In honor of Veterans Day, University of Maryland University College Europe held an event to recognize staff and faculty members who served in the military and now work at UMUC sites across Europe and the Middle East. More than 20 veterans from all branches of service, ranging in age from 30 to 55, participated. Members who once served as pilots, tankers, mechanics, and recruiters, both officer and enlisted, have since traded in their military skills to find success in the civilian workplace.
“It’s fantastic to see the legacy of service and dedication among our staff and faculty,” said Robert Loynd, associate vice president and deputy director at UMUC Europe. “I’m proud to take part in this event that honors our own, while also enlightening others of the multiple sacrifices that were made. The oath of service we took holds significant meaning, and I know each of us would do it again.”
Loynd himself is a recently retired veteran who flew the EA-6B Prowler with the U.S. Marine Corps before taking a position with UMUC Europe.
John Prince, a Vietnam War veteran, traveled from Darmstadt, Germany, with his wife to be the keynote speaker at the event. Prince went to Vietnam in 1969 as a member of the 101st Airborne Division, 2/506th Infantry Division. As a young man, he saw combat while deployed to the Demilitarized Zone. His story brought many in attendance to tears, as it was only his second time speaking to an audience about the personal and professional struggles that followed him home once the war was over.
“He helped our veterans by coming here today and discussing what he has been through,” said Angela Messing, senior enrollment and records specialist at UMUC Europe and one of the event organizers. She shares a strong appreciation for veterans, as both her father and grandfather served in the military.
Prince retired in 1991 as a master sergeant promotable after 22 years in the U.S. Army. He and his wife now split their time between Germany and New York. Next year he plans to visit the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C., for the first time.
Roy E. Miller, headquarters operations specialist for UMUC Europe, wrote a poem honoring veterans that was presented at the event. Roy was a sergeant with the U.S. Army and retired honorably after 23 years of service.
By many of you, we are thought of once a year.
But for those who have lived it, every day is so dear.
We come in all colors, races and creed.
But when we don our uniform, we become Family.
We must often travel far and lose track of time.
But when we needed support, we looked to our loved ones left behind.
What we have done often changes people’s lives,
We have seen this ourselves, with our tired, weary eyes.
It is a burden for many, but only carried by few.
For the freedoms we enjoy, and the Red, White and Blue.
We ask for no thanks, nor for any recognition.
For we are VETERANS, we have completed our mission.
UMUC has deep roots with the military. More than 66 years ago, the university was invited by the Armed Forces to offer courses to servicemembers stationed abroad. UMUC was the first U.S. university to offer courses at military bases overseas, the first to send faculty to teach in war zones, and the first to confer bachelor’s degrees at U.S. military installations in Europe and Asia.