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Service In Afghanistan Pays For School
by Kate King

Photo Courtesy Kate King

Riley, left, and Moll in Afghanistan

Editor's note: Kevin Moll and Alex Riley are best friends who enlisted in the Connecticut National Guard together when they were seniors at Norwich Free Academy high school. They were both interested in the military and needed money to pay for school. Free tuition for working only one weekend a month, and two weeks a year, didn't seem like a bad deal. They didn't think about the possibility of getting deployed.

After four months of basic training, Moll and Riley began their college careers in the spring of 2005 Moll at UConn and Riley at Eastern Connecticut State University, In January 2006, after two semesters of college, they learned that they were being deployed to Afghanistan. After a year of active combat, they are back in school.

Now that he has been back in civilian life for a year, Kevin Moll said he doesn't really think about his deployment that much.

He's too busy with his life as a college student. When he left for Afghanistan, he had a 2.9 grade point average. During his deployment however, he realized the importance of his college education and returned to UConn determined to improve his grades. In his first semester back, Moll made the Dean's List in UConn's Academic Center for Exploratory Studies program and was accepted into the School of Business.

"Having a year and a half to think about what I [wanted for my future] made me get focused," Moll said. "Right now I'm shooting to make the Dean's List in the Business School and I'm on target to do that."

In addition to his schoolwork, Moll cites his involvement with UConn's Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity as an activity that has helped him transition back to student life after serving in combat. He was recently nominated and elected to serve as the chapter's treasurer for next year.