Meet Telling: Southwest Veteran Joseph Cofield
The Florida Humanities Council partners with The Telling Project, a national effort to bring veterans’ stories of military service to local communities. “Telling: Southwest Florida” features four veterans from the Army and Marine Corps.
Each week, we will tell you a little more about each veteran. Today, we spotlight Joseph Cofield, U.S. Army veteran.
Joseph Cofield first joined the Army in 1976, starting with the Delayed Entry Program. His enlistment came after the conclusion of the Vietnam War, but tensions with the Soviet Union were beginning to increase. “Serving during the Cold War taught me why our constitution and our nation are so special,” Cofield says. He initially believed training would take place at Fort Jackson, South Carolina, but was eventually transferred to Fort Gordon, Georgia.
After graduating from basic training, Joseph entered Advanced Individual Training at Fort Gordon, assigned as a signal specialist. A majority of Joseph’s 21 years of military service occurred in Europe, particularly Germany. Stateside tours include Fort Stewart, Georgia; Fort Gordon, Georgia; and Fort Sill, Oklahoma. During his Army service, Cofield also trained as a Chaplain Assistance as a secondary MOS.
Once he retired from the military, Joseph pursued his passion for education. “It took me 25 years to achieve my dream but I am proof that hard work, dedication, and commitment can make your dream a reality,” Cofield explained. “I want everyone to know that the American Dream is still alive and well.” He believes his service provides an example to others. “My son and niece are now serving in the military and many family members are achieving college success because they saw how the military shaped my life even in civilian life. My story is the shaping of a patriot and citizen.”
Joseph runs Constitution Project, Inc. The goal of the organization is to give every fifth grade student in the state of Florida a pocket U.S. Constitution booklet, a population of over 200,000 students.