As the nation pauses for Veterans Day 2017, the Colleges honor those members of the Hobart and William Smith community who have dedicated their lives to serving their country as members of the U.S. Armed Forces. In respect to their efforts, the Colleges are sharing stories that tell of their sacrifices and resolute commitments to our nation and to a better world.
Among them are Dr. Katherine T. Platoni ’74, Col. (Ret.), our nation’s leading voice on issues of Soldier reintegration and the psychological aftermath of war, and many others in the HWS community whose stories are shared on the HWS website via the links below.
In her 2017 article “The Discarded Veteran,” Platoni writes of “the enormous toll of military service, and of the tremendous despair that consumes those who return home to a land that has become foreign and a populace that long ago forgot about those who pay a price too high for the cost and cause of freedom.”
An expert in treating Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and a Colonel who served more than 36 years in active and Army Reserve status – and now in State Defense Forces for Ohio – Platoni has developed combat stress control, debriefings and crisis management programs now used throughout the U.S. Army. Her article, published on Lemon Wire and picked up in Apple and Google news, explores the experience of veterans who return home to face inadequate medical care and a country they do not recognize.
“We are constantly reminded to ‘get over it’ when fireworks send us scrambling for cover, far more than just reminiscent of a mortar attack, as we are thrust back to the battlefield of faraway lands of the combat theater,” Platoni writes. “We wince with guilt and shame for not being back in the warzone to get the job done right and vindicate the incalculable losses of life we witnessed up close and personal. We stumble over words with cracked voices whenever we speak of the unspeakable. We frantically seek to replace the extraordinary camaraderie of brother-sister Service Member, the spirit de corps, dedication to the mission, devotion to causes far more noble and virtuous than ourselves, and wish so desperately than anything in our privileged lives rose to such a level of value, meaning, and purpose, only to feel the hollow void of barren lands of unfulfillment. We bristle at the term ‘hero’ when applied to us…because the only true heroes returned in flag draped coffins.”
Platoni has deployed four times, three of which were active combat zones. She is a passionate advocate for more extensive treatment options for Soldiers suffering from PTSD. As an author and scholar, she is regularly cited in publications like The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, TIME, Newsweek and U.S. News and World Report, among others.
Read more about Ret. Col. Platoni’s life of consequence. Additionally, below are links to just some of the many stories of HWS community members who have or are serving in the U.S. military or have committed to supporting troops as civilians.
- World War II Veterans of the Colleges
- Vietnam Veterans of the Colleges
- Kenneth E. Barden ’47
- HWS Board Chair Thomas S. Bozzuto ’68
- Robert Gale ’66, L.H.D. ’87
- Gifford Doxsee ’46
- Sheldon Feinberg ’50
- William F. Scandling ’49, LL.D. ’67
- David Lee Foster ’75
- U.S. Congressman Rodney Frelinghuysen ’69, L.H.D.’01
- Steven G. Kaminsky ’76
- Riley McCarthy ’15, William Schweitzer VI ’11 and Ben Vannah ’15
- HWS Trustee Gail H. McGinn ’73
- John E. Norvell ’66, P’99, P’02
- Trent Perrine ’15
- Steven J. Phillips ’62
- Warren Shaddock ’46, P’75, GP’09 and Grady Jensen ’44, P’84, L.H.D. ’04
- Owen Smith ’18
- David A. Tufts ’67
- Dr. Steven J. Phillips ’62
Read more about Pietro del Fabro ’67 and his American Civil War Memorial in the Village of Waterloo. Read more about the distinguished service of the late Professor Emeritus of Music Ron Cox P’72, P’76. Professor of Chemistry David Craig and Professor of Sociology Wesley Perkins collaborated with the United States Air Force to apply their social norms and intervention model that effectively dispels harmful misperceptions.
Please send names and information of other HWS alums who have served to email@example.com