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The Three Musketeers

This story is about the unlikely linking of three service members with completely different backgrounds and service histories who found rapport through similar values and beliefs instilled by their oath to serve their country. Listed below are three separate accounts and opinions from the individuals as they progressed through the Cape Fear Nursing Program.

Peter Bajus: HM2 (FMF) / Senior Line Corpsman-Weapons Company V2/8 / Division Combat Academy of Trauma-Instructor
It is a cool experience to bond with guys that you would never have probably seen and or interacted with in our previous professions. As we have gone through the ups and downs of leaving the military and enduring a semi-stressful academic program, it’s cool to still find the camaraderie, that we once had. I think most veterans need to remember that, instead of isolating themselves by looking at how their experience separates them from society or other veterans. Look for the similarities that exist, and it may surprise us how much we all really have in common.

Chase Siegman: AD3 (EAWS) / Helicopter Maritime Squadron 75 Aviation Machinist’s Mate / Carrier Qualified Landing Signalman Enlisted / Collateral Duty Inspector
When I met Peter and Tyler, the only connecting factor we had in common was that we all served. Thankfully, that is usually sufficient for any veteran to at least start a conversation. As we progressed through the program, we gravitated toward each other and started collaborating on notes and program projects together. We leaned on the underlying belief that when we enrolled in this program, we could still serve our community through healthcare. It’s my belief that veterans search for forms of purpose, no matter the enjoyment or the banality of their service; those core values leave a mark on our idea of the meaning of life. I do not think any of us would’ve met without this program. Our different jobs and different branches all breed their own separate mentalities and niches. I’m thankful for the by-chance bonds this program formed.

Tyler Kerstetter
In my first semester in CFCC’s nursing program, not only was I the only vet in our class but also the only male. When the second semester rolled around, I was in the same class as Chase and Pete. We had chit-chatted previously and knew each other as vets. My own personal attitude towards class changed almost immediately, and school (almost) started to be fun. We started collaborating on notes, sharing our military and civilian experiences, and talking virtually every day. This has led to huge success in the program for all of us and has given us a more positive experience overall. The military as a whole draws upon a certain individual, regardless of branch. We are all competitive, driven, strive for excellence, and are not afraid to give each other shit. Having friends like them reminds me of when I was still serving. I do not think I would be as successful in this program if it weren’t for the brotherhood and camaraderie, and I am grateful every day to have been in the program with them.

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