Purple Heart veteran pursuing degree at JMU

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HARRISONBURG, Va. (WDBJ7) -- Veterans Day is Saturday, November 11th.

Among many other veterans who will be honored on that day is William Chapman.

He is currently pursuing his accounting degree at James Madison University, but he has a lot more life experience under his belt than a typical college student.

Chapman enlisted in the Marine Corps before the end of his senior year of high school.

He attended thirteen weeks of boot camp, and was deployed in December of 2009.

While on patrol in Afghanistan, he was ambushed and evacuated. He had his spleen removed in surgery for his wounds, which disqualified him from the service he wanted to continue.

Chapman received a Purple Heart for his service.

After recovering, he joined a Wounded Warrior battalion, and then went on to be an instructor for an orientation platoon in Camp Johnson.

"I think I was able to help prepare them for what was coming ahead and help get them in the right mindset; they're about to become actual Marines and leave student status, so I think I was able to help groom them and get them in the right mindset to be successful in their training," said Chapman.

While in the Wounded Warrior battalion, he completed two semesters of school.

Chapman is now a junior at JMU, and says that he would not be where he is today without his military background.

"For me, military service was almost like a calling, it was just something that seemed like I was meant to do. It wasn't like a choice that I made kind of fly of the moment, but I knew going into boot camp that I was meant to be there," said Chapman. "So I think that anybody who kind of has that same feeling and has that same calling to the military, that they should definitely pursue it."

Chapman will graduate from JMU next December and wants to eventually work with non-profits: possibly Wounded Warriors.