Ex-Airman Ready for Next Chapter as Student
August 13, 2010
Back in June, 25 year-old Scott Stroh said goodbye to a six-year career in the Air Force, where he served four tours of duty. A week later, he was plotting a brand-new career as a full-time student when he attended Stonehill's Summer Orientation.
In a few weeks, Stroh will officially begin the next chapter of his life as he enters Stonehill as a member of the Class of 2014.
After graduating from high school, Stroh said he was unfocused and unsure of himself. "I enrolled at a local college and then at a technical school but neither worked out for me. I didn't know what I wanted to do at that point in my life," recalls Stroh.
To help refocus his life, he joined the Air Force. "I was always into the Air Force and I knew, with the GI Bill, I could go back to school once I was through."
The Air Force proved to be an eye-opening experience for Stroh, who was deployed just weeks after arriving at his home base, Hill Air Force Base in northern Utah.
"I did my basic training before going to technical school for my job specialty, which was security forces, and then it was on to my base in Utah. I had no idea where the base was and I was the only one from my group going there," says Stroh.
"I remember being at the base for just nine days before being sent to a regional training center, where they prepared me for my first deployment to the United Arab Emirates (UAE)."
Nineteen at the time, Stroh spent the next six and a half months in the UAE, located on the Persian Gulf, protecting flight lines and base perimeters (Photo left: Stroh guarding the entrance onto a flight line in the UAE ).
Although his time in the UAE was not nearly as hostile and dangerous as tours that followed, Stroh says it was his first that was the most difficult for him.
"Being away from everyone and everything for that length of time was hard to cope with," recalls Stroh.
Just five months back in the U.S. following his first tour, Stroh received his second call of duty to the UAE.
His next two tours brought him to Iraq and Afghanistan, where mortar attacks were the everyday norm.
In Afghanistan, Stroh vividly remembers a rocket attack that took place just 100 meters away from where he was sleeping. "That wakes you up pretty fast."
While in Iraq, Stroh worked detainee operations at Iraq's largest internment facility, Camp Bucca, which housed as many as 20,000 Iraqi prisoners of war. Once, according to Stroh, a rocket hit the compound directly, killing seven and injuring over 60 other detainees.
Throughout his deployments, Stroh often thought about his future and the possibility of giving college another try.
"Whenever I had the idea of college in my head, I always thought back to the time I visited my sister at Stonehill. It was my first time on a college campus and I remember thinking ‘this is college, this is kind of cool' so when I decided I wanted to go to school after my time with the Air Force, Stonehill was the perfect choice for me."
Stroh's sister Crystal graduated from Stonehill in 2000 with a degree in biology and now Stroh will follow in her footsteps as he will also major in biology in order to become a science teacher.
It was his experience as a Staff Sergeant in the Air Force that led him to this decision.
"Ever since I was promoted to Staff Sergeant and I took the younger troops under my wing and became their mentor, I realized that was something I really enjoyed doing so I think teaching will be a great fit for me."
As for the science part of it, Stroh jokes, "I've always loved science. I'm a nerd."
While entering college at the age of 25 poses some obstacles, most notable with his age difference, Stroh knows he has a lot of advantages as well.
"My time in the Air Force has taught me how to prioritize and sift through a lot things. I don't get stressed easily and I know that will help me a lot. I know how to take charge of my own situation."
For more information, contact Communications and Media Relations at 508-565-1321.