L. G. Corder
In-state student spent years in and out of military service before graduating with law degree from WVU
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. L.G. Corder came to West Virginia University for the first time in 1998 but didn’t get off on the right foot with classes. After two semesters, he decided to leave and head back home to Belington.
“I thought I had it all figured out when I came from high school,” he said. “I had great grades, I had a varsity letter in three sports, I was our student body president. When I left that small environment, though, I was a really, really small fish in a really, really big pond – I just wasn’t ready for the independence.”
He worked several odd jobs once at home, but after having enough of those gigs, he decided to pursue a career with the U.S. Army.
“When I talked to the recruiter, I told them I just wanted to jump out of airplanes,” he said. “That’s exactly what they did for me.”
In the 82nd Airborne Division, he was a light-weight vehicle mechanic and a recovery specialist. About two years into his four-year commitment to the Army, he married his high school sweetheart, Tracie.
He served two deployments in his first two years to Iraq, but those lasted less than a handful of months each.
“I thought I was going to stay in the Army for a career, but I still wanted to get my degree, and I wanted to do that through WVU,” he said.
Two years later after he got back and started to take classes again at WVU, he received a life-changing letter in the mail.
“When you sign up, you really owe the military eight years, so I was inactive ready reserve, and I got my Western Union telegram and had to ruck up and go back overseas,” he said. “It was really tough, because I had just got readjusted to school. I found my niche.”
Back for good
The GI Bill allowed Corder to come back to WVU when he returned home from his final stint in Iraq the longest of his three deployments.
He has since earned a bachelor’s degree in international studies, with an emphasis in national security and intelligence, and will be receiving his law degree this May.
He and his wife have a 1-year-old son, Emmett, and Corder has decided to end a career in the military to be with his family.
“It was a tough decision to make, because the military has been really good to us,” he said. “There’s no middle ground; when it’s good, it’s great. It’s a box of ammunition and a 50-caliber machine gun on the range. When it’s bad, it’s really bad. It’s a year away from your family in the desert.
“Now that I have a son, I just can’t imagine going back over there.”