Before he enrolled at the New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT), Roberto Bracero, of Roxbury, was in the U.S. Marine Corps, where he was twice deployed to Iraqi combat zones: first to Fallujah and then to Ramadi. The effects of combat take a psychological toll on you, he said a toll that never fades.
“When you’re in combat, you forge bonds with you fellow brothers-in-arms that are stronger than anything you have ever felt,” said Bracero, now a senior at NJIT.
“This is due to the stress of not knowing if today will be your last, or if it will be the last day for your brother next to you. When I was discharged from the military, I searched for connections with people that would fill the void. But I found that such connections can only be found with veterans who have seen the things I have seen in the military.”
Bracero is lucky. He recently joined the newly-formed NJIT Veteran Students Organization, whose aim is to unify veterans on campus and give them a sense of camaraderie. The organization also intends to ease the transition from the military to the university for veterans, said Kevin Darczuk, of East Brunswick, a U.S. Air Force veteran and NJIT sophomore who is president of the organization.
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