Record Number of Military Members Going to College - KTVN Channel 2 - Reno Tahoe Sparks News, Weather, Video

Record Number of Military Members Going to College

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25-year-old Tom La Marr is part of a growing number of veterans who are going back to school as they struggle to return to civilian life.

"They give you a one-way plane ticket to wherever you came from and then you have to hit the ground running."

La Marr fought two tours in Iraq. He still suffers from a shoulder injury and post tramautic stress disorder.

Benefits from the G.I. Bill enable him to attend UCLA for free.

In 2001, about 421,000 service members and their families used the G.I. Bill to go back to school.

With more troops returning from overseas, the number more than doubled to 945,000 last year.

"What value do you place in education?"

Pasadena City College professor Harold Martin teaches a transition course just for troops. They explore everything from financial aid to depression.

As a Vietnam Veteran, Martin understands the struggles.

"We as a country, we wrote checks that these men and women had to cash with their sacrifices. They were there for us. They expected us to do right by them."

La Marr now has one more reason to pursue his education.

He and his wife are expecting their first child - a daughter.

"So you think your degree will inevitably shape her life too?

"Definitely, and that's a...recent motivation in my life to continue my education."

La Marr works part-time at the veterans resource center on campus, and hopes to become a clinical psychologist for the VA.

He wants to help other veterans get back on their feet.

At the height of the war in Afghanistan, there were 100,000 troops deployed - that's dropped to less than half that.

In Iraq, troop levels reached as high as 164,000 in 2007, but now only 150 military personnel remain.

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