Air Force veteran Aaron Hammonds (sophomore) will lead a presentation on the history of military veterans at Occidental on Veteran’s Day. His presentation, “60 years of Service: A conversation with Oxy’s Veterans Past and Present,” will take place at 11:30 a.m. in Choi Auditorium.
The presentation will be broken up into three sections. First Hammonds will present on Occidental’s history related to the V-12 Navy College Training Program during the World War II. Then he will tell the stories of four Occidental alumni who have built successful careers in the military.
In the third section, which Hammonds hopes to be the longest, attendees will have the chance to ask questions to a panel about what life has been like for veterans at Occidental. The panel will be composed of Hammond and another Occidental veteran, Daryl Barker (first-year).
“I want people to have that opportunity [to ask questions], and I do not think they are going to get it any other kind of way,” Hammonds said.
Hammonds, who has worked extensively with Special Collections Librarian & College Archivist Dale Stieber, delved deep into the college archives to discover the history of veterans at Occidental for this presentation. He said that it will be one of the best ways to honor military members this Veteran’s Day.
“It is a chance to remember those people, and hearing their stories that people have told, and that students and alumni have accomplished—that is huge,” Hammonds said. “What a better way to remember those people than to share it with students who are here.”
Hammonds enrolled at Occidental after spending six years in the Air Force. He was trained as an Arabic Linguist and worked in signals intelligence from 2006 to 2009 before touring Afghanistan three times as a Tactical Support Operator for Project Liberty. He ended active duty in 2012.
Currently, Hammonds is one of two veterans attending Occidental. The other, Barker, joined the United States Navy in 2008 and became an Electrician’s Mate First Class, qualified in submarines. Barker will be at the event to answer questions as well.
Dean of the College Jorge Gonzalez, who will open the event, said this is a great opportunity for members of the college to attend.
“Veterans, and members of the different services, have played a key role in the history of Occidental, and we need to acknowledge that, and we need to learn about it,” Gonzalez said. “Many people have been at the college for a few years and they do not know what happened in the history of the college related to veterans, so this is an opportunity for us to learn the different roles that they have played.”