Among the National Guard troops being called to active duty are several college and university students from around Iowa. One of them is Debbie Dykstra, who’d just started the second semester of her sophomore year at UNI. She’s also a specialist with the 186th Military police, and joined the guard in December of 2000. She was a senior in high school unsure about where she wanted to to go college, and after talking to a recruiter she made the choice to join the guard and go to UNI, — where her sister’s in the Guard too, in the same unit. Dykstra’s sister, a lieutenant, is in OBC — Officer Basic Courses — class at UNI and won’t be called up for now. Dykstra says the Veteran’s Affairs office was a big help when she was called to active duty after spring term began. The V-A woman she deals with on GI Bill tuition matters took care of filing her deployment papers so the school reimbursed Dykstra and she’s considered simply withdrawn from class for this term. While her tuition’s refunded, Dykstra says with books “you get messed over a little bit” because you can’t resell them to the school bookstore and must wait for a spring buy-back at far lower prices. Dykstra says she’d already spend 500-dollars on textbooks and might ask a friend to try and sell them for her at the end of the semester. She’s been allowed to call home and take a 24-hour pass to visit her folks, who live near the school, but says her parents get nervous and emotional, and when she tells them things in “military talk” she has to re-explain so they understand. Dykstra doesn’t know where she’ll be sent for her upcoming active duty but is scheduled to leave the 28th for Fort McCoy for mobilization. As an M-P, her work will involved guarding prisoners of war.
You are here: / / College students put classes on hold to serve in military