The Student Veterans of America (SVA) kicked off Veterans Awareness Week Nov. 7, giving the College community a bit of insight into what it’s like to be in the line of duty. The veterans conveyed various aspects of the five branches of the U.S. Armed Forces by sharing real-life experiences and showcasing authentic military equipment, including helmets, boots, vests, tents, food packages, machinery, camouflage apparel and more.
A Closer Look at the Five Armed Service Branches
MREs are the military’s main source of food. One MRE is the equivalent to one meal. Nicole Cannon, a member of the U.S. Army from 2007-2016, said a day’s worth of meals would include a total of three MREs. Inside each bag is an entree and an assortment of various food and drink items. MREs are designed to endure harsh conditions to sustain its packaging.
U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Victor Mevo represented his branch of the armed forces at the event. Students gathered around the table as Mevo helped a student try on his official vest, which weighs about 30 pounds. Mevo is on call in the U.S. Air Force as a radio frequency transmissions specialist and is majoring in computer informational technology at the College.
First Sgt. Joshua Bogacz and Staff Sgt. Leonard Blythe hosted the U.S. Army station. Bogacz, a recruiter for the U.S. Army, has been serving the country for over ten years and Blythe for over seven. Bocacz attends SJC’s Weekend College and Blythe is looking to enroll at SJC. The Army’s station consisted of backpacks, helmets, vests, jackets, survival gear and a pull up station for students to attempt.
Philip Gillespie, a student at SJC, ran the U.S. Coast Guard station. Assisted by colleagues Hannah Moore and Michael Salgado, Gillespie showcased two types of wet suits. One suit, when submerged in water, prevents water from reaching the body and is worn under a life vest. The other suit traps water inside the uniform, but allows it to be warmed by a persons body heat. This suit is buoyant and no life vest is needed. The Coast Guard also displayed a bulletproof vest and a portable vacuum that extracts water from flooded ships.
The U.S. Marine Corps table was comprised of various memorabilia, such as a certificate of commendation, photos, a guide book, badges, water bottles, coins, hats and helmets. An SVA fully decorated uniform was also on display.
Student Veteran of America Andrew Giusto, a sophomore at SJC, stood in for the U.S. Navy at the event. Giusto served in the Navy for five years, including time spent in Afghanistan. He presented a wide range of naval equipment, from scuba gear to UDT shorts — an iconic symbol of Naval Special Warfare since World War II.