Charlie, Mike, Victor: Student Veterans’ Loss of Purpose

April, 2017

This study explores the experiences of veterans transitioning into higher education. Focusing on how student-veterans sought to define their identities and establish their purpose post service. To understand this a sample of 4 student veterans took part in qualitative interviews.  This study found that participants spoke of the need for supportive environments that foster both a sense of belonging and a sense of purpose in the academic setting.


As student veteran populations and visibility have increased on campus, some scholars have explored how higher education works (or fails to work) to serve those who have served their country. In military radio jargon, “Charlie Mike” means, “continue the mission.” In this study, the mission was transitioning to and persisting through college and the participants were Student-Veterans and Service-Members (SVSM) – a term coined by Arminio, Grabosky, and Lang (2015). Thus – “Charlie Mike Victor” – focuses on the continuation of the mission for several “victors” – the phonetic “v” in ”Victor” here meaning “veterans.” In this study the concept of self-authorship (Baxter Magolda, 2007; Baxter Magolda & King, 2012) was combined with Schlossberg’s (1981) transition theory to explore the experiences of SVSM in higher education. This study seeks to build on the existing scholarship and more fully explore the role of various identities in the experience of SVSM.

Full Reference

Boettcher, M. L., Jantz, R., Salmon, M., & Taylor, J. K. (2017). Charlie, Mike, Victor: Student Veterans' Loss of Purpose. Journal of Veterans Studies, 2(1), 50–68. DOI:

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