Luke Leineweber took advantage of Ecampus classes in Iraq — and beyond.

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.

Luke Leineweber
Luke Leineweber

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For Luke Leineweber, life as a Naval aircrewman on a base in Balad, Iraq had a rhythm — a day flying missions, a day of office work, a day off — but routine did not lead to relaxation. The C-130 aircraft in which he flew and relayed messages to convoys on the ground was shot at regularly at takeoff and landing. The base where he lived during his 2008 deployment (his second) is one of the largest in Iraq, and was mortared daily.

“You never do get used to it,” Leineweber says. “You can’t tell your body not to react in a certain way. Your adrenaline gets going, and your heart rate.”

It meant that his day-to-day routines on the base had even more value. In his off time Leineweber went to the base’s pool. He played games and watched movies. And he could often be found at the base’s small library, working on Ecampus classes in pursuit of a political science degree from OSU.

“You can focus on getting into a paper or finishing reading,” says Leineweber. “It’d be weird sometimes. You’d land from a mission after some pretty intense stuff and then you have to switch to school mode to try and get to some work that’s due.”

Leineweber started taking Ecampus classes in 2004, after seeing his high school friends graduate from college. “I felt left behind,” he says. “So I looked at OSU’s online program and was admitted.”

After being discharged in September, Leineweber is back in his native Portland, happy to be around his friends and family and still taking Ecampus classes. “It will take time to settle back into civilian life, but I’ll be snowboarding at Mt. Hood a lot in the winter,” he says. “And I missed the beach when I was gone. I consider Oregon my home.”