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Veterans

Fred Kamaka (left) with his brother Sam Kamaka Jr. Photo Tommy Shih
Spring 2017

Sweet strumming

Leaning back against a wall mounted with a variety of ukuleles, Fred Kamaka begins the story of his family’s 100-year-old ukulele business for a tour group at the factory in Honolulu.

“To be cool in the ’20s, you needed to have a coonskin cap and a uke in hand,” he says, “So my father started making ukuleles.”

A spry 91-year-old, Fred sprinkles the history with dry jokes, and periodically pulls down one of the ukuleles to musically punctuate a point.

His father, professional musician Samuel Kamaka Sr., traveled to New York and Europe and learned the luthier’s art before he returned to Hawai‘i and began … » More …

Winter 2016

When Jermiha marched home

Military homecoming is usually a time of immense joy and relief, but for many veterans the weeks that follow are daunting. Each month in Washington state alone, 1,000 service members transition from active duty to civilian life—moving from a structured, often traumatic environment into the looser routines of home. Along the way come unexpected challenges, especially when returning to college or entering the job market.

Jermiha White ’16 served eight and a half years as an Army cavalry scout on the front lines of Iraq and Afghanistan. As a combat veteran, White began experiencing anxiety when he enrolled as a student at Washington State University … » More …

Winter 2016

The currency of challenge coins

Rooted in World War I lore, and popularized with dramatic references in books and TV shows, military challenge coins have become a powerful symbol of camaraderie and support.

Beginning this spring, they also will help recognize the sacrifice and determination of student veterans at Washington State University. The newly minted WSU challenge coins will be handed out to all graduating veterans, and to faculty and staff with military service.

“This was one of our first projects,” says WSU Veterans Coordinator Blaine Golden, noting the expanded student Veterans Center opened in 2014. “We wanted something that would show veterans we value their contributions…and are proud … » More …

veterans’ monument at WSU Tri-Cities
Summer 2013

Soldiering on

The newest landmark on the WSU Tri-Cities campus is a sculpture of an open book with pages floating up from it to the sky. The bronze, titled Stories, is a statement for the military veterans who come to study at Tri-Cities.

What better way to show that there’s a place for them? And what better way to show the community that we’re here? asks Erick Flieger, the campus Vet Corps representative and one of around 130 military veterans attending WSU Tri-Cities last semester.

In the two years since campus leaders pledged to become a veteran-supportive campus, the school has increased its resources to accommodate veteran … » More …

Matthew Heatherly
Spring 2013

Matthew Heatherly ’12—Serving and learning

When he graduated from Stadium High School in Tacoma in 1990, Matthew Heatherly decided to delay his college education in order to enlist and serve his country. He spent twenty years in the U.S. Army and in 2010 retired as a first sergeant.

But an end to active duty didn’t mean an end to his Army life. He has since become an operations manager at the Western Regional Medical Command on Joint Base Lewis-McChord. The Madigan Healthcare System based there serves 130,000 active duty service members. Heatherly’s job is to help plan medical care for active-duty troops in the western United States, as well as … » More …

Boocoo Dinky Dow
Winter 2012

Boocoo Dinky Dow: My Short, Crazy Vietnam War

Boocoo Dinky Dow

Grady C. Myers and Julie Titone

2012

When the United States was in the thick of the Vietnam War, a legally blind, out of shape young man from Boise volunteered. Grady Myers had been rejected previously because of his physical problems, but the Army of 1968, desperate to fill its ranks, snapped him up and shipped him off to Fort Lewis for basic training. This memoir of Myers’s time in training and then … » More …

Fall 2012

Of Little Comfort: War Widows, Fallen Soldiers, and the Remaking of the Nation after the Great War

of little comfort book cover fall 2012

Erika Kuhlman ’95 PhD
New York University Press, 2012

In World War I, or the Great War, more than nine million combatants died, leaving behind approximately a million and a half widows. The war widows not only mourned their losses, they also faced quandaries about their new post-war roles in Germany, the United States, and other countries embroiled in the conflict. Would they perform as models of national self-sacrifice and … » More …

Fall 2011

A Leonard legacy

Elmer O. Leonard started as a student at Washington State College in 1915. When the call came in 1918, he headed to Europe and the Great War as a soldier. Like a number of other young men, he was killed in combat and never returned to Pullman and the college.

His nephew and namesake Elmer F. Leonard was born a year later. He followed in his uncle’s footsteps to Pullman, enrolling at WSC in 1939, joining the Army and serving in World War II from 1942 to 1946, and eventually graduating from WSC in 1949.

Ever since the first two Elmer Leonards, WSU has been … » More …