News

Alumnus, John Gibson’s, Journey into a Combat Engineer’s Traumatic Memories Featured in Wordgathering

As a Marine combat engineer with the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit, John Gibson’s job was to identify improvised explosive devices (IEDs) and mines, place and clear obstacles, lay out concertina wire and build bunkers. This essential, physical and tactile combat zone work not only requires close attention to detail but also an understanding of how the lives of fellow servicemembers rely on your skill. The sights, sounds and intense memories of combat left a deep impression on Gibson ’20, one that he invites others to experience through his immersive art exhibition, “A Sapper’s Abyss.”

You Don’t Surrender: Journal and Memoirs of Don Waful, a World War II POW

Lieutenant Donald R Waful ’37, G’39 kept a journal during part of the “3 Christmases and 3 birthdays” he spent behind enemy lines. Captured by the German army and held captive from 1942-44, Waful recorded details of daily life, diversions the prisoners employed to pass the time, and his burgeoning love for Cassie, the enlisted nurse he’d become engaged to weeks before his capture.Lieutenant Donald R Waful ’37, G’39 kept a journal during part of the “3 Christmases and 3 birthdays” he spent behind enemy lines. Captured by the German army and held captive from 1942-44, Waful recorded details of daily life, diversions the prisoners employed to pass the time, and his burgeoning love for Cassie, the enlisted nurse he’d become engaged to weeks before his capture.

OVMA Staff Member and Military-Connected Alumni Reflects on Her Visit to Pearl Harbor

Growing up in a family where many have served in the Air Force, Army, and Navy, military history is something that intrigues me. Last year, prior to the COVID-19 pandemic arriving in the United States, my husband Ryan (who serves in the Army National Guard) and I visited the islands of Kauai and Oahu in Hawaii. My brother-in-law currently serves active-duty in the Army and was stationed at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam at the time, so he brought us around the base to show us all the history – including the USS Arizona Memorial. I visited the USS Arizona Memorial back in 2001 (prior to 9/11) when my parents, both retired U.S. Air Force veterans, brought me there and I remember how moving it was; however, seeing it 18 years later had a whole new meaning for me.

Hometown Hero: Joseph Hernon

United States Air Force Master Sergeant Joseph Hernon joined the Air Force Reserve in 2004 as to be an Aerospace Maintenance Journeyman in the 439th Airlift Wing, Aircraft Maintenance Squadron. In 2008, Sergeant Hernon crossed trained into his current specialty of Emergency Management assigned to the 174th Attack Wing, Hancock Field, Syracuse. In 2010-2011 he deployed to Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.

Honoring Ernie Davis, Syracuse Alumnus and First African American to Win the Heisman Trophy

While Ernie Davis ’62 attended Syracuse University more than 60 years ago, he remains a campus legend who broke barriers as the first African American to win the Heisman Trophy. While he is known as a football star whose life was cut short by his battle with leukemia, many aren’t aware that Davis has a connection to the military as well. When he wasn’t busy playing football, he was a candidate in the University’s Army ROTC program and was commissioned as a second lieutenant following graduation. Due to his illness, he never got the chance to serve his nation outside of the ROTC program.

Shanon Meeks—Veteran, Military Spouse, Mom, and Syracuse DCP Candidate

Shanon Meeks knows these challenges firsthand. Originally from South Korea, she met her now-husband while he was stationed there. After they married and returned to the U.S., she recalls having difficulty figuring out what she wanted to do for work. “When I first came to the U.S., I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do,” she says. “Even though I spoke English as my second language, it seemed difficult to find opportunities for myself.”