Mon November 12, 2012
UB Law student reflects on military service on this Veterans Day
A third-year University at Buffalo Law School student is reflecting on his recent military service on this Veterans Day. The decorated veteran of the war in Afghanistan is ready to take on the challenges of being a litigator.
Christopher Safulko was an Army executive officer who was deployed as a scout platoon leader to Afghanistan in 2008. Safulko was awarded the Purple Heart and Bronze Star for his service.
“I was either extremely bored or extremely terrified,” Safulko said. “I can say that I saw progress and that I saw some major setbacks.”
His Law School Professor Christopher O'Brien describes Safulko as one of the best of our nation. But O'Brien says he's a quiet leader. They had to really grill him before he opened up. Safulko admits that's true. He says most returning veterans just want to move on with their lives.
"Veterans are not looking for sympathy but understanding about the challenges they face coming back," Safulko said. "Ninety percent of returning veterans want to continue to serve the community and public in some capacity."
More people than his Law School brethren and colleagues have paid close attention to Safulko’s experiences. Jake Tapper, senior White House correspondent for ABC News, has written a book about the camp — Combat Outpost Keating, where Safulko was stationed. His book, The Outpost, was written after Tapper conducted extensive interviews with Safulko and includes substantial passages on the Buffalo law student. It's due for nationwide release Tuesday.
Safulko and other UB law students have just returned from San Francisco where they participated in a mock trial competition. He says they performed well, but did not win the competition. But Safulko says his time in Afghanistan puts everything in his life in its proper perspective.
Safulko says he is happy he decided to return to his hometown to attend UB Law School.
“SUNY Buffalo Law is a good mix between the core fundamentals classes and a hands-on opportunity with the clinics and the externships,” he says. “For me, being a little bit older, that makes a lot of sense.”