Traveling Soldiers pursue higher education

Story and photos by Pfc. Lisa A. Cope
139 Mobile Public Affairs Detachment
13th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary) Public Affairs

CONTINGENCY OPERATING LOCATION KALSU, Iraq — Soldiers with the 36th Sustainment Brigade personal security detachment out of Temple, Texas, find time to further their education, despite spending a majority of their time on the road conducting missions.

Cpl. Dawn M. Salazar, a combat medic with the 36th Sust. Bde. PSD, completed a psychology course through Park University out of Parkville, Mo., and is taking two more sociology courses to earn a degree in nursing.

Salazar, an El Paso, Texas, native, said Park University is convenient for her because it offers courses on base, the semesters are only eight weeks long and the school is paid for by the Army's tuition assistance program. She said it can be difficult to stay focused on her studies, however, because she likes to play cards with fellow Soldiers on her down time.

The amount of travel required by her job makes it more difficult to access the Internet or find the time to keep up in her courses, said Salazar, but her leadership supports her educational goals and helps her achieve them.

"I had to reschedule an exam twice, on top of waiting until the last minute to do the paper but (Staff Sgt. McArthur W. Jones, Jr.) has been good about it, too," she said. "He let me stay back on one mission so I could get the paper done."

Jones, the noncommissioned officer in charge of the 36th Sust. Bde. PSD, said he supports the Soldiers on his team who pursue a higher education, and is enrolled in a Fundamental Academic Skills Training course to improve his general technical and overall armed services vocational aptitude battery scores.

This will help him advance his military career, said Jones, a Fort Worth, Texas, native.

He said some of his Soldiers have also taken correspondence courses, and never negatively affected the mission.

"My Soldiers are outstanding," said Jones. "They can continue on with their education and the mission at the same time. It has never been a problem.

"I encourage all of my Soldiers to continue their education."


news photo
Cpl. Dawn M. Salazar, a combat medic with the 36th Sustainment Brigade personal security detachment and an El Paso, Texas, native, gets caught up on her schoolwork during a break in mission Jan. 8 at Contingency Operating Location Kalsu, Iraq.
(U.S. Army photo by: Pfc. Lisa A. Cope)