From Belton to Afghanistan: one student’s quest to serve his country

THE BELLS — Last year, freshman political science major Ishmael Pulczinski left the university to serve with the United States Army in Afghanistan.
Pulczinski seeks ways to serve those around him and his country. He planned to become an officer in the Army through the university’s Reserve Officer Training Corps program and had already been serving in the Army Reserves at a chemical unit as a chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear operations specialist, or 74D.

Political science major Ishmael Pulczinski left school his freshman year to serve in Afghanistan. Through support from the university, he plans to return to campus this fall. Courtesy photo.

Political science major Ishmael Pulczinski left school his freshman year to serve in Afghanistan. Through support from the university, he plans to return to campus this fall. Courtesy photo.

“Growing up, I would always play with G. I. Joe men outside, so it was always in the back of my mind,” Pulczinski  said. “What really propelled me into wanting to join was Sept. 11. I was in the third grade when it happened, and when I heard the news, it woke me up that there are people who wish to do harm against this nation and its citizens. I felt compelled to join to help defend this country from those people.”
Pulczinski first came to UMHB in the 2011 spring semester after completing Army basic and has always wanted to serve in the political realm. He was in Beall House Council where he lived during the fall and spring semester of the 2012 to 2013 school year.
During the spring semester, Pulczinski heard from some of his fellow reservists that a unit was looking for volunteers to deploy during the summer to Afghanistan. He jumped at the opportunity.
“I felt like it was something that God wanted me to do. It was something I needed to do,” Pulczinski said. “I added my name to the list of volunteers. It wasn’t until February after I had started my next semester that I learned my name had been selected. So, I dropped my courses and started the training I had to do in order to deploy.”
As Pulczinski started to drop his courses, friends and the university were supportive of him. His classes were reimbursed, and his status as a student was left open for him to come back when his service is over.
“The fact that he volunteered at the age that he is and quit school completely embodies the person that he is,” said Beall Hall resident director Christan Hammonds. “He cares about people and has a servant’s heart, a genuine gentleman. I have the utmost respect for military personnel, but the fact that he volunteered in the middle of college to go over there says exactly who he is. I’m ready for him to come back.”
Currently, Pulczinski plans to be back in May and has already begun the process to return to the university in the fall. Although he misses his family and friends, he continues to rely on the Lord for strength in his time of service.
“As Christians, it is important for us to remember that God’s will is not often done from the comfort  of our homes, with food on the table and a roof over our heads,” Pulczinski said. “His will is done when He calls us to the unknown to take a leap of faith into the ocean. It’s when the waters are deep, the waves are rough and we reach our breaking point with our faith faltering—that’s when God is most present.”

Author: The Bells Staff

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