Go directly to main content

Veteran Spotlights

February 5, 2019

KOKOMO, Ind. –  

Noah Cicalo, B.S. ’14, U.S. Army

“I learned a lot about the military and veterans, I hope to work with them in a mental health capacity in the future. I’ve learned what they go through, and the sacrifices they make.”

After completing his military service, Noah Cicalo is now on to his next mission – seeking more effective long-term treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder in combat veterans.

Cicalo, B.S. ’14, began his service in the U.S. Army while he was earning his psychology degree at IU Kokomo.

“I joined the National Guard because our country was at war, and I was able bodied,” the Kokomo resident said. “I made myself available to deploy if I was needed.” He was scheduled for deployments to Iraq and to Djibouti while he was a student, but both were canceled and given to active duty troops.

Shortly after graduating, Cicalo began his active duty service, with his infantry basic course at Fort Benning, Georgia. Later, he transferred to Fort Campbell, Kentucky, where he was an operations officer in charge of military equipment, and later a training management officer.

With his background in psychology, he had hoped to work as a chaplain or social worker, but was placed in infantry because that’s where he was needed at the time.

“I did the best I could with what I had,” he said. “I developed a better sense of what my strengths and talents are, as well as my weaknesses. I learned to think on my feet and make a decision, just because it was required to do so. I learned how to interact with people of varying levels of authority, and also learned how to find information through any means available.”

He completed his service in September 2018, and began a new career, as a life skills clinician for Community Howard Behavioral Health. Working alongside a therapist, he teaches middle and high school students skills such as anger management, how to deal with loss, and other coping skills, in conjunction with a therapist.

While still serving, he began a master’s program in counseling, which he hopes to complete in 2019.

Gloyd Johnson, B.S. ’06, U.S. Navy

“It took me a long time, doing school part-time, so there was a sense of accomplishment in reaching that goal.”

Imagine being submerged under the ocean’s depths for weeks, or even months at a time, only seeing the same 100 people for the entire time.

Gloyd Johnson experienced it as a nuclear propulsion operator and mechanic for the U.S. Navy, serving on submarines during his 28 years of service, both on active duty and in the reserves.

“Military service means quite a lot of dedication and sacrifice,” he said. “You leave home, and you’re gone for months.”

Without the resources for college when he graduated from high school in 1970 in Manhattan, Kansas, Johnson enlisted in the Navy, specifically for the submarine program. He spent three years in school, then reported to a fast-attack submarine out of Groton, Connecticut. He served tours in the Mediterranean Sea and the North Atlantic, among others, taking care of all the equipment associated with the nuclear propulsion system – a critical role.

He recalled a time there was a dropped control rod in the reactor plant, and the all-hands-on-deck work required to get it going again.

“You try not to think about it, but if you don’t get the propulsion system up and running again, you might go to the bottom of the ocean,” he said. “It’s a team effort, and everyone has to know a little about everybody else’s job. You can’t call the auto club to come fix things.”

Deployments could last from a few weeks to a few months, including one three-month tour in the North Atlantic, in which they were submerged for two months. 

After his active duty ended, Johnson joined the reserves. He began a civilian job at the Grissom Air Force Base in 1983, and retired as a civil service employee in 2008.

He later enrolled at IU Kokomo, earning a Bachelor of Science in General Studies in 2006, with concentrations in math and science. When he enrolled, he was able to get college credit for some of his military experience, which allowed him to earn his degree more quickly.

Johnson noted he was first in his family to earn a college degree – an attainment that is meaningful to him.

Julia Person, B.S. ’17, U.S. Air Force

“You can’t commission without a college degree, so IU Kokomo definitely helped me with taking the next step in my career.”

Serving in the U.S. Air Force Reserves gave Julia Person’s life purpose.

Before she enlisted, Person earned a two-year community college degree in Michigan, then drifted from job to job, uncertain what she wanted to do with her life. Both of her parents had served, and she decided to follow their example.

“My life has changed substantially because of that decision,” said Person, B.S. ’17, of her 11 years of service so far.

“I was kind of spinning my wheels and not progressing. I figured service would be a good way to progress, and it worked. I live in a house I own, and I’ve been all over the world. I could not possibly have done that without serving,” she said.

Since graduating with a bachelor’s degree in history and political science, Person has stayed busy not only with her commitment to the reserves, but also her civilian career at Grissom Air Reserve Base.

She’s been able to travel more for her career, including time in Hawaii, Texas, New Hampshire, and England. However, she said, travel will have to slow considerably in the near future, as she plans to start graduate school to earn a Master of Library Science, taking her a step closer to her dream job, as an archivist.

Also, since graduating, she was promoted from her job as a crew chief, responsible for maintaining a KC-135 Stratotanker, to a more administrative position as a maintenance production controller and plans to commission as an officer later this year.

Jake Adams, B.S. ’15, U.S. Marine Corps

“I was a first-generation college student, with a family at home, and it was imperative to me to finish my degree; it was important to me to get a solid education base at a school that believed in my experiences.”

Duty to country, as well as family tradition, led Jake Adams into the U.S. Marine Corps.

It was a life-changing decision for the Delphi resident.

“I don’t think I would be half the man I am now without the service,” said Adams, B.S. ’15.

“The Marine Corps gave me a sense of direction, a sense of purpose. It gave me some self-confidence I didn’t have before. It defined me as a leader, which is 1,000 percent vital in my transition.”

Adams joined the Marines after graduating from high school, and served for nine years.

“My dad was a Marine, so I was second generation,” he said. “It was about tradition. I was able to see the kind of person he was, and I knew the Marine Corps shaped his life. I also felt like it was my duty to society, in a time of war.”

During his nine years, he was an avionics manager, and then a recruiter. He was stationed in Japan for a few years, and served a combat deployment.

Once his service was over, Adams returned home to Delphi with his wife and young children, ready to transition to civilian life. He worked for his wife’s family’s printing business, and founded his own marketing company.

“IU Kokomo believe in my service time,” he said. “For somebody with a family, who is a non-traditional student, commuting 30 minutes each way, it was the best-case scenario for achieving what I wanted to achieve.”

Since graduating, he’s served as community development director for the City of Delphi, director of business services for the Tecumseh Area Partnership Inc., and is currently, a workforce development consultant for Ivy Tech Community College.

Indiana University Kokomo serves north central Indiana.

Last updated: 02/05/2019