U.S. Army Reserves Major Richard Brown ’90 will be the guest speaker at a Veterans Day Ceremony that will be held on Tuesday, Nov. 10. Sponsored by the President’s Office, the ceremony will begin at 3 p.m. in Old Main Brown Auditorium.
The ceremony and the reception immediately following in the Old Main lobby provide an opportunity to thank veterans from the SUNY Cortland faculty, staff, alumni and student bodies, as well as veterans from the Cortland community and surrounding area, for their service. A reception will follow in the Old Main Lobby. Both are free and open to the public.
Vice President of Student Affairs Greg Sharer will be master of ceremony. Gerri Smith, Kinesiology Department, will lead the Pledge of Allegiance. Army ROTC student Todd Staiger, a history major from Dryden, N.Y., will read “What is a Veteran?”
Brown, who joined the military in 1988 and received his Bachelor of Arts in Sociology from SUNY Cortland in 1990, will give a firsthand account of the toll a life in the military takes on the families. An ROTC instructor, he recently returned from his second tour in Iraq since 2004 as a U.S. Army reservist.
“There’s a heightened awareness of the cost to veterans, especially during wartime, but what we fail to recognize is the toll this service takes on the families. Parents worry, spouses worry, children and friends worry. A soldier volunteers for service but the entire family gets drafted. They get pulled into this whether they like it or not.”
Brown has been a soldier for 20 years and has been married for four years. He has a daughter, 12, and a son, 2.
“My time in Iraq was a very long year for my wife,” he says. He left for Iraq on the date of his third wedding anniversary in October 2008. He returned to Cortland in September and began working in early October. In 1999, Brown attended SUNY Cortland to complete his professional semester with Roger Sipher, professor emeritus of history, with the intention of teaching social studies at a New York high school. As he searched for his first teaching job, Brown met the professor of military science at Cornell University. He was immediately hired as one of the ROTC program’s leadership development officers, and has worked as an ROTC instructor at Cornell since 2000.
SUNY Cortland’s ROTC program is in partnership with Cornell University, the host school. The College currently has six cadets enrolled in Air Force and Army programs at Cornell.
SUNY Cortland has about 32 staff members, faculty and emeriti faculty who have identified themselves as serving in the military in some capacity. In addition, nearly 70 students are enrolled through the following military programs:
Montgomery GI Bill - Active Duty Chapter 30: The chapter includes 18 students, 13 male and five female, plus one student who is eligible but is using his New York State Tuition Benefit. Seventeen are undergraduates and two are graduate students.
Montgomery GI Bill - Selected Reserve Chapter 1606: The Selected Reserve includes the Army Reserve, Navy Reserve, Air Force Reserve, Marine Corps Reserve, Coast Guard Reserve, Army National Guard and Air National Guard. Sixteen students, 13 undergraduates and two graduate students, were signed up at the start of the semester. However, one was called to active duty prior to the start of classes. Twelve of the reservists are male and three are female.
Reserve Educational Assistance Program (REAP) Chapter 1607: The REAP program helps qualify certain reservists who were activated for at least 90 days after Sept. 11, 2001, for education benefits or for increased benefits. Currently two male students and one female student attend Cortland through this program. Two are undergraduates and one is a graduate student.
The Post-9/11 GI Bill Chapter 33: This program is for individuals with at least 90 days of aggregate service on or after Sept. 11, 2001, or individuals discharged with a service-connected disability after 30 days. One must have received an honorable discharge to be eligible. The Post-9/11 GI Bill became effective for training on Aug. 1, 2009. The program allows service members, including officers or enlisted personnel, active duty military members or Selected Reservists, to transfer unused education benefits to immediate family such as a spouse and children. The service member must have at least six years of service, and commit to an additional four years of service in order to transfer benefits to a spouse or child.
The College currently has a dozen Chapter 33 participants with three or four more pending Veterans Administration (VA) approval. The 11 undergraduate students and one graduate student include 10 veterans and two dependents of veterans who received a parent’s transferred eligibility.
Chapter 31 (VocRehab): SUNY Cortland currently has one undergraduate and one graduate student in this program, which is also a VA benefit.
Chapter 35 Survivors’ and Dependents’ Educational Assistance Program (DEA): Through this program approximately 16 students receive benefits under a parent who is deceased or disabled.
For more information, contact the President's Office at (607) 753-2201.