>>> The News: JAY KAY!
By staff writer Amir Blumenfeld
October 27, 2004

The real news (for boring people)
The breakdown (for college people)

For Ex-GIs, Fitting in on Campus a Struggle

By Aamer Madhani Tribune staff reporter

Lying on the hood of the Humvee he used as his bed for much of the war, Brandon Nordhoff would put on his earphones, turn up the volume on his Discman to drown out battlefield noises, and imagine himself at a party back on the Indiana University campus.

“Brandon take that Discman off we're being attacked! Seriously Brandon, toss me that gun!!! OH MY GOD BRANDON I'M ON FIRE!! STOP LISTENING TO FUCKING MUSIC I CAN'T BREEATHHHEEE!!!” his fellow soldier once said.

After one such dream, Nordhoff determined that when he returned to campus, he would pledge a fraternity and make up for the social life he lost while deployed with his Indianapolis-based Marine reserve unit.

“I wanna get a shirt that says ‘Support This.' And then an arrow down to my dick.”

He pledged to pledge? How terrific. Translation: “I've got 8 months worth of beejays to catch up on.”

He has made up for lost time with his social life, but for Nordhoff and many of the thousands of Iraq war veterans, the transition from war zone to campus hasn't gone smoothly. They acknowledge they struggle to mend war wounds, mental and physical, while trying to readjust to the relative triviality of life as a student.

Cut to: Bell going off before class, Nordhoff hits the deck and begins shivering uncontrollably.

As the oldest pledge in this year's Acacia fraternity class, Nordhoff, 21, often feels awkward. Partying while many of his Marine buddies are still in Iraq now seems frivolous. And the occasional war protest on campus can make him furious.

Frivolous AND furious?! Well I think you've cornered the market on words that start with F and end with OUS eh?! Ahahaha.

“Going to war changes you,” said the corporal, a junior from Kirksville, Ind., a small farming community near Bloomington. “I feel 200 percent different than the people in Bloomington and a lot of the kids at the university.”

200 percent huh? I hope he's not a STAT major. ‘Cause that's impossible. 100 is the most percent.

In the first few weeks of the school year, veterans affairs officers at campuses throughout the Midwest have reported being inundated with soldier-students looking for help collecting their education benefits under the Montgomery GI Bill.

Okay good, as long as they're not going for PRIDE.

The officers can help them straighten out their benefits, but universities have no one designated to help the GIs with the transition from battlefield to classroom.

They need a UN-drill counselor to get them to relax again. “ALRIGHT MAGGOT, NOW DON'T DROP AND GIVE ME FIFTY! I WANT YOU TO JUST SIT THERE AND PAY ATTENTION!!! UMM…MAGGOT….”

Although the Iraq war hasn't generated the unrest on campuses that the Vietnam War brought in the 1960s and 1970s, divided opinion on the current conflict is obvious. Some returning soldiers complain that their classmates and professors often have a shallow view of the war and that they don't show enough support for the troops.

I wanna get a shirt that says “Support This.” And then an arrow down to my dick. But then I want to get a tattoo that says TROOPS on my dick. So it's all good.

“Inevitably in classes, you have these kids who criticize the war and criticize the president and don't know what they're talking about,” said Cpl. Daniel Rhodes, a Marine reservist from west suburban La Grange and a senior in political science at the University of Illinois in Champaign. “I want to say to them, ‘Do you realize that you're sitting here in a classroom, living freely, because we're willing to fight?'”

Kids please, please…you're BOTH wrong.

Other veterans have returned to campus with doubts about the necessity of the war in Iraq. From lectures in his Chinese history class about how emperors sold war to their people, to a local business' toy-soldier display representing Americans who have died in combat, Bradley Rehak, a senior at the University of Iowa, said he is constantly reminded of the war.

Get over it dude, it's been like three days. It's called MOVING ON! Hahahah am I right?! JESUS CHRIST!!! Was that a gun?! I think I just heard a gunshot! Oh no…hahah my bad it was just my roommate opening a can of coke. FEWF! I need to take five days off work.

“We can say that we got rid of a terrible dictator by going to war,” said Rehak, 24, a medic with the Iowa National Guard. “The argument misses the far greater points that we haven't found that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction and we haven't found links between Al Qaeda and Iraq.”

Here's a link between Al Quaeda and Iraq: BeingFamous.com. At least alphabetically!

Steve Asche, 24, another student at Illinois and a veteran of the Iraq war, echoes many of the criticisms from war opponents on his campusthe astronomical cost to fight, the loss of American and Iraqi lives, and what he sees as questionable planning by the architects of the war. Still, it angers him when he sees classmates make sweeping criticisms of the war, which he said belittle the sacrifice he and other soldiers made.

It's not ASTRONOMICAL. How much does a star cost? 50 million? 100 million?! Doesn't matter I guess. SO! Lunar eclipse tonight…WHO'S PSYCHED!

(Please note: This article was written during the lunar eclipse, any jokes or references made to a lunar eclipse have been made in a timely fashion and shouldn't be considered “old jokes.” For more information on comedy please check out your local library book.)