Profiles of student veterans: Jonathan Cuha

Samara Freemark
Public Insight Network
Jonathan Cuha

Sgt. Jonathan Cuha served in Iraq during his time in the Army. (Photo shared by Sgt. Jonathan Cuha)

Sgt. Jonathan Cuha served as an infantryman in the Army from 2005 through 2009, during which he was deployed to Iraq.

He’s a reservist now, and completed a two-year pre-med degree before applying to universities near his home in Salem, Ore. He wrote about the difficulties of being in school after spending years in the military.

 – Samara Freemark

The Army was everything I ever knew. It was my whole life.

I was lost when I got out three years ago, and I still am in some ways. My body is broken, my mind is stressed with the memories of my loved and lost, and I have no friends because it means nothing to have them. What is a “friend” after you have had brothers who would and have died for you?

I am a 26-year-old college student, where my classmates are 18. I am just starting my life, after I have lived a complete one already.


Samara Freemark Reporter
Public Insight Network

Reporter/producer Samara Freemark joined the Public Insight Network after four years at Radio Diaries in New York City, where she spent her time helping ordinary people tell their extraordinary stories for NPR. In the process, she developed an unshakeable belief in the beauty and power of personal narrative.

Before Radio Diaries Samara worked as an environmental reporter, a posting that took her to sinking islands, Superfund sites, and literal snakepits – Burmese pythons, to be exact. She also churned out copy and tape in the newsroom of WUOM Ann Arbor. Before settling on a career in radio she tried out policy research, community organizing, and urban planning before deciding she preferred soundwaves to spreadsheets.