Today: Apr 23, 2024

Sergeant tells students about life in the U.S. Army

Andrew Tantillo – Special to the Southern News

In the spring of 2010, Nico Moyer, SCSU sophomore and communications major, woke up one morning with a sudden, unprovoked urge to enlist in the United States Army.

Without hesitation, Moyer, now a 24-year-old E-5 sergeant, said he immediately drove to a New Haven recruiter’s office and signed on the dotted line to become a U.S. Army infantryman.

“If anyone here is thinking of enlisting,” Moyer said with a grin, as he advised a crowd of about 25 Southern students in the lobby of West Campus Residence Hall, “don’t do what I did. Do your homework and make sure you’ve given yourself enough time to figure out exactly what it is you want to do.”

Luckily for Moyer, he said his rash decision never led to a shred of regret.

However, his impulsiveness didn’t come without consequence. In order to finish his degree before leaving for basic training he needed to take 27 and 31 credits over the next two semesters, respectively.

“I was lucky that Southern and the Army were able to work with me and allow me to complete my degree a year early,” Moyer said.

After receiving a bachelor’s degree in communications, Moyer, who initially came to Southern on a football scholarship, but was forced to leave the team after breaking his leg during his freshman season, left for basic training five days after he graduated.

Upon graduation from basic training at Fort Benning in Columbus, Ga., Moyer went on to complete Advanced Individual Training Infantry School, Airborne Infantry School, an Army Ranger assessment program, Enterprise Income Verification, and Army Ranger School, in that order.

“Without question, Army Ranger School was the most difficult,” Moyer said as he paced throughout the lobby, occasionally stopping to joke with students passing through. “There were times when we had to sleep four guys to one sleeping bag because of how cold it was.”

Moyer said although his training taught him how to properly react in an array of unforeseen circumstances, it wasn’t until after his first, of two, deployment to Salerno, Afghanistan when he really noticed a change his approach to life.

“You never know what the enemy looks like and how they’re going to attack, so you have to always be prepared,” he said. “Now when I’m home, I’m constantly checking out my environment.”

Although Moyer said he does not have Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Michael Sampson, a 21-year-old resident advisor at West and organizer of Thursday night’s event, recalled a sensitive incident that happened earlier in the day while with Moyer at the student center.

“Someone popped a plastic bag and it made a really loud ‘pop,’” Sampson said as he stood next to Moyer. “And Nico jumped. You could tell it triggered some kind of memory.”

According to the PTSD Foundation of America, one in three troops returning from the Iraq and Afghanistan wars is diagnosed with serious PTSD symptoms; less than 40 percent will seek treatment.

“I think the military’s doing a lot better dealing with PTSD than they had years ago,” said Moyer. “First, with raising awareness and then also creating a comfortable environment for soldiers to talk about it.”

After Moyer spoke on his experiences in the Army for about 45 minutes, he opened up the floor for a series of questions and answers. Zakariya Narowski, an 18-year-old freshman psychology major, said he was most impressed with Moyer’s honesty.

“It must be really hard to talk about some of the things he’s been through,” Narowski said. “Not everyone has the guts to open up like that.”

Photo Credit: The U.S. Army 

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