In recognition of Veteran’s Day, we’ve gone to our archives to reflect on some of the amazing OSU people who’ve combined education with military service. We salute our veterans and value their contributions to both the nation and our university community.
After two tours in Iraq, Marine Sgt. John Dickman is preparing to become an officer through OSU’s Naval ROTC program.
John Dickman signed up for the U.S. Marine Corps on Sept. 17, 2001, six days after the 9/11 attacks on the United States.
He was planning to become a Marine anyway — in fact he had been in the Young Marines since age 13 — but 9/11 “sped up my plans by about a year,” he says.
Dickman’s first tour in Iraq was from January through September 2003, and he returned again from February through October 2004.
“The first tour was the actual invasion,” he says. “We worked up to Baghdad during the combat operation and then want to Karbala where we worked on stability and security operations. We built a couple of schools and got the power plant going.”
The second tour was in Al Anbar province on the Syrian border. “That was more of a search-and-destroy mission,” he says. “We were looking for munitions and insurgents. The province was an entry point for terrorists from Syria and other countries.”
Dickman says his experience with Iraqis is that “90 to 95 percent are very happy we’re there and recognize Saddam Hussein was an evil tyrant.”
After the second tour, Dickman was accepted into the Marine Enlisted Commissioning Education Program, which brought him to OSU, where he currently is color guard commander for the NROTC unit. The history major from Boise, Idaho, says he chose OSU because he wanted to stay in the Northwest, and only three schools in the area have Naval ROTC, which houses the Marine Corps officer program.
“I thought I might study engineering, so I wanted a school with a strong engineering program, and that was OSU,” he says. Later, he decided to go with his lifelong interest in history and major in that field.
His military background isn’t unique at OSU. More than 325 students are receiving veterans benefits, and it’s estimated that a few dozen of them have served in Iraq.
Dickman wants to be a career Marine officer, probably serving for 30 years. “I want to see the world and be the best citizen I can for the United States of America.”
And after retirement? “I want to start a custom hot rod shop. I like to build custom cars in my spare time.”