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Athletes Who Serve: Highlighting Eastern athletes who have served in the military.

This past Wednesday, the United States celebrated Veterans Day. The holiday (which started out as Armistice Day after the end of World War I) is celebrated to thank those who have served their country in the military. Eastern’s community is extremely supportive of the armed forces; there are a number of Eastern students who participate in ROTC, are on reserve, or are veterans. While this is no surprise, it is great to see that a number of these military students are members of Eastern athletics.

John Mirrione is a senior business administration major and a pitcher on Eastern’s baseball team. He
grew up in a military family; his grandparents and uncles served and taught him to respect the uniform. He originally had no plans to enlist in the military, but after a difficult school year at LaSalle University, he decided to enlist. He enlisted with the United States Army National Guard in 2018, and he has been on reserve ever since he finished his training.

Coach Scott Renauro recruited Mirrione in 2018, and Mirrione was a part of Eastern’s pitching rotation
by the fall of that same year. While he was set to have a successful career at Eastern, an injury set him back and he was unable to play in 2020. These injuries have also dashed his hopes for deployment post-graduation. As the 2021 season (and graduation) approaches, Mirrione hopes to not only continue to serve his country, but he also hopes to get more time on the mound.

Joon Jeong, on the other hand, always knew he would one day be a part of the military. Jeong, a
senior in the athletic training department, was born in South Korea, a country that has mandatory military conscription for all men. All male South Korean citizens must serve a minimum of 20 months in the military due to the tension between North and South Korea. Jeong, who began his time at Eastern in 2014, took a two-year break from 2016 to 2018 to serve his country.

When he returned to Eastern for his sophomore year, Eastern’s men’s volleyball team was just beginning
to form, and Jeong joined the team. Jeong is a defensive player and right side hitter for the Eagles. He ended his first season with the team with multiple digs and winning streaks. Jeong hopes to finish out his senior season strong and is excited to return to South Korea come graduation. He plans to attend dental school in Korea and use his athletic training degree as well.

While these two young men have unique perspectives and circumstances regarding their times in the military, they both came to Eastern and played their hearts out on the field. From all of us at the Waltonian, we thank you, John and Joon, for your service.

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