"I Will Never Forget the Kindness and Fellowship They Offered to Me All Those Years Ago"

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Phillip Wilson ’75 entered the University of South Carolina for the second time in 1971 as a 25-year-old Army Veteran. "My first attempt did not go well from an academic perspective and resulted in me being drafted into the US Army. I rose to the rank of Staff Sergeant and was assigned to the 173rd Airborne in Vietnam as an Infantry Platoon Sergeant," he said. When he was discharged, he returned to school to pursue a degree in Mechanical Engineering. Although he was far from the average college freshman and he knew coming back to school after living through the war would be difficult, he was lucky enough to find SAE, where he was given a home full of brothers who helped him transition.

Phillip said that returning home from war is a difficult thing for anyone who has been through it. "The battlefield and home are very different places. There is a real adjustment period and it takes time to get back to normal. I was very lucky because SAE became part of that adjustment," he said. "I knew I was in a place where I was SAFE and could be one of THE guys and not have to feel like one of THOSE guys." 

Phillip went on to graduate with a degree in engineering and has owned his own business for the past 32 years. "I now have SAE brothers who have become lifelong friends to me and my family," he said. "To our younger brothers, my advice would be, when a veteran comes to your door, welcome him. Just as my brothers did for me as a freshman. I will never forget the kindness and fellowship they offered to me all those years ago." 

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