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Remembering all Veterans

November 11, 2015

In honor of Veteran’s Day, we remember all who served in the armed forces defending our freedom.

In the College of Engineering & Science, one such Veteran is Chris Sassak, mechanical engineer technician, who served in the Vietnam conflict.

Chris SassakSassak was a Sergeant E-5 in the 9th Infantry Division in charge of a mortar platoon.  Rather than waiting to be drafted and delaying service, he enlisted in the military at age 19.  

“I don’t often think back on this time,” says Sassak.  “A number of my friends served and it was something we had to do.”

His military career included 14-months of training at Fort Knox, Fort Polk and Fort Benning and 10-months in Vietnam.

“I recall the first time I was shot at,” says Sassak.  “I instinctively reduced my profile.  I didn’t realize how second nature the training had become.”

Prior to joining the military, Sassak was a student at Wayne State University and an avid photographer. 

 “For me, the military was stable employment.  It was a remarkably easy way to make a living.”

There was one night that stands out for Sassak.  It was a rainy evening when he unknowingly pitched is tent on top of an anthill.  When he woke in the morning, he was covered in ants.  Fortunately, they were not fire ants.

When Sassak returned from Vietnam and with the help of family, he turned to the tool and die industry for employment.

Sassak joined the University of Detroit Mercy in 1995 and is pursuing his undergraduate degree in psychology.

We salute you, Sergeant Sassak and all Veterans for your service to our country.

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