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Students dig into soldiers’ lives for Medal of Honor

All three versions of the Medal of Honor. (U.S. Special Operations Command/Released)

Medal of Honor recipients were greeted Thursday afternoon at North Central Texas College with presentations about themselves, the men and women they fought with and how they all lived while in the service.

The college teamed with local high schools to create research projects detailing different subjects: biographies of recipients, where they served, what they ate, what they wore and the like.

Recipient Allan Lynch is attending his 10th Medal of Honor Week. He said he looks forward events like Thursday’s open house at the college.

“It’s fun. People are wonderful. We get to go to the grade schools and high schools and it’s just a nice laid back time for us,” Lynch told the Register. “It gives us a chance to connect with everybody.”

Sharing the good and the bad with students is another part of it.

“Well, they ask a lot of questions about why you went in the army … you tell ’em a little bit about my life,” said Lynch. “They ask how you overcome post traumatic stress and how I overcame fear, stuff like that.

“(PTSD) is the same as it always has been. It’s a hard thing. We’re kind of hardheaded. We don’t like to go when we need to. It took me 20 years to finally get help, and when I got it, I wished I would’ve got it years and years and years before,” said Lynch, a native of what he calls “The People’s Republic of Illinois.”

For Kerah Browne, this week is a rare opportunity. The native of South Africa is a first-year student at NCTC, and she may go off to a four-year university before the Medal of Honor recipients return next year. She was keen to show off her presentation, which centered around Lynch, fellow recipient Mike Fitzmaurice and a few others.

“I know that they fought not just for themselves, but for the people that they’re with and for their country,” said Browne. “And even though they’re not in the war today, they’re still fighting for their people who are suffering with depression and all that. For me, it was just they’re still fighting a battle, and it’s for their people and they’re still willing to serve no matter what.”

Muenster and Lindsay High School teamed up for different projects. One centered on what the soldiers eat, both on base and in the field.

“Honestly, we were unaware that they didn’t have MREs (Meals Ready to Eat) back then and all they had was Meal, Combat, Individual (MCI), which are pretty similar but a little bit different. — not as modernized as they are now. It was interesting to see all like the little things they used,” said Muenster’s Gentry Geis, who’s headed off to Texas Tech to study psychology and social work.

Thomas Fuhrman and some of his Lindsay classmates concentrated on the evolving role of technology in soldiers’ lives.

I really learned how the military can adapt really quickly to like, advanced combat situations. All the technology they had to prepare to like all the different branches. Having to learn that new technology in order to most effectively combat the enemy was really, really a big thing for me,” said Fuhrman, who plans to study computer science at University of North Texas-Frisco.

Hope Ehlers, a local home school student, helped her Red River Sea Cadets Battalion build its display. She was dressed in Navy cadet gear, but she’s thinking about the Army in a couple of years.

“I want to be a medical examiner. And if I go into the Army right now, from my research, that is the only branch that pays you to do college while you are in the Army,” said Ehlers.

When asked why she wants to be up to her elbows in cadavers for a career, she was direct: “I find it interesting, and you need somebody to do it.”


(c) 2023 the Gainesville Daily Register

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