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The University of Texas at Austin

Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs

UT Veterans Share War Experiences

Hate Free Week begins with speakers' stories of service in military

The Daily Texan, January 25, 2007

Six voices unveiled their moving and real experiences of war as they addressed fellow veterans, students and faculty at an open dialogue titled "What is a Veteran at UT?" Wednesday.

Student Government and the Student Veterans Affairs Agency organized the first event of the Keep UT Hate Free Week. The panelists shared their challenges and triumphs as they reached out to diversify the audience.

Howard Prince

Serving in the U.S. Army, Howard Prince witnessed major events and policy changes.

"I was a cadet when the Berlin Wall went up, the Cuban Missile Crisis was the next year, and I was a young officer when Kennedy was assassinated."

Prince, the director of the Lyndon B. Johnson School's Center for Ethical Leadership, developed the first undergraduate leadership program in the world at the University of Richmond's Jepson School of Leadership Studies. He served more than 28 years in the Army, holding a variety of positions before joining the permanent faculty at West Point. Prince has a master's degree from American University and received his Ph.D. in psychology from UT.

Veterans Jefferson D. Howell Jr., Howard Prince, Starr Corbin, Kevin Robinson and Trampes Crow sit as the panel at the "What is a Veteran at UT?" event Wednesday night in the Texas Union. The students and faculty told stories of their wartime experience and life after, followed by questions from the audience.

Starr-Renee Corbin

For Starr-Renee Corbin, serving in Iraq became more than just a duty.

"For myself, my husband and my son, Iraq has become a milestone defining our lives as before Iraq and after Iraq."

Corbin, a second-year graduate student in the Department of Women's and Gender Studies, is the co-founder and outreach coordinator of the Student Veteran's Association. She served five years as an Army signal officer out of Fort Hood, Texas and a year with the First Cavalry Division in Baghdad, Iraq. Through this event, Corbin wants to provide a firsthand account of the personality and people involved in war.

Jefferson D. Howell Jr.

Jefferson D. Howell Jr. described himself as the real life personification of Forrest Gump.

After 37 years of active duty with the Marine Corps, Howell wakes up every morning saying, "It's great to be alive and be at UT."

Howell, a former fighter pilot and Marine Corp lieutenant general, is a visiting professor at the LBJ School of Public Affairs. He flew jet fighters up until the day he retired and was transferred over 27 times, serving two tours in the Republic of Vietnam. He recalls a time when he had lunch in the middle of the desert with King Hussein of Jordan. Howell has also held a senior vice president position with the Science Applications International Corporation and been the director of the NASA Johnson Space Center.

Trampes Crow

Studying, working and living in Egypt, Iraq, Kuwait, Qatar and Afghanistan, Trampes Crow is an expert in Middle East and Arab-Islamic culture.

"There were great days and tragic ones, but the experience was overwhelmingly positive."

Crow is a final-year graduate student and works as a special assistant to the dean of operations at the LBJ School of Public Affairs. He is a teaching assistant for the Modern American Political Campaigns course. In nine years of military service, Crow served as captain and was recognized for his writings and service as a special operations civil affairs officer. His first combat tour was in Iraq and his last was in Afghanistan. Crow is a distinguished military graduate of Auburn University. While in Iraq Crow also co-founded the International Children's Drive.

Kevin Robinson

After witnessing Iraqis live among waste and raw sewage, Kevin Robinson says that his experiences in Baghdad have taught him to never take things for granted.

"In our country there are many who have never interacted with people in the military. I hope this gives them a better picture of what we are like."

Robinson is working on a master's degree in business administration at the McCombs School of Business at UT. He served in the U.S. Army as an infantry officer in Fort Hood, Texas and was deployed to Baghdad from March of 2004 to February of 2005. He attended the U.S. Military Academy and received a bachelor's degree in computer science. Robinson served over six years of active duty in addition to his four years at the academy.

Timothy Riley

Timothy Riley smiled as he recalled his experience with the small pox vaccination.

"It's one of those things they don't show you in commercials. We had to get these vaccinations before traveling, and they would leave this huge red splotch on your shoulder which you weren't allowed to touch. It was so interesting to see these 200 or so people showering in barracks all trying not to touch another's shoulder." Riley is a graduate student at the LBJ School of Public Affairs. He served seven years in the Army in military intelligence and later enlisted for civil affairs in Afghanistan after receiving his degree. He holds a bachelor's degree in Spanish and psychology from UT.

Copyright 2007 The Daily Texan