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2017 News Landing Zone Training
October 24, 2017 : Landing Zone Veteran Training


Last week eight Ohio University Chillicothe faculty and staff members increased their knowledge regarding student veterans at Landing Zone Training.  Taught by David Edwards, Director of the Brigadier General James M Abraham-Colonel Arlene F. Greenfield Veterans and Military Student Services Center at Ohio University, this five “zone” training covered a variety of issues that veteran students face and how campus personnel can recognize and assist students through their academic and personal needs. Landing Zone Training is just one service offered by the Veterans and Military Student Services Center and is one of the reasons why OU has been recognized as a “Military Friendly Institution” for the last six years. 

During the training, each zone discussed a different theme that is important for faculty and staff to understand when working with veteran students.  Zone 1 covered military basics-acronyms, training, and a breakdown of each branch of the military.  Zone 3 included the different types of educational benefits offered to veterans.  Leanna Ater, Records Management Specialist in Financial Aid, found Zone 3 especially informative.  “While our financial aid office does not work directly with veteran benefits, typically many veterans first bring their financial questions to our office,” Leanna stated.  “It is helpful to have an understanding of what benefits these students are receiving to better advise them.”  Zone 4 covered the mental health issues that affect some veterans upon return from deployment and military related activities.  Edwards stressed that there are many myths surrounding the mental health of veterans and all student veterans must not be grouped in the same mental health box.  While some veterans will experience difficulties such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or traumatic brain injury (TBI) not all veterans receive these or any diagnoses.  Zone 5 regarded resources for student veterans to readjust into civilian life, connect with other veterans, and find treatment, if treatment is needed.  Chillicothe is fortunate to have the Chillicothe VA Medical Center locally that can provide assistance for these and other issues veterans may face.

Arguably the most enlightening portion of the training was Zone 2.  Two student veterans joined the group to discuss military culture and what it is like to be a veteran and a student at OUC.  Veterans Service work-study student and Marine veteran Josh Reisinger spoke about his experience in the Marines, and his path to higher education.  One consistent theme that both he and Army veteran and current student Josh Jones discussed was their desire to fit in with peers while at school.  As both Jones and Reisinger discussed, the training and the experience often had by veterans is vastly different from students without that experience.  Student veterans may find themselves restless as the pace of their new student lifestyle may be much slower than the pace in which they functioned while on active duty.  Veterans are often trained to react, communicate, and maintain a state of awareness that is very different from how civilians operate.  This difference can come into play in the classroom when interacting with peers.  When asked how OUC faculty and staff could best support him and other students, Reisinger replied, “Show interest in us.  Make a point to say hi.  Please ask about our military service.  Many of us are happy to discuss our unit, our military jobs, and the places we were stationed.”  Both Jones and Reisinger indicated that by extending an offer of conversation, OUC and faculty and staff can help student veterans with their desire to become a stronger part of the campus community.

Participants in Landing Zone training found this experience to be quite valuable.  “This improves our ability to understand and connect with student veterans,” said John Fisher, OUC Director of Student Services.  Those faculty and staff members who attended the training can be identified by a Landing Zone button and placard near or in their offices.  The OUC Veterans Services office, located in the lower floor of Bennett Hall, is happy to help all veteran students including students who are using a spouse’s or parent’s educational benefits.  OUC is proud to be a veteran friendly branch of Ohio University.