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“ It is absolutely incredible how much stress a human being can take and still continue to function.” wrote alumnus James Mackler (’97) in his blog on January 22, 2005 He was not referring to his first year of law

After a year and a half of grueling training camps

school or the “big, ugly concrete building”

in Oklahoma, Alabama, and Kentucky, and with his

better known as Condon Hall. Mackler wrote

law school days far behind him, Mackler readied for

the blog entry after completing Survival Evasion

deployment to Iraq. Mackler remembers the day in

Resistance and Escape (SERE) training in

May 2005 when he stood for his Division review at

southern Alabama. SERE is a military program

Ft. Campbell in Kentucky:

all crucial for Black Hawk helicopter pilots preparing for deployment to Iraq. On September 11, 2001, Mackler, then a successful litigation attorney in Colorado, felt driven to defend his country. Joining the FBI was the logical choice for the UW School of Law grad, but the FBI was not hiring lawyers at the time. So, like many other young men and women, Mackler contacted his local army recruiter. There was only one problem – Mackler was 30 years old, much older than the other recruits. Mackler applied for an age waiver, finally entering the army on November 11, 2003. Encouraged to attend officer candidate school, the former Public Interest Law Association (PILA) grant recipient, President of the Moot Court Honor Board, and Member of the Order of Barristers and Order of the Coif could have easily become a member of the JAG Corps. Instead, he chose to become a helicopter pilot. Mackler was the oldest member of his class, which primarily consisted of 18 to 20-year-olds, most of whom were recently out of high school.

The plan, rehearsed the previous day, was for all the companies in the 5th Battalion to form up at the staging area. We would then march together to the parade field and link with the rest of the division for the planned review. I met with Bravo Company and joined my co-workers in a mass formation. The First Sergeants proceeded to arrange everyone in the Battalion in size order. I am about average height, and as a result, found myself standing in the center of the formation. This is an ideal location for blending in. I listened, smiling to myself, as the Specialist next to me complained to the Sergeant next to her. “All of my friends are short and not standing near me,” she said. “Make some friends in this area,” the Sergeant suggested. “Nah,” she said, inclining her head toward me. “The only people around here are snobby aviators.” “They have no reason to be snobby,” the Sergeant informed her. “They are not even required to have college diplomas anymore.” I smiled but had to say something. Just loud enough for the two of them to hear I muttered, “I don’t need no fancy book learnin’ Sergeant.”

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survival skills and the military code of conduct,

uw law

that provides training in evading capture,

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UW Law Alumni Magazine - Fall 2011