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Laurentians in Iraq

From Tri-Delta to an Army Platoon
Where were you after graduating from St. Lawrence?  Some alumni see the real world very quickly. U.S. Army Lt. Justine Peters ’05 (top, second from right) leads a platoon of 37 soldiers in Iraq. 
As an undergraduate, Lt. Peters, who is from Cape Vincent, N.Y., enrolled in ROTC through Clarkson University; she considers herself lucky to have been a part of that program, calling it one of the best in the country. 

She can tell you that going from living with 30 of her tri-Delta sorority sisters at St. Lawrence to her present all-male surrounding is something of a transition!  But she is no stranger to changes and challenges.  She studied for a semester in Spain as a student, and attributes her success as a member of the United States Army to that experience.  “There is something very fulfilling about being surrounded by so many cultures [in Iraq],” she says; “St. Lawrence has certainly played a part in my ability to interact with and learn from people who are so different from everything that we know back in the United States.”  

Lt. Peters wears a full uniform, which makes her reminisce about “wearing pajamas all day, everywhere, whenever I felt like it!”  What else does she miss? The things that most SLU alumni miss…the fall weather, the gym…but above all else, her friends.  It isn’t an easy life, but her commitment to her soldiers and our country is strong and proud.                                                                                     --Majken Tranby ’06
(Adapted from Goldlink, St. Lawrence’s young alumni online newsletter)

Notes from a Cold War Veteran and Father
Our thoughts and prayers are with our younger son, Mike Evarts ’93, who graduated from St. Lawrence with an ROTC commission. He was called to active duty in April 2006 and is stationed at a Forward Operating Base about 70 miles northeast of Baghdad. He had served in the Army Reserves since college, most recently as a captain in a Medical Service Battalion in Cleveland, Ohio, but on active duty only during training periods and summer camp with his unit.

Last year at this time, Mike was enjoying the civilian life of a husband and father with a successful career in sales and marketing and another child on the way. His call-up in April, while not totally unexpected, still was a jolt.  But we didn’t realize until he had left what a tremendous void we would feel.  We are lonely, anxious, worried but also very proud.

Mike is serving with an Army advisory unit that trains and goes on missions with the Iraqi military. He is responsible for supply, equipment, fuel, food, ammunition and purchasing, including hiring outside contractors.

Mike relates the following by phone every several weeks:

  • The Iraqi soldiers and officers are learning how to run a modern army. It takes considerable time.
  • The officers in his unit are mostly reserve officers, called up from civilian life as he was.
  • The mood is positive and up-beat among the Americans and Iraqis.
  • Mike and his unit mingle with the civilians often. They have become quite fond of the villagers, especially the children.  The Americans try to gather up candy and other items to pass out to them.
  • As opposed to information we get from the media, progress is being made.

We think about Mike all the time, listen to too much news, think about the decisions being made, and hope and pray that he returns soon and in good shape.
                                                                                    --Bill and Marylyn Evarts P’93

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