In the first issue of Knox Magazine, published in October 1917, a listing of all of the Knox alumni serving in the armed forces during World War I was featured in the magazine's opening pages.
Appropriately titled "Knox College Goes to War," the article stated: "As was to be confidently expected, the students and alumni of Knox College have responded promptly and generously to the call of the country for men for military service." Since that time, hundreds of Knox alumni -- both men and women -- have "promptly and generously" served their country during World War II, the Korean War, Vietnam, Operation Desert Storm, Operation Iraqi Freedom, and other military exercises.
Knox Magazine contacted Knox alumni currently serving in the armed forces. We are pleased to share their stories with you here:
Major Julian Bond '91
Major Julian Bond graduated from Knox College in 1991 -- Knox's last ROTC commissioning class -- with a major in anthropology/sociology. He has accumulated more than 16 years in the U.S. Army; has served throughout the United States; and has been deployed to Korea, Japan, Germany, Kuwait, and Ukraine. Major Bond is currently serving in Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom, where he is stationed at Camp Taji (Jewel), located north of Baghdad. He is the task force commander for a multifunctional combat logistic support unit consisting of 170 soldiers. His primary mission is providing force protection security for combat logistic patrols and transporting petroleum products in support of the Army's 4th Infantry, 101st Air Assault, and 10th Mountain Brigade Combat Teams.
Major Bond on serving in Iraq:
"Pursuing a career in the military has been rewarding and has included the opportunity to see first-hand historical events, most recently, the elections in Iraq. The opportunity to see both men and women vote and have a say in the political process is an event that cannot be captured in a newspaper, picture, or talk show.
The one gesture that requires no translation is the "smile." The smiles that are brought to the faces of an Iraqi child crosses all political and religious boundaries; helping a needy family and securing newly discovered freedoms makes my deployment bearable.
My current assignment is 11 months and some change. The task force that I command is comprised of Traditionalists, Baby Boomers, and Generation X'ers. Their backgrounds stretch the gamut of social,
economic, and political backgrounds. The one common thread between all of us is the opportunity to serve sacrificially for the benefit of others. 'Service to others' was originally introduced to me at Knox College, and I believe the exposure to international students that I had at Knox provided me with an initial opportunity to make friends with people from all over the world.
I do not know what my future holds for additional deployments; however, I look forward to returning home to my wife of 13 years and my four kids. . . . I was awarded the Bronze Star for meritorious service in a combat zone. But, again, the most impacting awards I have received are the smiles of the Iraqi people, especially the children, and my work with the people of Iraq."
Lieutenant Nick Stojanovich '00
Lieutenant Nick Stojanovich graduated from Knox College in 2000 with a double major in mathematics and physics. He joined the U.S. Navy in 2002 and trained as a submarine warfare officer, spending three years on the USS Cheyenne, a fast-attack submarine stationed in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. In September 2004, he reported to duty of the U.S. Naval Forces Central Command/Commander U.S. Fifth Fleet in Manama, Bahrain. His primary duty is as the assistant Tomahawk operations officer, where he is in charge of keeping Naval forces ready to conduct cruise missile strikes. He is also part of a watch rotation through the Fleet Command Center, where Naval operations of U.S. and Coalition forces throughout the Middle East are continuously monitored and directed.
Sergeant John Doyle '02
Sergeant John Doyle graduated from Knox in June 2002 with a major in computer science. He joined the United States Army in July 2003, with the goal of becoming a member of the Army Special Forces, or the Green Berets, which he accomplished in February 2006. Sgt. Doyle is currently a member of the 5th Special Forces Group (Airborne) based in Fort Campbell, Kentucky.
Sgt. Doyle on why he joined the military:
"On the morning of September 11, 2001, I was stumbling bleary-eyed to a class in SMC and overheard someone say that a plane had crashed into the World Trade Center. I stood in a classroom and watched the rest of the day's events unfold on a projector. I seriously considered visiting the recruiter the next day to join the military, worried that a large-scale war might break out before our eyes. But I was already well into my senior year, and I had a good start on my honors project, and no war broke out. I decided to wait until I graduated.
Fast forward a little more than a year. My plans to join the military had faded, and I had applied to law schools. I was in the process of waiting for acceptance/rejection letters when the war in Iraq began. Two things quickly became clear to me as I watched the early stages of Operation Iraqi Freedom. First, I realized that I truly love our country and believe in the principles it was founded on. In any conflict, regardless of the circumstances, I know which side I'm on. Second, I found that I was not comfortable watching my peers fight and die on TV while I sat home doing nothing to help. I talked to the local recruiter and decided to join, not as an officer, but as an enlisted soldier in the 18X Program -- a program that allows men joining the Army a guaranteed opportunity to try out for and, if successful, complete all of the training necessary to join the ranks of the Army Special Forces. When it came time to sign the final paperwork, I had the pen in one hand and an acceptance letter with a scholarship offer from a good law school in the other (ok, maybe not literally in my hand). I signed.
I reported for duty on July 10th, 2003 -- Basic Training and Airborne School at Fort Benning, Georgia, followed by Special Forces Assessment and Selection and the Special Forces Qualification Course (Q-course) -- all of the training that must be completed to wear the Green Beret -- at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. Aside from the common training we all received in the Q-course. . . I also specialized in radio and computer communications and learned Arabic. The training was very long and sometimes very difficult.
Since graduating the Q-course, I have been assigned to 5th Special Forces Group (Airborne) at Fort Campbell, Kentucky. Like all of the Special Forces groups, our mission set includes, but is not limited to, unconventional warfare, foreign internal defense, humanitarian aid, direct action, and special
I am very happy with my decision to join the Army. I am proud to be serving, and I'm proud of the company I keep. I haven't decided yet whether I'll make a career of the military, but I know I will not regret the time I spend in the service."