U.S. Army Veterinary Corps, said that “in this era of immense political divide, it is refreshing to be part of a team or unit with diverse backgrounds and viewpoints that can immediately put all differences aside to work selflessly for a common goal.”

If you are a Tufts veteran, and would like to be included next year, write to us at now@tufts.edu.

Andrea N. Goldstein, F18, chief executive officer of Service to School, senior columnist for Task & Purpose, and lieutenant in the U.S. Navy Reserve

Andrea Goldstein served in the U.S. Navy as an intelligence officer on active duty from 2009 to 2016. Since then, she has been on selected reserve. She graduated in May with a Master of Arts in Law and Diplomacy.

Why did you join the service?

It was a calling that I knew I would be unable to shake unless I did it. I feel deeply fortunate to have been born in the United States, and there are opportunities available to me because my family immigrated here. I wanted to pay that forward. There are many ways to serve, but when I joined the Navy at twenty-two, I knew for me personally, that needed to include military service. 

Has your military service influenced your career?

In numerous ways, but I have always stubbornly studied academic topics that people told me were not practical: history and classics (as an undergrad), gender at Fletcher. People with deep military and gender expertise are rare. Those with the kind of operational experience I have are even rarer—as in single digits. Some of the work I do on gender in the national security milieu I simply could not do without prior military experience.

Did service change the way you view the world?

More nuanced, perhaps, but my general approach has always been one of optimism and valuing cross-cultural communication. It’s also made the world a lot smaller. My time working with allies has made me truly appreciate our diplomatic relationships.

Do you do anything to mark Veterans Day?

It’s different every year, but this year I’ll be the keynote speaker at a local Elks event in my hometown in upstate New York, and marching with my American Legion Post in the Veterans Day Parade in Hudson, New York.
 

David M. Hernke, clinical assistant professor at Cummings School and large-animal veterinarian with Tufts Veterinary Field Service

David M. Hernke was a U.S. Army aviation officer from 1996 to 2003, serving as platoon leader, operations officer, and personnel officer in the 2nd Infantry Division, the 11th Aviation Brigade, and the 82nd Airborne Division. He spent eighteen months in the Republic of Korea and six months deployed for Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan.

He followed in a long line of military men in his family. “All my male relatives on both sides of my family served in military, including in World War II and Vietnam,” he said. He went to the U.S. Military Academy—West Point—which “offered an opportunity to serve and get an excellent education.”

Has your military service influenced your career?

It’s hard to draw a straight line from being a UH-60 (Blackhawk) pilot to being a large-animal veterinarian, but the discipline and ability to deal with complex, fluid situations I developed in the military are definitely helpful in my day-to-day work with Tufts Veterinary Field Service.

Did it change the way you view the world?

The military was a great way to meet a diverse group of Americans and work together as a team—and to understand how every member has value and brings unique perspective and abilities. Deployments gave me a greater appreciation for how lucky we are to live in a free, safe country with the opportunities we have.

Do you do anything to mark Veterans Day?

I generally work—cattle and dairymen don’t take holidays.
 

Robert Kasberg, associate dean for admissions and student affairs at the School of Dental Medicine

Robert Kasberg served in the United States Navy from July 1972 to June 1976. He received training first as a hospital corpsman and worked in Portsmouth Naval Hospital for a year as a licensed practical nurse. In 1974, he received orders for Field Medical Service School and was trained as medic. He then served two years with the United States Marine Corps as Navy Corpsman, first in Camp Pendleton, in California, with the Second Marine Division, and then overseas with the Third Marine Division. Although he served during the Vietnam War, he never saw action, and considers himself a Vietnam Era Veteran rather than a Vietnam War Veteran.

Why did you join the service?

As the Vietnam War raged, it appeared to me that men from wealthy families usually avoided the draft and rarely volunteered to serve our country, including far too many of our nation’s current political elite and leaders of business and industry.  For the most part, only the sons of poor and working class families served in Vietnam, either through the draft or by volunteering. This seemed unfair to me. Those who benefited the most from our society shirked the opportunity to serve our country. Because I was not interested in killing anyone, I decided to volunteer for the Navy as a hospital corpsman, so I could serve the country and our troops in a healing capacity.

Has your military service influenced your career?

I was raised in a strictly white and upper middle class Roman Catholic neighborhood and attend parochial schools from K-12. The military service exposed me to the wonderful ethnic, racial, regional, religious, and socio-economic diversity of our country. I have carried my appreciation of our country’s diversity with me throughout my career, and it has motivated me in many of my professional endeavors.

Did it change the way you view the world?

Absolutely! My military experience began the process of broadening my world view, especially in developing a deep respect and great admiration for working class men and women.

Do you do anything to mark Veterans Day?

I remember and pray for those who fell in service for our country.
 

Alexandra King, Arts & Sciences Class of 2021, member of the Resumed Education for Adult Education program  

Alexandra King joined the Navy in 2012 at age nineteen, knowing she wanted to attend the hospital corpsman program; corpsmen are similar to emergency medical technicians. “My grandmother was a nurse, and I had this passion for taking care of people,” she said. After basic training in Illinois and then medical training in San Antonio, she was stationed at the Naval Air Station in Fallon, Nevada, a flight training facility. She helped take care of pilots and their families, and later was transferred to Norfolk, Virginia.

As a hospital corpsman, she was immersed in patient care, working side-by-side with nurses, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, and doctors. “I loved that I was the one who our military personnel turned to for their health care,” she said. She left the service in 2017, and after graduating from Tufts hopes to pursue physician’s assistant school.

Has your military service influenced your career?

The military forces you to grow up in a moment’s notice, without having a second to think about it. I went in at nineteen and was treated like an adult; boot camp is make-it-or-break it in just two months. And I made friends with families who were coping with having loved ones deployed, and serious issues—so I matured a lot rather quickly.

Did your service change the way you view the world?

I often wished that I had stayed in college like my friends; I would have my career by now. But I never would trade the experiences I had or the people I met during my service for a career I would have picked prematurely and that likely would have led to a job that wasn’t a great fit. I’ve learned that there’s more out there than college parties or making a perfect grade, such as standing a twenty-four-hour watch or making a perfect suture.

Do you do anything to mark Veterans Day?

I have a work-study job in the Veteran Services Office of the city of Beverly, Massachusetts, and we carry out a lot of veteran-oriented events—so there is a lot coming up for Veterans Day. Right now, I’m walking the cemeteries of the city to try and be sure all veterans—every single one—is marked with an American flag.
 

Henry Klapholz upon his discharge from the U.S. Army in 1978Henry Klapholz, dean for clinical affairs at Tufts School of Medicine

Henry Klapholz served as a major in the U.S. Army Medical Corps from 1976 to 1978, following his ob/gyn residency. He was stationed at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C., where he was a staff ob/gyn. He was also an assistant professor at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences. He joined the Army under the Berry Plan, a Vietnam War–era program that allowed physicians to finish their specialty training and then enter the service completely trained.

Has your military service influenced your career?

My career was pretty much set when I entered the service, but I was able to appreciate the quality of care available to our soldiers, as well as some of the extra emotional stress they were under. It sensitized me to the need to inquire about military service when taking a patient’s medical history.

Did it change the way you view the world?

It gave me a whole new outlook on the military. During my service, everyone was extraordinarily respectful of his or her fellow soldier, even at the lowest ranks—it was a degree of individual respect that I found rare in the private sector.

Do you do anything to mark Veterans Day?

I must work on Veterans Day, as it is not a hospital holiday. But that’s not a problem—my work is an enjoyable and necessary activity.
 

Gresh Lattimore, F65, F70, FG72, captain in the U.S. Navy, retired

Gresh Lattimore saw active duty from 1966 to 1969 in the Navy, serving two sea duty tours aboard the aircraft carrier USS Coral Sea as assistant legal officer and air transfer officer; he also taught history at the U.S. Naval Academy for a year. He was in the Naval Reserves from 1970 to 1990, serving with the Naval Intelligence groups at Naval Air Station, South Weymouth, Massachusetts, in support of the Fleet Intelligence Center in Norfolk, Virginia. He retired in 1990 aboard the USS Constitution after twenty-three years of total service.

Why did you join the service?

I joined the Navy after admiring the group of naval officers in my first year at The Fletcher School. They had been to sea and done interesting things in their careers. I wanted to do something more than sit behind a desk as a student. This was the time when the war in Vietnam was becoming more heated, late 1964 to early 1965. Nearly everyone I spoke with about joining the Navy said that it would be a waste of my time. It turned out to be one of the best decisions of my life, in conjunction with marrying my wife Nancy Hooker (J66, AG71), whom I met on a blind date.  

Has your military service influenced your career?

The Navy showed me how a large organization functions, how folks work together to accomplish a common mission. In the Intelligence Reserves I commanded a fifty-person unit and saw how “weekend warriors” could support active-duty missions. I also loved the pageantry of Navy ceremonies and associating with patriotic people who were dedicated to serving their country.

Did it change the way you view the world?

Yes. The society we live in and the freedoms we cherish are made possible by the protection the armed services provide us. I experienced the projection of our military might abroad, even though in retrospect it should not have been done. I came to see that the world is not a safe place and that we need our armed forces for the protection of our way of life. The men and women who wear the uniform and represent us worldwide have my deepest respect. 

Do you do anything to mark Veterans Day?

As chair of the alumni special interest group Advocates for Tufts ROTC, I annually help organize the Veterans Day ceremonies at Tufts with the ROTC students. They conduct the Pass the Flag ceremony on the Memorial Steps and then participate in a patriotic assembly at Ballou Hall. This year I will also participate in uniform at Lexington’s Veterans Day ceremony.
 

Colonel Robert D. Loynd, U.S.M.C., retired; director of executive education at The Fletcher School

Robert D. Loynd was a career officer in the United States Marine Corps, first entering USMC Officer Candidate School in June 1985. He was commissioned as a second lieutenant following graduation from Colby College in May 1986. During the course of his military career, he served as a Marine Corps jet pilot, squadron commanding officer, Russian Foreign Area Officer, strategy and policy planner, and military staff member at NATO headquarters. He served around the globe, including the Middle East, Europe, and the Asia-Pacific region. He retired as a colonel in October of 2015.

Why did you join the service?

Quite simply, I wanted to be a U.S. Marine.

Has your military service influenced your career?

After three decades of military service, I am still relatively new to my second career in higher education administration. However, I have discovered that there are many similarities between the two professions, and this has made my transition relatively seamless. The military services put a premium on effective mission accomplishment, team and organizational success, leveraging the strength of a broad and diverse workforce, focus and discipline in planning and execution, and a commitment and dedication to a collective cause or purpose. I’ve found that these are some of the same hallmarks of successful academic institutions, or any organization for that matter, and Tufts University certainly demonstrates these fundamental principles.

Did it change the way you view the world?

Unquestionably, the opportunity to live and serve around the world, experience different cultures, and work collectively with allies and partners in many different countries impacted how I view the world. These experiences expanded my horizons, both literally and figuratively, and influenced my perspectives on many global issues. “Knowing the World,” as we say at The Fletcher School, is the first step in finding pragmatic and effective solutions to our most challenging problems. My military service certainly afforded me that global perspective.

Do you do anything to mark Veterans Day?

I don’t do anything specifically different on Veterans Day. It is an important and symbolic holiday that honors all of our military veterans. For me, not a day goes by that I don’t think about all of our military men and women around the world who are serving our country proudly and with distinction—many in harm’s way. They are America’s finest.
 

Sean Majoy with his sonSean Majoy, clinical assistant professor at Cummings School and an emergency/critical care veterinarian at the Henry and Lois Foster Hospital for Small Animals

Sean Majoy served on active duty in the U.S. Army Veterinary Corps from 2006 to 2017. Currently he’s a reservist with the 422nd Medical Detachment in Rockville, Maryland, a deployable unit capable of fielding a fully operational field hospital for military working dogs.

Army veterinarians have three important jobs, Majoy said. “One, they care for the military working dogs stationed where they are assigned,” he said. “Two, they provide food safety and security for military installations by inspecting and auditing commercial food establishments that sell food and bottled water to the military and work to ensure the commissaries—grocery stores on base—practice safe food-handling techniques. And, three, they run veterinary clinics located on Army bases that serve the pets owned by military families.”

Why did you join the service?

I was a 2003 recipient of the U.S. Army Health Professional Scholarship Program, which paid for three out of four years of veterinary school in return for a service obligation of three years on active duty. Ultimately, I stayed in a little longer than three years! I also come from a military family. My grandparents, great-grandfather, and great-uncles served in World War II, and we have family ties to West Point. The idea of serving my country and being a veterinarian was too good to turn down.

Has your military service influenced your career?

Yes. I gained a great deal of experience caring for military working dogs and have become very fond of German shepherds, Belgian Malinois, and other breeds commonly enlisted to serve our country. In my current job at Tufts, I try to work with working dogs from the local and state police forces as often as I can.

Being in the military also gave me many opportunities to work in leadership positions and effect small, positive changes within the units to which I was assigned. I was able to mentor and teach young soldiers and other Veterinary Corps officers about various aspects of veterinary medicine and help them reach their career goals.

Did service change the way you view the world?

Military service entails working with people from all walks of life. You’ll be assigned to a unit that has men and women from all over the country and from various ethnic and socioeconomic backgrounds. You’ll work with soldiers who come from families who have recently gained American citizenship. You’ll work with other soldiers whose families have a track record of military service extending back four generations or more.

There are very few other professions where you get this kind of exposure to a true cross-sectional representation of America. As a result, you can’t help but develop a fondness and respect for others who may be very different from you, but who have come together with the same purpose of serving our country. In this era of immense political divide, it is refreshing to be part of a team or unit with diverse backgrounds and viewpoints that can immediately put all differences aside to work selflessly for a common goal.

There’s a real sense of brotherhood and sisterhood you develop as a result of military service. I can have a thirty-minute conversation and become fast friends with people I’ve never met—once we realize we both have served. There’s an immense sense of pride that comes with military service as well. You’re part of the one percent of Americans who did it.

Through the military I’ve also had the opportunity to travel the world and lived in Korea for two tours of duty. (The latter tour was accompanied, so I brought my wife and son, who was six months old at the time.) I’ve developed a love and fondness for traveling as a result and cannot wait for my next trip to Asia.

Do you do anything to mark Veterans Day?

I try to thank a veteran and shake their hand if I know they served in the military.
 

Jon Manninen, EG19, master’s student in electrical engineering, member of the Resumed Education for Adult Education program  

Jon Manninen joined the United States Marine Corps after graduating from high school and served from 2002 to 2007, working as a helicopter mechanic, spending most of his time on a flight line or in a hanger.

Why did you join the service?

I joined the Marines for a couple of reasons. In my family, college is kind of an afterthought. A few members of my family have associate degrees, but most of the men in my family worked with their hands. And I was not a good student in high school, so I was looking at other options besides college. I was a senior when the 9/11 attacks occurred, and that made up my mind for me. One of my grandfathers served in the Army during the Korean War, the other in World War II. My father and stepfather served in Vietnam, both in the Army. My uncle, a Marine, served during Operation Desert Storm. I figured it was a family tradition for the men in my family to serve, and that this was my war.

Has your military service influenced your life?

The military taught me the importance of discipline and how to get things done. I learned how important it is, for instance, to do simple things, like showing up on time and completing a task.  The Marine Corps also stresses education and knowledge, and that you can’t avoid problems.  

Did your military service change the way you view the world?

Yes, just from meeting and talking to people from different parts of the country. Different parts of the country are like completely different worlds. I also did a lot of traveling—Thailand, Hong Kong, Singapore, Australia, Japan—and saw how other people lived and talked with them about their values. I spent about two years in Okinawa, and served two tours in Iraq, which turned me against war in general. It’s easy to think you have the world figured out at age eighteen; most people think they do. But the world is much more complicated. Serving for five years in the Marines forced me out of my bubble and into a world I barely knew existed. And I’m grateful for that.

Do you do anything to mark Veterans Day?

I do not do anything to mark Veterans Day. While I appreciate certain restaurants giving free meals to veterans or whatever, I usually don’t partake. I use the day off to be with my family. I did what I did, and I don’t really think anybody owes me anything.
 

Erin Palumbo, left, at a change of command paradeErin Palumbo, associate director of alumni relations and alumni giving for Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine

Erin Palumbo served as a captain in the Air Force, active duty for four years and then three years in the reserves. “I didn’t fly planes, which is pretty much what everyone asks—in fact only four percent of those serving in the Air Force are pilots,” she said. “I had a pretty standard desk job working with personnel issues for most of the time.” She served overseas in Germany for three months, and also spent time in Spain and Costa Rica.

Why did you join the service?

I joined the Air Force as a member of Penn State’s Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC), mostly because I knew I needed a job when I graduated. But I was also lured by the opportunity to travel, and I think family history always lurked in my thoughts. My father was an F-4 backseater (aka navigator) during Vietnam, flying 102 combat missions. He met my mother and married her two weeks later before deploying to Vietnam—quite the love story, really. He later wrote a letter to the people of Laos and Cambodia apologizing for dropping bombs on them, which of course he had been ordered to do. My grandfathers on both sides of my family were also in the military. My maternal grandfather flew Hellcats off aircraft carriers, and my paternal grandfather served in ordinance in the Army; he was part of the D-Day invasion, landing on day five. So probably it was always in my blood.

Has your military service influenced your career?

Yes, in too many ways to count—from believing that “early is on time” to getting hired specifically because I had been an Air Force captain. But the most important way it has influenced my career is less tangible. The Air Force has a core set of values: integrity first, service before self, excellence in all you do. It’s not just words on a paper; the Air Force lives, breathes, and dies by these values—and they become an inseparable part of who you are. It shapes your character and builds a sense of camaraderie and honor in what you do. These core values are with me for the long haul.

Did it change the way you view the world?

My desk job in the Air Force was safe. I never had to stand guard on a street corner or charge the hill. However, on September 11, 2001, I was deployed to Germany, serving in the United States Air Force Europe headquarters—a concrete bunker requiring a top secret clearance and located three stories below ground in Ramstein, Germany. CNN plays on a big screen 24/7 in the command headquarters and 9 a.m. in New York is 3 p.m. in Germany, so everyone was wide awake and watching when CNN started showing a plane hitting the World Trade Tower. Watching the base spring to life was like watching a well-trained warrior prepare for battle. The four-star general was on scene in record time and started rattling off orders to deploy American troops. The place simply came alive with purpose, and it became crystal clear how lucky we are to have a mobile, ready, trained, and equipped military that can immediately respond to an attack. We are safe and secure in America because of our military. Even though I was serving myself at the time, I gained a deeper appreciation for those airmen who would soon be putting themselves in harm’s way, so I could return to America at the end of my deployment and buy a coffee and watch Friends at night knowing we are defended.

What’s the best way to mark Veterans Day?

Thank a veteran!
 

Charles Rankin, professor and interim chair of the Department of Comprehensive Care at the School of Dental Medicine

When he joined the Air Force in 1968, Charles Rankin thought he would be a loadmaster on a C-130 or a weatherman or security policeman—“something macho for a young eighteen year old,” he said. But he was made a dental assistant, and after completing Dental Assisting School at Sheppard Air Force Base in Texas, he volunteered for overseas service, and was assigned to an Air Force station just outside of London. After a year he was reassigned to Ramstein Air Base in West Germany.

In 1972 he left the Air Force and went back to college, and decided to go to dental school. Unable to come up with the $10,000 annual tuition, he got an Air Force sponsored health professional scholarship and rejoined the USAF; he was assigned back to Ramstein Air Base. “It was an amazing experience to working on the other side of the dental chair from the assistant,” he said.

Did your service change the way you view the world?

The military introduced me to men and women from all over the country—it taught me to look at the “core” or the character of a person rather than the color of their skin or where they came from. The Air Force introduced me to a wider range of countries and people.

Do you do anything to mark Veterans Day?

I consider every day Veterans Day. The flag is flown in my front yard every day. When I walk by the Veterans Memorial near Wakefield Square, I still salute those who made the ultimate sacrifice. We can never thank those young people enough. To celebrate this year’s Veterans Day, I’ll be participating in the DAV (Disabled Veterans) 5K walk/run out on Castle Rock in Boston. There will be many TUSDM faculty, staff, and students participating in this event.
 

Laura Ferguson can be reached at laura-ferguson@tufts.edu; Courtney Hollands can be reached at courtney.hollands@tufts.edu; Helene Ragovin can be reached at helene.ragovin@tufts.edu; Genevieve Rajewski can be reached at genevieve.rajewski@tufts.edu; and Heather Stephenson can be reached at heather.stephenson@tufts.edu.

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