Veterans discuss time overseas

A group of veterans who are also Chico State students or alumni gathered together to answer questions about their cultural experiences while they were deployed.

Anthony Peters, senior journalism major, discussed how he was received overseas.

“It was a 50/50 reaction. Some people were juiced to see us, others would throw rocks and shoot at us,” Peters said.

James Smith, senior international relations major, talked about how he struggled with language barriers even though he is fluent in Arabic.

“It is different learning something in school,” Smith said. “In real life, I could not understand the slang they used and how they spoke at first.”

AJ Sivalingam, senior computer information system major, discussed how he and the soldiers would adapt to the customs.

“We would try to make them as comfortable as we can,” Sivalingam said. “We would grow out beards because in their culture, it is a sign of maturity and respect.”

This year’s Book in Common at Chico State, “The Yellow Birds” by Kevin Powers, was brought up at the panel in addition to the cultural experiences they had. It is a story about two soldiers trying to survive during the Iraq War.

James Smith talked about his favorite quote from the book.

“War is long periods of non-action punctuated with periods of intensity,” Smith said.

Lindsay Pincus can be reached at [email protected] or @lindsaypincus on Twitter