Called to Serve

OCC student Maurice Brown is a United States Army Reservist. He missed the fall 2016 semester while serving at Guantanamo Bay.

Maurice Brown has returned from the experience of a lifetime, an experience which he believes has set him on his career path. “My call to action to serve was a call to action in itself to serve. It made me want to get into politics because there’s so much work to be done. The things which divide us can be torn down and bring us together.”

Brown was on track to graduate from OCC last December when he got “the call.” Brown is a U.S. Army Reservist. He was needed at Guantanamo Bay, a United States military prison. “I was part of the joint detention group. Our mission was to provide safe, humane, legal treatment in accordance with the joint task force.”

Brown reported for duty May 27, 2016. For the next eight months his life as an OCC student was on hold. It didn’t matter that he was a Communication major from Brooklyn, President of the Politics Club or a stand-up comic. It did matter to fellow soldiers that Brown was a delegate to Presidential candidate Bernie Sanders. “Soldiers are very opinionated. Everyone knew I was a Bernie Sanders delegate. I got some criticism along the way. Some was good natured, some wasn’t.”

Brown was in Guantanamo on election day and continued serving until the end of January. He returned to campus after the spring semester had begun and worked hard to catch up. “My professors were good to me. They really helped me with my transition.”

Brown (far right) meets with New York State Senator Dave Valesky along with OCC President Casey Crabill (far left) and student Chloe Hoffman.

His transition was about more than coursework. It also involved a significant change in lifestyle. “When you are in the military it’s right time, right place, right uniform. Everyone’s doing it. You come back to a college environment and people are late for class or turning in assignments late. To me, being late isn’t even an option. It’s an interesting dynamic to exist in both worlds.”

Since his return Brown has been an advocate for OCC, meeting with local State-level politicians who help determine how much funding the College will receive in the next budget. “It’s an interesting process. Politicians have the power of the purse. We spoke with them about what the college has and what the college needs. It was interesting to see the dynamic.”

Brown will earn his degree this May. He’s been selected a Newman Civic Fellow for the upcoming academic year. His career goal is public service. “As soon as I am able I want to get into politics. I want to be either a city councilor, an assemblyman or something. I feel the need to serve the American people. I learned a lot about myself when I was in Guantanamo. It really pushed me towards the need to serve.”

There are 2 comments

  1. Desmond Simpson

    i love that mr.murce brown,i pray that you keep up the good work and to be
    continue in the army reserve.
    if i did living in the US i would be apart
    of the army reserve but i live
    a the way in montego bay Jamaica.
    Thankyou mr.Maurice Brown.


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