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Updated 3:00 PM May 2, 2006




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Spotlight: I'M'ages of home

Serving with the Navy Customs Battalion QUEBEC in Kuwait, Warren Noone, like many people in the military, welcomes items that remind him of home.
(Photo courtesy Warren Noone)

Imagine the excitement when Noone, a Department of Mathematics staff member, stumbled across an especially familiar piece of graffiti painted on a wall in Kuwait—"M Go Blue."

"Given that I was on a trip to the border of Kuwait and Iraq, I was very surprised," says Noone, who is on the first extended deployment of his 22-year Navy Reserve career. "It felt like a little bit of home was following me around. I immediately had to have a picture of it to send back to my office in Mathematics."

Although painted in the colors of a rival university—green—the sign was a welcome one for Noone, who is serving a year overseas after his Jan. 3 deployment. Noone says he has not seen many other signs of collegiate life, save for the time he ran into an Army officer wearing a Michigan State T-shirt at an outdoor function.

"I immediately began to hassle him and soon we were teasing each other about the most famous college rivalry," Noone says. "Other than that, most of the flags and T-shirts here at Camp Arifjan focus on the military."

Noone's battalion comprises Navy Reservists from 42 states. It performs customs inspections on all personnel and equipment leaving the area and returning to the United States to ensure no contraband items—war souvenirs, weapons, ammunition or antiquities—or possible environmental/biological contaminants such as dirt, sand or insects are carried into the United States.

Noone has worked at the University since 1993 in various positions in Communication Studies, Chemistry, Psychology and Mathematics. Before he was mobilized to Operation Iraqi Freedom earlier this year, Noone was the director of student services in Mathematics.

"My supervisor and, in fact, the entire mathematics department were very supportive and understanding when I was notified of my recall, asking me if I wanted them to hold my job for me," Noone says. "Co-workers have been very supportive of me and have kept me in touch with life at the University."

Upon his return to U-M in January, Noone will work with Michigan Math and Science Scholars—a summer program that brings talented high school students from around the world to campus for classes in math and science.

Noone says his time in Kuwait has been busy, with long days and little time off. The worst part, he says, is the separation from his wife, Kathy, and children, Alana, 12, and Sean, 9, from friends and co-workers, and the events he will miss during his yearlong deployment.

"But, all in all, it has been a marvelous experience, and I am grateful to be given the chance to serve my country in any capacity," he says.

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