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The award-winning news site of Cosumnes River College

The Connection

The award-winning news site of Cosumnes River College

The Connection

Veterans share military experiences in student panel

Emanuel Espinoza
From left, Eugene Dehoney, Brian Bracamontes, Pye Aung and Daniel Bracamontes speak about their military experience at the “Veterans’ Student Panel: Highlighting BIPOC Veterans’ Voices” on Thursday. It was held in the Center for Inclusion and Belonging to honor student veterans.

The Center for Inclusion and Belonging hosted the “Veterans Student Panel: Highlighting BIPOC Veterans’ Voices” on Thursday in honor of Veterans Day with four veterans sharing their experiences in the military and how they transitioned back into civilian life.

This event was organized by the Veterans Resource Center and APIDA HAWKS. Former marine Eugene Dehoney, the VRC’s student personnel assistant, said he talked with APIDA HAWKS director Raul Pasamonte and APIDA HAWKS success coach Jessica Mow about creating events to honor veterans.

“Looking at a collaboration like that, it was a no-brainer to me,” Dehoney said. “It was a great way to show some intersectionality and we decided to put on a student panel to give student veterans an opportunity to voice personal experiences and to embrace Veterans Day.”

Dehoney was one of four panelists for the event. All the veterans discussed their experiences in the military. Closing the panel with a Q&A.

Pye Aung, a 27-year-old information technology major and former marine, talked about how he is still on “military time,” which means that he habitually wakes up early, at 3 or 4 a.m., and uses that time to exercise.

“As a student, the military has actually benefited me because before, I was very introverted,” Aung said. “I wouldn’t be in situations like this where I’m in the front talking. After the military, I am completely fine with raising my hand and asking teachers questions for things I don’t understand.”

Brian Bracamontes, a 28-year-old computer engineering major and former marine, said that events like this bring the student community together. From his personal experience, he said that a lot of veterans’ military experience doesn’t transfer well into the civilian sector and hopefully the government helps out with the transition.

“The US Air Force is one of the best military branches to be in when transferring into the civilian sector,” Bracamontes said. “A lot of things they do, schooling-wise and testing-wise, transfer into a good career but not in other branches.”

Bracamontes said that people learn a lot of life lessons in a short amount of time when in the military.

“In my four years of active duty, I could equate them to two or three decades worth of life experiences within each year,” Bracamontes said.

Daniel Bracamontes, a 29-year-old computer engineering major and veteran and Brian Bracamontes’ brother, said it was scary to share his personal experiences to random people. The Bracamontes brothers were a part of the Taco Tuesday event that was held on Oct. 3 and are active in the Cosumnes River College Vet community.

“You don’t know how people will react when talking about this subject,” Daniel Bracamontes said. “It was pleasant that everybody understood what we all talked about. This event allowed us to show our true colors to each other and it helps us build a connection right off the bat.”

Daniel Bracamontes said that during his time in the military, he had dealt with alcoholism, depression, anxiety and being withdrawn. When he got out, he said it was a good thing to build connections and to be less withdrawn.

“When people get out of the military, it’s not pretty because there are a lot of us missing home,” Daniel Bracamontes said. “Home to us was with our brethren back in the military. It’s like when you leave your family for the first time, you’re going to get depressed, want to be alone and not want to talk to anybody.”

Dehoney said this was the first military veteran discussion panel that was held in the history of CRC. In the previous year the VRC had a screening of “Top Gun: Maverick” and gave out free popcorn for Veterans Day.

“To have as many people show up to this event, it means the world to us,” Dehoney said. “As big as this was, it was the first of its kind and something we look forward to doing in bringing in more panelists, such as female veterans to share their experiences.”

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About the Contributor
Emanuel Espinoza
Emanuel Espinoza, Staff Writer
Emanuel Espinoza is a staff writer for the Connection newspaper. He joined the Connection to get back into journalism and to see about opening up more opportunities in that field. His goals are to gain more opportunities in the journalism field, do more with photography and wants to write for entertainment publications related to music, film and video games. He enjoys reading, going to the movie theater and other types of shows and is a fan of hip-hop.

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