Waiting outside professor Joe Caddell’s office in Hamilton Hall, Ross Oldham zipped open his green canvas bag Wednesday in search of materials for an upcoming make-up exam.
But Oldham, a peace, war and defense major and former Marine, doesn’t just visit Caddell out of necessity.
As a fellow veteran himself, Caddell has taken a mentor role for students like Oldham, providing a comfortable environment to reminisce on days of battle.
A former intelligence officer for the Air Force, Caddell has made a career out of his devotion to country and parlayed it into one of education.
He wears a pocketed tan or green military shirt on most days, a constant reminder of the profound way his service has molded his life.
“I never intended to make a career out of it,” Caddell said of his time in the military. “But I wanted to study it. I wanted firsthand experience.
“But I always knew I enjoyed academic life more than anything.”
From courses on the history of intelligence operations to air or sea power, students said Caddell’s passion — and experience — defy the age-old phrase of “those who can’t do teach.”
On a typical afternoon, Caddell can be found in his office with stacks of books and the company of eager students.