Salute To Service: Charles Bischoff
Nov. 11, 2021
SHSU Media Contact: Hannah Crandall
This November, as Sam Houston State University observes Veterans Day, meet the campus vets that have exemplified the motto, “The measure of a Life is its Service,” in our Salute to Service Series.
Bischoff is an integrated studies major and a United States Army veteran. Upon joining the Army in 2009, he served as a combat medic doing everything from front lines battlefield trauma care to healthcare administration. He was also a non-commissioned officer (NCO). He was stationed in Fort Hood, deployed to Iraq in 2010-2011 and deployed to Afghanistan in 2012-2013.
Why did you choose to join the military?
CB: The recession of 2008 hit when I was working for a phone company. I lost my job and had always wanted to serve as I admired my grandfathers who served in WWII, so I decided to follow in their footsteps. I wanted to be a combat medic to save peoples’ lives.
What was your reason for continuing your education and choosing SHSU?
CB: I had a friend and former boss who were alumni.
Where do you currently work, or do you have any other activities keeping you busy outside of school?
CB: I work in Veteran Services for a mental health organization where we provide resources like counseling, case management, peer support and mental health education classes.
Are you involved in any other SHSU organizations or groups?
CB: I am a member of the Collegiate Veterans Association (CVA).
What do you want your civilian peers to know about your service?
CB: While serving overseas, I got a front row seat to seeing the best and worst of humanity: from soldiers selflessly putting themselves in harm’s way to save others, to innocent children hurt and killed by the Taliban. My team of medics and I in Afghanistan treated 113 combat casualties during 2012-2013, but it was also the best job I ever had.
How has your service history impacted your academic life?
CB: It has made it challenging at some points and easier in others. I feel that I have an advantage when it comes to soft skills like leadership, teamwork, communication, problem solving and work ethic. However, I also know that my time in service came with a price tag of dealing with PTSD and depression, which has made my academic life really hard to get through.
How easy/difficult was your transition from the military into an academic setting?
CB: The transition into academia has been one of the hardest things I have ever tried to do. I never excelled at school as a kid, and being older sure hasn’t helped. Relearning concepts at school to balancing wife, kids, work, it hasn’t been easy.
Do you have a hard time relating to your peers?
CB: Personally, I do have a hard time relating to my peers on campus, but I am also at a very different place in life than the majority of them. I am essentially the old guy who has seen and done a lot; but more importantly, I am a devoted husband and father of two kids.
How has SHSU aided in your transition?
CB: SHSU has been very helpful. The Veteran Resource Center has always helped me through any sticking points that I have had. I have also had some GREAT professors who have invested time in me, believed in me, and overall helped me when I needed it.
What specific programs at SHSU for veterans set the university apart from other schools?
CB: This may not be a specific program, but the location was the selling point for me. The school is in a rural, but growing, area. SHSU is big, but not too big. The Huntsville and Montgomery area has a bunch of veterans and veteran resources.
What are your future goals or dreams?
CB: My future goal is to make an impact and reduce suicidality in veterans. I plan on doing this by being a vocal advocate for mental health, sharing my story, educating others through evidence-based practices and destigmatizing mental health in the warrior culture.
What does, “The measure of a Life is its Service,” mean to you?
CB: It is the impact you leave on those you serve, those around you, your community, your family, your friends and anyone else you touch. That is your legacy.
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