Alumnus gives a first hand account of the conflict in Iraq
Class of 2002 graduate Maria Brenes recalled her experiences in the United States army and about the ongoing war on Iraqi soil to a freshmen Connections class on Thursday, Dec. 8.
Her twin brother, Blair alumni Carlos Brenes, was also stationed in Iraq, but was killed after returning to the United States in a car accident.
Maria Brenes, who is home for two weeks on military leave, discussed the difficulties of fighting in a platoon that was not at full capacity and how many people have died as a result of the decreased strength in the military. "We started at 60 percent strong, and now we're at 50 percent, and we didn't start off with what we needed," she said.
She admitted that many of the people serving in the military try to escape the war by any means possible. "It's not for everybody. A lot of women get pregnant to get out of the military," Brenes said.
Brenes stressed to the students that they should not join the military solely as a means of paying for a higher education. "Don't think for a minute that you have to join the military to go to college because if you have to be in debt for the rest of your life, it's better than this," she said. "They kind of trick you because you get money to go to college when you're in the military, but if you're on active duty, you don't have the time to go."
With the increased level of conflict in Afghanistan and Iraq, Brenes suspects that she will not be released from the military in the near future. "I have another four years left, and I know I will definitely be going [back] to Iraq or Afghanistan," she said.
Adedeji Ogunfolu. Adedeji Ogunfolu is now a senior. Besides working dilligently on the Silver Chips Online staff, he is an extremely enthusiastic musician. He is not ashamed to tell people that he has been to band camp, but he prefers to call it orchestra camp. He has … More »