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Instruction, to attend the elite United States Military Academy at West Point. He has since spent nearly two decades in the Army, mostly in the military police, and today leads the 118 ROTC cadets in Loyola’s Rambler Battalion. He calls teaching cadets his dream job. “Loyola’s mission is about service, and the Army’s mission is about service. They strengthen each other,” he said. Over the years Bugajski has


deployed to Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Afghanistan, and South Korea; wrote military policy at the Pentagon; and


much of his time was spent work- ing in intelligence. “I found that my undergrad degree in history worked really well with the reports I had to produce as an intelligence officer,” said Leffner, who later became a high school social studies teacher. Leffner spent three years in


Frankfurt, Germany, where he worked in an intelligence center to monitor what was happening across Europe, then transferred to another intelligence post in Maryland. His last assignment was serving as a sup- port officer for the U.S. Army Foreign


in civilian clothes at a restaurant in Arizona when he was flagged down by the same soldier he’d assisted all those years ago. “I wanted to thank you for helping me when I was going through training. That meant a lot to me,” the soldier told him. Those were the moments that kept


Leffner committed to military life. “Serving your country is tied into Loyola’s mission of serving others,” he said. “Also, Loyola’s mission is to produce graduates who will persist in seeking justice, helping people, and giving people opportunities, and


Being part of such a great care team and being able to take care of someone and bring them back from the brink—it was just an amazing experience. I’d do it again in a heartbeat.” — BRIGADIER GENERAL CYNTHIA O’CONNELL (BS ’81)


led an 800-soldier unit that was responsible for military prisoners at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. In Afghanistan, he served as speech- writer for a four-star general, sit- ting in high-level meetings with Afghanistan’s president and tour- ing the surrounding countries with senior military leaders. “Most people don’t really know the great opportu- nities the military affords,” Bugajski said. “My time in the military has made me a better person. It’s hard- ened my character; it’s hardened my resolve to help others and grow.” The variety of opportunities kept


Maj. Leonard Leffner (BA ’74) in the service longer than he expected. After graduating from Loyola, the former ROTC cadet spent the next 20 years on active duty, hopscotching to Army bases across America and Germany. His assignments ranged from train- ing Army mechanics and truck driv- ers to teaching ROTC cadets, but


Counterintelligence Activity, oversee- ing personnel, security, and logistics for what he describes as “the spy catcher unit.” One of his most memorable


assignments was serving as assis- tant chief of the Pentagon’s intelli- gence watch team. “You work 12-hour shifts and keep an eye on the whole world,” he said. “That was really neat. You’re briefing three-star generals and they’re making decisions on how to commit people or assets based on what you’re telling them.”


MAKING AN IMPACT But it’s the personal connections


that stand out the most. Leffner will never forget a moment early in his career when a young soldier turned to him for help with family prob- lems. Leffner connected him to Army Emergency Relief and urged him to call home. Years later, Leffner was


those are all part of what we do in the military.” O’Connell, who last May received


an honorary Doctorate of Science from Loyola, recalls many memorable moments from her 35 years in the medical service corps. But she espe- cially treasures the time she spent in Afghanistan. Because resources were stretched so thin, the hospital was supposed to treat only civilians who were injured from U.S. operations and whose injuries threatened “life, limb, or eyesight.” But O’Connell took in every patient she could. “My upbring- ing said that we care for all, and it was really a gift to be able to give out so much good will and humanitarian care,” she said. In the trauma ward that


Thanksgiving day waited a family of seven, including two children, who had accidentally set off an IED as they rode together on a single motorcycle. The boy, around age 9, had lost an


WINTER 2018 27


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