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Chris Nocket, From the Army to Pace

Gerald Olvera, Feature Writer

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Answering the ‘call of duty’ following the attack of the World Trade Center in 2001 was the last thing Chris Nocket expected to do.

However, the Poughkeepsie native learned that his cousin Mike had perished during the attacks. Like many others, he would join the ranks with other service men and women.

Nocket then loaned himself to the United States Army for the next four years as an 11C MOS (military occupational specialty) Mortarman. 11Cs, the indirect fire infantrymen, are members of a mortar squad, section or platoon.

Completing basic training and advanced infantry training (AIT) in Fort Benning, Georgia were the first steps. Then he would be sent to his combat unit on the Fort Lewis Army base in Tacoma, Washington.

“For three months we were always training,” Nocket said. “Fight as you train, train as you fight. That is what our Sergeants would say. With all the training you do, you hope that when the real thing comes, you will remember the training.”

Meanwhile, after months of combat scenarios in different parts of the US, he would deploy to Iraq in October of 2003. Samarra to Mosul, his unit would be all over Iraq supporting US and Coalition (multinational) forces.

He recalls one night while being deployed in Iraq, where his company were about to intercept enemy forces in a heavily fortified town. Two AC-130 Specter Gunships were airborne to support his command and slammed the area with various munitions. 40mm to 105mm of high explosive, high incendiary, and armor piercing rounds lit up the town.

Finally, battle-hardened and experienced in warfare, he was awarded a mid-tour leave. Some members of the military do not elect to take a “leave of absence” during deployments.

“Because when you’re there in a  theater, you can wrap your head around the idea of this is ‘the suck,’ or this is ‘the show,” Nocket said. “Then you go on leave and you think, oh wait, this is the real world. It took me a week to get back in the mindset that I was still deployed.”

Nocket would return back to the states in October 2004 and finish up his tour in the Army in January 2006. He would spend the next few years transitioning from soldier to civilian.

The Iraq War veteran is lugging books instead of mortars now. He has been studying Digital Cinema and Filmmaking at Pace since 2015. He enjoys the atmosphere on campus and loves the energy of the faculty in Pleasantville.

“I feel that the more interest I show the professors here at Pace, the more interest I will receive from the professors,” Nocket said. “I like the fact that we have solid educators who are passionate about what they are doing.”

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