The transition from military to civilian life has been difficult, but it’s been much worse for other veterans, said junior civil engineering major Brian Beleau.
“That’s why I’m in this office every day is to help those people that do have a much more difficult time
transitioning between military life and civilian life,” he said.
Beleau is a 25-year-old Navy veteran and the chairman of the ASWSU Student Veterans Committee.
“I decided that one, I needed to grow up before I went to college. Two, I needed money for college because I was putting myself through it, and three, I needed to figure out what I wanted to go to school for,” Beleau said. “Those were my three goals that I joined the military with.”
Beleau served in the Navy for six years, rising to the rank of Petty Officer First Class in that time. He said he chose the Navy because his father, who was in the Army, would not let him join the Marines or the Army.
“So I chose between the Air Force and the Navy,” he said. “And I liked the Navy so I chose that.”
Beleau’s job while in the Navy was fire control man. His duties included working on radar systems and computer systems. However, his job in the Navy did not affect his choice in major, he said.
“One day we were coming back from a deployment and me and my friends were talking about going to college and stuff like that,” he said. “So we downloaded a portfolio … from a random college online and we started scrolling through the majors and picking majors for each other. And my friends decided I should become a civil engineer … and they were pretty much right.”
Civil engineering has many different aspects such as structural, environmental and biological to name a few, he said. The aspect Beleau said he was most interested in is water resource and management.
“My favorite thing I’ve ever done in the Navy was sailing through the Panama Canal,” Beleau said. “That was a unique experience, not a lot of people get to do it. It was high stress, high-tense moments because of the opportunity for attack so everyone was on edge, but it was unique and fun.”
Beleau said he was happy with the fact that while in the Navy he got to see a lot of the world and that’s something the majority of people don’t experience in their lifetimes.
Beleau said he came to WSU because he is paying for college on his own, and as a Washington resident, he wanted to pay in-state tuition.
“I got into some much more expensive colleges in the east … and I didn’t want to rack up that kind of debt,” he said.
Beleau became the
chairman of the Student Veterans Committee because the position rotates and it was his turn, he said.
“I’m not in charge of the Student Veterans Committee,” he said. “I’m just the figurehead that goes to the meetings and distributes the information to the people … I just walk around the CUB, remind everyone that the Student Veterans Committee exists, I’m the chairman and this is what we’re doing.”