Third-generation U.S. Army veteran and Texas Southmost College student Jose Guerra has fought battles that have been difficult to overcome, but is happy of where he is today because he followed in the footsteps of proud relatives.
The Brownsville native was only 18 years old when he made the decision to enlist in the Army – he served seven years and completed two combat tours in Afghanistan and one in Iraq.
Following in the footsteps of his grandfather who served in World War II and his father who enlisted in the 1980s, Guerra said it was his turn to serve his country and make his family proud.
“Joining the military was always the plan. I didn’t want to do anything else,” the now 34-year-old said. “It was September 11, 2001 that confirmed my decision.”
Guerra went on to complete his basic training in Fort Sill, Oklahoma, the same place his grandfather and father completed their training. He also completed his advanced individual training at Fort Bliss in El Paso.
When training was complete he received his deployment orders, a life-changing experience for Guerra and for those with whom he served.
“I had to grow up very quickly,” he said. “I had a new family now…I was part of a brotherhood and sisterhood that was united and protected each other.”
It was during his three deployments working as a motor transport operator providing security for other units, delivering materials and escorting high-profile individuals, that he was hit on 13 different occasions by roadside bombs.
“I was very fortunate to have not lost any limbs or worse,” said Guerra. “But many of my comrades weren’t as lucky, and these are the moments that change you.”
In 2012, before his fourth deployment, he was honorably discharged due to downsizing and decided it was his time to move on.
Adapting to civilian life was a challenge for Guerra, who suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
“The nightmares are always there. In the military you see a lot of things that haunt you for the rest of your life,” he said. “It’s a daily battle now and societal stressors like looking for a job or returning to school are no help.”
He credits his wife, who is also a registered nurse, for helping him overcome his daily struggles and encouraging him to return to school.
Now, the husband and father of four, is a student at TSC pursuing an associate degree in nursing. He expects to graduate in May 2021.
“TSC has been a great experience for me,” said Guerra. “The folks at the TSC Veterans Success Center have been phenomenal. They have helped me in my transition every step of the way. Without them, it truly would have been a challenge.”
TSC’s Veteran Success Center provides veterans and their family members with resources to facilitate the transition from military to academic life and provides an environment where veterans can gather to share experiences and support one another through the educational process.
The center is committed to maintaining an environment of academic success and professional development for all of its students and providing a level of service that conveys TSC’s appreciation for the service veterans and active duty military personnel have given the country.
As for Guerra, he said TSC has been a great first step in the right direction because of the services and resources that have been available to him. Because of it, he also plansto pursue a bachelor’s degree to advance his nursing career and better support his family.
For more information on the services offered at TSC’s Veterans Success Center, visit tsc.edu or email email@example.com.