When Lt. Col. David Oclander ’85 retired from the Army in 2012, he left behind a distinguished career that included 23 years as an Army Ranger with the 82nd Airborne; two tours in Iraq and one in Afghanistan, where he commanded a battalion task force; and a prestigious posting to the Pentagon Joint Staff. One day, David realized that homicides in Chicago were outnumbering troop deaths in Afghanistan, and his life took a sudden turn. After leaving the Army, David decided to take on a new challenge: teaching in an inner-city Chicago School.
David is one of the veterans whose inspiring story is featured in For Love of Country: What Veterans Can Teach Us About Citizenship, Heroism, and Sacrifice, by Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz and Washington Post reporter Rajiv Chandrasekaran. Through a series of profiles, the book demonstrates that veterans have much to contribute to our country long after they’ve left the service.
David has continued working in education, and he’s currently the principal at Central Collegiate Academy in Detroit. David’s story was one of those shared during the 2014 Concert for Valor, which has held on Veteran’s Day at the National Mall. You can watch Will Smith narrate the concert’s profile of David below.
Photo courtesy of Education Achievement Authority of Michigan