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Christian Callenders military transition after 9/11

Capt. Christian Callenders decision to re-enlist in the army following the Sept. 11 attacks set life
on a completely different path.

A captain and teachers societal role after tragedy


Capt. Christian Callender, also a teacher, re-enlists after 9/11
By Aminat Yahaya
Capt. Christian Callender stood in front of a classroom lecturing students when he heard
about the al-Qaida terrorist attacks on the twin towers at the World Trade Center on Sept. 11,
2001. After calling his wife and family to ensure their safety, Callender made the decision to reenlist in the army with the intent to stay until the end of the war. His choice on 9/11 would
become the unexpected turning point in his life.
Christian Callender, a Columbia Md. resident,
leads a double life. As a civilian, he is a social studies
teacher in the Howard County Public School System.
Callender is also Commander of the 29th Mobile
Public Affairs Detachment, a military unit assigned
with telling the U.S. Armys story. His role involves
coordinating the embedment of journalists and
Capt. Christian Callender commands the 29th Mobile
Public Affairs Detachment in Baghdad, Iraq. Source:
Facebook

speechwriters in wars.

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Callenders background
Christian Callender, 42, hails from Baltimore where lived with his parents and brother. In
high school, Callender enlisted to join the army during the first Gulf War. He earned a Bachelor
of Science from Towson University and a masters degree from Loyola University. He stationed
in Germany in the OPFOR, as an opposing force tasked with representing the enemy in combat
training scenarios. In Cuba, he worked with a military intelligence company to provide security
for Camp Delta at Guantanamo Bay. In Iraq, he directed a media operations center for the
security of journalists.
Living and breathing the military
Capt. Christian Callenders
Achievements
Bronze Star Medal
Army Achievement Medal
National Defense Service
Medal
Army Reserve Component
Achievement Medal
National Defense Service
Medal
Iraq Campaign Medal
Global War on Terror
Expeditionary Medal
Armed Forces Reserve
Medal

Christian Callender began his military career 20 years ago


as a combat infantryman. He served as a recon scout in the cavalry
and a field artillery officer for the 2nd Battalion, 110th Field
Artillery Regiment, Maryland Army National Guard. He became
commissioned as a second lieutenant in 2003. He now serves as a
public affairs officer and speechwriter for generals.
Capt. Kurt Rauschenberg, a co-worker and friend of
Callenders for more than 8 years served together with him in
Baghdad, Iraq. He described Callender as an intelligent, calm and

collected thinker who made excellent judgment calls that revolutionized the unit to a unique
level.

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Re-directing life
The events of 9/11 set Christian Callenders life on an utterly different path. Married only
four months earlier, he previously assured his family he was done with the military. Though
Danielle, his wife, disagreed with him rejoining the military, a tenacious Callender, stuck to his
choice. The decision to re-enlist affected their whole lives. My life would be dramatically
different if I had not gone back into the Army. I would have
had Olivia much sooner, Callender said.
However, not everyone met Callenders decision
with disapproval. His father agreed and provided his support.
That was a difficult time in America. I believe the people
who signed up at that time were special - It separated the
men from the boys DJ Callender said, I am proud of my
son. In a way, he is my hero, and I dont say that lightly.
Applying the Star Wars principle

Capt. Christian Callender


wraps his arms around Olivia.
Source: Facebook

A man with many interests, though none greater than history and anthropology, Christian
Callender loves to enlighten others. A teacher for about 15 years, Callender has taught at Saint
Peters School in Olney, and in the Howard County Public School System; Wilde Lake High
School, Reservoir High School and Glenelg High School. Callender based his teaching style
model on the mentor-student relationship between Obi-Wan Kenobi and Luke Skywalker.
Callender cannot imagine himself in another career path because it is idyllic working
with kids and explaining history. Callender claims he enjoys seeing his students doing great
things and hopes he makes a difference in their lives.
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A former student at Wilde Lake testified to


his positive influence, I found his teaching style
refreshing and effective. I felt respected for my
questions, opinions and concerns, James Morton
said. I was disappointed when he didnt come
back but Im glad I experienced his class. I thank
him for his service, both as a military man and an
Capt. Christian Callender attends the graduation
of his student, James Morton. Source: Facebook

educator.
What the future holds

Recently due for a promotion to Major, Christian Callender reflects on the title he never
thought he would earn when he started as a private. He is now on his last command and intends
to serve for three more years as a battalion or brigade staff officer before retiring and returning to
civilian life. As a teacher, he expects to teach for another 15 years and spend the remainder of his
life quietly - A radically different scenario from the one that altered his path.

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