In March 2008, thousands of College of Charleston students left campus to enjoy Spring Break. Junior Andrew Smith ‘14 was on a trip, too, except it was no vacation. Quite the opposite, in fact: Smith was on a bus heading to Marine Corps Recruit Depot, Parris Island. He had left college to join the military.
Following basic training at Parris Island, Smith worked to become one of approximately 850 scout snipers in the Marine Corps, able to consistently shoot a 10-inch target from 1,000 yards away. In 2011 he deployed to Afghanistan and began patrols of the countryside, engaging Taliban soldiers often. A few months later, he was severely wounded in a mortar attack, requiring him to be airlifted from combat. He barely survived, but eventually returned to finish his service with the Marines. Upon leaving the military, Smith returned to the College and earned a degree in history.
Like Smith, scores of College alumni, faculty, staff and students have served their country through the military. At least 60 veterans work on campus today. All have made sacrifices, and some have been unfortunate enough to become prisoners of war or severely wounded. On Veterans Day, the College is especially grateful to each of them.