15 Sep 2014

Veteran Making a Presence at MDCC

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After serving in the Air National Guard with tours in Iraq and Korea, one Mississippi Delta Community College student is finding a new home and a new career path on the Moorhead, Miss., campus.

McLane Milner of Greenwood, Miss., is currently a welding student at MDCC.

A 2004 graduate of Pillow Academy, Milner considered joining the U.S. Army immediately afMcClane_Milner_Uniform_Pic.jpgter high school, but changed his mind at the last minute. Instead, he began his college career at MDCC, but discovered that he was lacking the direction and motivation necessary for college success.

Milner notes, “You are not going to learn what you don’t want to know. Some people learn the hard way, and some people figure it out.”

He quit college after a year to join the workforce, and soon joined the Alabama Air National Guard’s 187th fighter wing as an F16 crew chief. During his service, he served a three and one-half month tour in Iraq in 2009 and a month and one-half tour in Korea in 2010. After being honorable discharged in 2012, Milner returned home to Greenwood, Miss.

“I didn’t really have a sense of direction coming out of high school, but I learned the advantages of what the military could provide,” Milner says. “I joined the military to help pay for school, and it’s paying off now.”

For those struggling to find their path after high school, he says, “The military is the perfect place to find the discipline and the gumption to want to do better for yourself. The biggest thing I learned in the military is discipline.” That discipline is paying off in the classroom, where Milner is currently enrolled in the school’s welding program.

MDCC’s welding program is a career course designed to develop skills in various methods of welding. Throughout the program, the student is taught arc welding, oxyacetylene torch, plasma arc cutting, mig welding, and tungsten inert gas techniques on both ferrous and non-ferrous metals. Classroom instruction also is received in blueprint reading, welding metallurgy, welding theory, types of welding machines, and manual inert gas techniques. At the end of the second semester, students are prepared to take the American Welding Society Code Test for arc welders and seek employment.

Leading MDCC’s program is instructor Roger Wright. Milner says, “He’s a splendid teacher. He doesn’t tell you anything you don’t need to know. It’s all about safety.”

Milner previously worked for Wright in Wright’s private business, and the instructor was convinced his young employee could accomplish more through MDCC’s welding program.

The Milner family is not new to MDCC, as the younger Milner’s grandfather was instrumental in developing the college’s dental hygienist program.

The late Dr. Arthur Hugo Richter, Greenwood’s first dentist and an Air Force veteran himself, also got his start in the military. A Greenwood native, Milner says, “My grandfather saw that dental hygiene wasn’t a very big factor here in the Delta, and wanted to do something to correct that. He wanted people to take better care of their mouths.”

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