CSM Newsroom

CSM Helps Retired U.S. Army Master Sgt. Phillip Ball Find Military Connections, Hone New Skills

June 7, 2024
phil ball


Almost 30,000 students have been awarded degrees or certificates at the College of Southern Maryland (CSM) since the college was founded in 1958, and thousands more have attended, from driver education to workforce training. Each one has their own unique story to tell: the connections they formed, the opportunities they found, and the successes they achieved.
Below, learn from Master Sergeant, U.S. Army (retired); Bronze Star recipient Phillip Ball, Jr., of CSM class of 2024, in his own words.  


"I am an Army career veteran, having served from 1976 to 2009. I was a master sergeant (E-8) and served in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom as a combat veteran from 2005 through 2009. I received the Bronze Star for serving as convoy commander on numerous occasions, including a convoy mission that resulted in four thousand Iraqi soldiers on post. After separation from the military, my wife and I moved to Upper Marlboro, Maryland.

As a 68-year-old retiree attending the College of Southern Maryland, going to college with Generation Z was a new and challenging experience in my life, since I am a Baby Boomer. I prefer face-to-face instruction in the classroom for the opportunity to learn and be engaged in the class discussion.

I learned in the military to be disciplined and adapt to changes. My strengths are staying “Army strong” with a cheerful outlook toward my goal to complete it successfully. I am looking forward to using what I learned about improving my cognitive strategies and brainstorming frame ideas to write a book about my life’s legacy.

I appreciate the support of [CSM Veterans Affairs Coordinator] Rebecca Collins for doing an outstanding job working with veterans and the CSM Veterans Lounge. The Veterans Lounge is an area where I could come to campus early and study for class before it started during the day or evening. It is a place for making a connection with other veterans and acknowledging that we are not alone. There are other veterans like us who are going through similar experiences, overcoming obstacles, embracing positive outcomes for hospitalization and rehabilitation, and finding pathways through their lives today."


If you would like to learn more about how CSM assists veterans, all veteran and military-connected community members are invited to join the College of Southern Maryland (CSM) Veterans Affairs team June 8 for a Veterans Academic and Community Resource Day where new and returning students can meet with a variety of representatives who will help them navigate their education, careers, and benefits. Or visit https://www.csmd.edu/student-services/veteran-military/index.html for more information or to schedule an appointment online.

Calendar: Veterans Academic and Community Resource Day. June 8, 10 a.m. - 2 p.m. Regional Hughesville Campus, Center for Health Sciences. All veteran and military-connected community members are invited to join CSM’s Veterans Affairs team on June 8. New and returning students can take advantage of in-person services including registration assistance, advising, and assessments. Community resources will also be available to offer services to veterans. Free. Registration encouraged but not required. https://www.csmd.edu/calendar/2024/06/vet-resource-day-jun8.html.

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