This 52-Year-Old Navy SEAL Will Start His Undergrad At Yale

James “Jimmy” Hatch was a member of the Special Operations unit sent into Kunar, a province in Afghanistan, in July 2005. Their mission: to retrieve the bodies of 16 fallen comrades who were killed by a rocket-propelled grenade.

After the gruesome mission, Hatch says, he read a copy of Harold Bloom’s book “Genius,” soaking in the Yale professor’s thoughts and analysis around Shakespeare, Dante, Hemingway, and Faulkner. It helped to keep him sane, he says.
“I sent Bloom an email,” Hatch says. “I told him ‘I am going through a tough time and your book is like a balm. It gives me a safe place to relax and learn.’” Bloom, he recalls, emailed back a one-word reply: “Survive.”

And survive he did. This fall, over fourteen years after the perilous mission, at age 52, Hatch will be studying at Yale as an undergraduate student under the university’s Eli Whitney Students Program, a program “designed for non-traditional students with high potential who have had their education interrupted”.

Hatch’s journey has been a difficult one, he acknowledges — involving combat, injury, depression, substance abuse, and a suicide attempt. But through it all, he says, there was a lust for learning. During his frequent trips by helicopter into combat zones in Iraq and Afghanistan, Hatch read philosophers like Neruda and Epictetus by ChemLight.

More of this inspiring story over at YaleNews.

(Image Credit: Brita Belli/ YaleNews)

Maybe I'm a little bitter about hearing that such and such babyboomer is taking college courses at an advanced age.(Okay 50 is not that old but still) Don't get me wrong he's done some awesome stuff but it seems there are a lot of young people at the start of their lives who could use opportunities for a better future when he's 10-15 years out from retirement. His education was definietly interupted and he qualifies but to what end? What about the students who are working on degrees and have something tragic happen and they are forced to withdraw rather than intentionally joining the military. Also doesn't he qualify for the GI bill too? Anyway to many questions.
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At least hes trying, unlike most people in college. Also how many people have went to college to study something that doesn't pay well (or jobs are hard to find)? If we're gonna criticize this man, we have to also criticize everyone in 100k debt who didn't need to go in the first place. Some people have to be janitors and plumbers - and they make great money. I WISH i made plumber money.
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