Campus veterans share array of experiences

Bill SchrierIn California, there are more than 1.8 million military veterans who have proudly served their country. Among those 1.8 million, five of Carmel High’s own have served in various branches of the military: Lieutenant Commander William Schrier of the US Navy, Specialist 4th Class Don Perry, Captain Tom Dooner of the US Army, Staff Sergeant Sean Green and Sergeant Parish Taylor of the United States Marine Corps.

Just like these men joined at different times, they also joined for different reasons.

After receiving a Bachelor’s degree from University of Pennsylvania, Cpt. Dooner, now a science teacher, joined the U.S. Army in 1983 after realizing that the Cold War struggle between America and the Soviet Union was something he “did not want to sit on the sidelines for.”

The desire to serve the country was a wish that Lt. Cmdr. Schrier, CHS’ government teacher, also shared since childhood but didn’t enlist until a disillusioning summer experience during law school prompted him to join Navy JAG in 1991.

CHS behavior specialist Taylor, on the other hand, decided to join the Marines in 1980 out of a desire to acquire the discipline he would not have received had he stayed in the rough Miami neighborhood he came from.

Just as the reasons for joining vary endlessly, the possibilities once enlisted are also limitless.

Sean Green“I prevented communist intervention by having the troops entertain themselves,” describes Spc. Perry, one of Carmel High’s campus supervisors. “My entire duty was playing baseball, booking shows. Special services was the umbrella.”

After completing Officer Candidate School, Cpt. Dooner was sent to West Germany. There he was the tactical intelligence officer for an m1 Abrams tank battalion tasked with keeping the border with East Germany secure.

Military servicemen and women make considerable contributions to this country, and in return they take away a host of new skills and perspectives that can last a lifetime.

Marines Sgt. Taylor and Staff Sgt. Green, the computer lab technician, both left the corps with not only discipline and respect, but confidence in themselves.

“If I ever want to know who’s stopping me from doing anything,” Staff Sgt. Green says, “all I have to do is look in the mirror and that’s the guy who’s doing it.”

“You don’t feel like you can ever be defeated,” Sgt. Taylor adds. “They teach us how to achieve everything and overcome it.”

As a JAG officer, Lt. Cmdr. Schrier reentered the civilian world with “much more experience than [his] contemporaries” because of the “responsibility [he] had been given early on.”

And the lessons they learned in the Army gave Cpt. Dooner and Spc. Perry a clear idea of what they wanted to do once they go out.

“My time in the Army proved to me everybody is capable of learning just about everything,” Dooner says, “so teaching seemed like a natural thing for me to try.”

As one generation of veterans transitions into a civilian world, the baton is passed to the next generation and along with it go the lessons of those who have served.

“Be very clear, if you want to go in, that some of the jobs are very hard, and there is not a lot of recognition,” Lt. Cmdr. Schrier says.

Staff Sgt. Green recommends, “Do your research from all the services, and whatever service you join, give it 110% during your enlistments.”

Whether a marine or sailor, enlisted or officer, all veterans give some, but some give all.

-EMMANUEL JIMENEZ