The Dos and Don’ts of Veteran Interview Tips

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A Military Veteran and his wife wrapped in an american flag in a field of tall dried out grass

Many civilian employers have admitted challenges when it comes to evaluating a veteran during a job interview – this is why these veteran interview tips  will give you an extra edge. Often, veterans have difficulty explaining how their military experience relates to the needs of the civilian employer.

Additionally, while veterans will be quick to praise their team or unit, they are typically not self-boastful in interviews, so civilian employers can often feel like veteran candidates are not “selling themselves.” This where these veteran interview tips will come in hand

It is important to keep in mind that the concept of professional presentation is often different for former military personnel than for civilians. Military personnel (particularly those recently separated/discharged from military service) will often present themselves with eyes forward, back straight and using “Sir” and “Ma’am” vocabulary (often without much smiling). This behavior may be misperceived as cold, distant, unapproachable or demonstrating a lack of social skills. While this is generally not the case, these perceptions have caused many service members to be discarded early in the interview process.

Hire Our Heroes

Employers should recognize that former military personnel may need permission to “speak freely” to create a comfort level where they can appear in the most positive light. Heeding these veteran interview tips are essential for the process to hire our heroes. Hiring managers should be encouraged to be patient with these candidates and to “dig deep” with follow up questions to find qualities that are not apparent at first glance. It is worth remembering that veteran candidates, unlike many civilian candidates, may not be accustomed to interviewing and may require a little latitude.

Know What You Can and Should Not Ask During an Interview

First and foremost, interviewing a veteran or wounded warrior is no different than interviewing any other candidate. It is important to ask all questions of all candidates, without exception. A good interviewing practice is to ask all candidates the following question: “Have you read the job description? Yes or no — can you, with or without a reasonable accommodation, perform the essential functions of the job?” You are not asking the candidate to disclose whether or not they have a disability but are ensuring they can perform the essential functions of the job. In addition, you make it clear that as an employer you understand this process and are not likely to discriminate due to disability.

 

Great questions to ask veterans can include:

  • What is in the job description that interests you most?
  • Can you, with or without a reasonable accommodation, perform the essential functions of the job?
  • What type of training and education did you receive in the military?
  • Were you involved in the day-to-day management of people or supplies?

 

Questions you should NEVER ask veterans include:

  • What type of discharge did you receive?
  • Are you to be called up for duty anytime soon?
  • Did you experience any combat operations?
  • How could you leave your family while you were deployed?
  • Have you ever killed anyone?
  • Do you have post-traumatic stress disorder?

 

Making a Decision

If you feel like the veteran you interviewed for the position is simply not the right fit, you shouldn’t feel obligated to hire a veteran just because they are veteran. You should considering these veteran interview tips when when you feel to be inclusive to our heroes. However, you do need to take special factors into consideration when it comes to making a final decision on whether you should hire a veteran:

  • Did the veteran progress throughout his/her military career?
  • Identify the strengths such as leadership, accountability and team building
  • Look for compatibility — did the veteran match their military skills with the position?
  • Remember veterans have a myriad of soft skills, like leadership and flexibility
  • Veterans possess skills that can make them some of your best employees

Make sure that whatever your decision for hiring, that you hire the veteran because they are the best candidate. In the end, it will be the most beneficial to the employer and employee alike.

 

Sources: Obama White House Archives, Department of Veteran Services Ohio

Veterans at Bloomberg Bring Their Values and Skills to the Workplace

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Samuel Etienne in uniform smiling

Service doesn’t stop at the military; it extends into the civilian world. But the transition from military to civilian life can be challenging. Matching veterans’ strengths with employers’ needs fosters growth, understanding and success for all.

At Bloomberg, we respect and admire our employees’ service and appreciate that our own values – like innovation, collaboration, and doing the right thing – are equally recognized within the military and veteran community.

Here, members of our military & veterans community share how they have transferred their values and skills to the workplace:

 

 

Samuel Etienne

Royal Artillery Officer, British Army / Reporter and Associate Producer, Bloomberg News

Which values and skills from the military have been useful as a Bloomberg employee? 

Adapt and overcome. I used the problem-solving tools and mindset required to quickly adapt to new situations and formulate plans to overcome challenges to great length during the newsroom rotator program; I would change jobs every three months for a year and have to learn new working processes, jargon, and skills within a short time frame in order to add value promptly.

 

Jamilla Smith

Jamilla Smith

Operations Sergeant, Army Reserves / HBCU Diversity Recruiter

Which values and skills from the military have been useful as a Bloomberg employee?

The values & skills I gained from the military are leadership, integrity, attention to detail, resourcefulness, teamwork, and adaptability. They’ve been useful in my role as a Diversity Recruiter because I have to use attention to detail when I engage with my schools, candidates, and stakeholders. I have to be adaptable as things change at Bloomberg and in the recruitment space, and must be resourceful to try resolving things as much as I can with the resources I have, while collaborating with my team to get the “mission” job done.

 

Matthew Fell

Matthew Fell

Officer, Royal Engineers / COO, D&I function

Which values and skills from the military have been useful as a Bloomberg employee?

The values I have found most useful are selfless commitment and respect for others. Integrity is very high up there as well. They are three of the six values that are instilled in us as members of the British Army. In terms of skills, good communication is key in any walk of life and being able to communicate well is critical to being able to get projects and tasks completed successfully at Bloomberg.

 

Gabriel Sanchez

Gabriel Sanchez

Corporal (meritorious), Legal Services Specialist, United States Marine Corps / Earnings Specialist, Breaking News

Which values and skills from the military have been useful as a Bloomberg employee?

“Grow where you’re planted.” One does not make many choices about where they are or what they do in the military. The reminder to be content with what one has, while working with what’s at hand to strive for more, is often useful.

Click here to read the full article on Bloomberg.

How to Make Your MilSpouse Resume Shine

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woman looking over notes on notepad smiling wearing glasses

By Kristi Stolzenberg

If you ever run an internet search for the phrase “military spouse resume,” you’ll be swimming in articles offering tips for a winning military spouse resume.

Now, if you are a janitor’s spouse, or a CPA’s spouse, you’ll probably come up short. To my knowledge, military spouses are the only group receiving specific resume guidance just because of their spouse’s career.

Ever read one of those articles promising the tips for a winning military spouse resume? The advice is not remotely exclusive to military spouses. We aren’t the only population with resume gaps, we aren’t the first to include volunteer work on a professional resume and we certainly aren’t the only ones changing jobs every few years (though we might have the best excuse).

But somewhere between the white gloves and military spouse employment revolution, someone cast the military spouse resume as complicated. We were told not to disclose our status as military spouses because it could lead to hiring discrimination.

Flash forward to 2022. We now have a federal military spouse hiring preference, employment partnerships, spouse license reciprocity legislation and — cherry on top — COVID-19 showed all the skeptics that personal and professional lives can actually coexist. We can now safely say there is no need to mask your status as a military spouse on your resume.

The great John Steinbeck once said, “Now that you don’t have to be perfect, you can be good.” “Good” in this case means allowing ourselves to be strong candidates on paper based on all our accomplishments whether or not they give away your military spouse status, especially in those occasional employment gaps. Let’s get into it:

The Resume Gap: I said it before, but it’s worth repeating. We don’t own the resume gap. Anyone who has ever left the office to be a stay-at-home parent or start a business or to wanderlust across the globe has a resume gap. Anyone who has ever been laid off has a resume gap. It is not unique to military spouses. Don’t let it intimidate you into not pursuing a fulfilling career or into taking a job that isn’t fulfilling just to avoid the gap.

No matter the why behind the gap, find an experience to fill the void — it doesn’t have to be a huge time commitment either. Volunteer somewhere that can be connected back to your lane of expertise. Take a class. Sit on a board for something.

The Spouse Club or Base Organization: Should you include the spouse club on your resume? It depends. Did you hold a leadership position in the club? Did you manage people or finances or plan major events? Were there any major accomplishments during your term? And do they apply to what you’re applying for? If yes, then include it!

The Volunteer: I reviewed a resume recently for a friend, and she had not included any volunteer work at all. Contrast that with my resume that is 50 percent philanthropic work. I know not every resume reviewer and prospective employer will agree with me on this, but experience is experience. Including philanthropic work not only shows that you give back to your community, but it also shows that you don’t just work for a paycheck — you do a job because you genuinely care about the cause. List current and relevant volunteer experience — period.

The Haiku: We all started somewhere. I’m pretty sure I included my high school job of ice cream scooper on my resume for my first “real” job post-college just for the sake of reaching the end of the page. And that’s OK. When you need to demonstrate that you possess certain skills for a job, include whatever you need to from your career thus far (paid or unpaid) to show you’re qualified. Did that job as an ice cream scooper in a tourist hot spot during the summer prepare me for my first job? You better believe it. Communication skills, performing under pressure (that post-dinner rush that had a line out the door was no joke), customer service, money management and so much more.

The Novel: To be clear, I no longer list my job from 20 years ago as an ice cream scooper on my resume. In fact, I’ve worked long enough in the content management, public affairs and legislative affairs lanes that I no longer even list my former middle school teaching jobs — not because they weren’t challenging, but because I have more targeted and recent experience to say what I need to say on paper. When you have more experience, be more selective.

The Hodgepodge: Ever look at your resume and wonder what you’re trying to accomplish? Like the theme is that there is no theme? That is OK, my friends. It’s OK because the job title and the employer are just two parts of what you’re going to include about the job. You are also going to list what your responsibilities were, what skills you used and any accomplishments. In the same way the short resume is temporary, the “little bit of everything” resume is temporary too. Eventually, you’re going to see a trend, and in the meantime, pull out the key components that will connect you to the job you’re seeking.

The Point: The absolute most important rule of resume writing is tailoring it for the job you want. You do this by reading the job description of the job you’re applying for. Print it out. Highlight the job expectations and required skills. Then, think back in your professional past (to be clear this is education, philanthropic and paid experience). Match what you’ve done to what the employer is looking for. Make sure the experience you list clearly demonstrates that you check those boxes.

If you can do that, your qualifications will speak for themselves — which is the whole point of the resume after all. Focus on what you’ve done and drop that undue stress of your military spouse status. If the reviewer can piece it together because you’ve only worked in small base towns no one has ever heard of, good for them. If you get passed over for an interview simply because they suspect you’re a military spouse, you don’t want to work there anyway. And, if you get offered a job, it will be — and should be — because of your own qualifications, not your marital status.

Source: Blog Brigade

Great Jobs for Veterans You May Not Have Considered

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air traffic controller looking out tower wimndow with headphones on

Law enforcement, IT management and the medical field are all career fields that you’ve been told are great for veterans. And while these jobs are fantastic for transitioning veterans in almost every way, they are far from the only options veterans can pursue in their post-military life. Suppose you’re looking for a career different from the “veteran norm” while still providing job security and reasonable salaries. In that case, one of these unique career profiles might be for you:

Dental Hygienist

Job Description: Dental hygienists examine patients for signs of oral diseases, such as gingivitis, and provide preventive care, including oral hygiene.

They also educate patients about oral health. Their job tasks usually include teeth cleaning, taking x-rays, assessing oral health and documenting patient care.

Desired Skillset:

  • Critical thinking
  • Communication
  • Problem-solving skills
  • Dexterity

Education: Dental hygienists typically need an associate degree in dental hygiene; they may also get a bachelor’s degree. Programs usually take three years to complete and offer laboratory, clinical and classroom instruction. Areas of study include anatomy, medical ethics and periodontics — the study of gum disease.

Annual Salary: $77,810

Air Traffic Controller

Job Description: Air traffic controllers coordinate the movement of aircraft to maintain safe distances between them. They manage the flow of aircraft into and out of the airport airspace, guide pilots during takeoff and landing and monitor aircraft as they travel through the skies.

Desired Skillset:

  • Communication
  • Multi-tasking
  • Decision-making skills
  • Math proficiency

Education: Candidates who want to become air traffic controllers typically need an associate or bachelor’s degree, often from an AT-CTI program. Bachelor’s degree fields vary; examples include transportation, business or engineering. Other candidates must have three years of progressively responsible work experience, have completed four years of college or have a combination of both.

Annual Salary: $129,750

School Principal

Job Description: Elementary, middle and high school principals oversee all school operations, including daily activities. They coordinate curriculums, manage staff and provide students with a safe and productive learning environment. In public schools, principals also implement standards and programs set by the school district and state and federal regulations. They evaluate and prepare reports based on these standards by assessing their school’s student achievement and teacher performance.

Desired Skillset:

  • Interpersonal skills
  • Leadership
  • Problem-solving skills
  • Communication

Education: Principals typically need a master’s degree in education leadership or education administration. These master’s degree programs teach prospective principals how to manage staff, create budgets, set goals and work with parents and the community. Principals also need teaching experience.

Annual Salary: $98,870

Wind Turbine Technician

Job Description: Wind turbine service technicians, also known as windtechs, install, maintain and repair wind turbines. They are usually responsible for inspecting wind turbine towers’ exterior and physical integrity, performing maintenance and repairs and collecting turbine data.

Desired Skillset:

  • Physical strength
  • Physical stamina
  • Troubleshooting skills
  • Detail-oriented

Education: Most windtechs learn their trade by attending technical schools or community colleges, where they typically complete certificates in wind energy technology. However, some workers choose to earn an associate degree. Windtechs usually acquire knowledge in mechanical systems, computers, electrical and hydraulic maintenance, first aid, rescue and safety and CPR.

Annual Salary: $56,260

Railroad Workers

Job Description: Railroad workers ensure that passenger and freight trains run on time and travel safely. Some workers drive trains, some coordinate the activities of the trains and others operate signals and switches in the rail yard.

Desired Skillset:

  • Customer-service skills
  • Hearing and visual ability
  • Hand-eye coordination
  • Leadership skills

Education: Rail companies typically require workers to have a high school diploma or equivalent. However, employers may prefer to hire workers with postsecondary education, such as coursework, a certificate, or an associate or bachelor’s degree. Locomotive engineers and conductors must be certified by the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA).

Annual Salary: $64,150

Sources: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Trade-schools.net

A Letter From the Editor–What’s Your Legacy?

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Retired Marine Paul Masi pauses by the name of his high school classmate, Robert Zwerlein.

By Danielle Jackola

As we honor the 40th anniversary of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, I had the privilege of speaking with Jan Scruggs and learning about “The Story Behind the Wall” (page 12). Our conversation prompted some introspection, and I considered my legacy.

As a MilSpouse, I have dedicated my time and treasure to serve our military and military families. My husband retired five years ago. I have continued as a mentor and volunteer by connecting veterans and their spouses to employment opportunities.

There are many ways people are called to a life of service.

In our Veterans Day issue, we celebrate you and commend your service to our country. Many of you continue to serve our military, veteran organizations and your communities in various capacities, working to improve the world.

As The King of Rock ‘n’ Roll, Elvis Presley has had an enduring impact on music and his fans. When Presley was drafted into the Army in 1957, he was eager to prove to naysayers that he could make it as a Soldier. He was “proud of his service” and continues to be the most famous veteran. In our cover story, we reflect on Presley’s time in the Army on page 86 and recognize other “Famous Veterans Throughout History” on page 64.

In this issue, we share Hot Jobs on page 10 for those seeking employment or a career change. For business owners taking the “First Steps on the Road to Certification” to expand their business, visit page 60 to get started. The “PACT Act Passed,” and we share everything you need to know on page 126, including how to file a claim.

On Veterans Day and throughout the year, U.S. Veterans Magazine honors you. We stand in gratitude for your commitment, bravery and the sacrifices you have made in service to our country.

— Danielle Jackola
Editor, U.S. Veterans Magazine
Sr. Manager of Veteran Affairs

Image caption: Retired Marine Paul Masi pauses by the name of his high school classmate, Robert Zwerlein.
Photo credit: Tom Williams/Cq-Roll Call, Inc. Via Getty Images

The Dos and Don’ts of Veteran Interviews

LinkedIn
professional woman seated behind monitor extending her hand

Many civilian employers have admitted challenges when it comes to evaluating a veteran during a job interview. This is often because veterans have difficulty explaining how their military experience relates to the needs of the civilian employer. Additionally, while veterans will be quick to praise their team or unit, they are typically not self-boastful in interviews, so civilian employers can often feel like veteran candidates are not “selling themselves.”

It is important to keep in mind that the concept of professional presentation is often different for former military personnel than for civilians. Military personnel (particularly those recently separated/discharged from military service) will often present themselves with eyes forward, back straight and using “Sir” and “Ma’am” vocabulary (often without much smiling). This behavior may be misperceived as cold, distant, unapproachable or demonstrating a lack of social skills. While this is generally not the case, these perceptions have caused many service members to be discarded early in the interview process.

Employers should recognize that former military personnel may need permission to “speak freely” to create a comfort level where they can appear in the most positive light. Hiring managers should be encouraged to be patient with these candidates and to “dig deep” with follow up questions to find qualities that are not apparent at first glance. It is worth remembering that veteran candidates, unlike many civilian candidates, may not be accustomed to interviewing and may require a little latitude.

Know What You Can and Should Not Ask During an Interview

First and foremost, interviewing a veteran or wounded warrior is no different than interviewing any other candidate. It is important to ask all questions of all candidates, without exception. A good interviewing practice is to ask all candidates the following question: “Have you read the job description? Yes or no — can you, with or without a reasonable accommodation, perform the essential functions of the job?” You are not asking the candidate to disclose whether or not they have a disability but are ensuring they can perform the essential functions of the job. In addition, you make it clear that as an employer you understand this process and are not likely to discriminate due to disability.

Great questions to ask veterans can include:

  • What is in the job description that interests you most?
  • Can you, with or without a reasonable accommodation, perform the essential functions of the job?
  • What type of training and education did you receive in the military?
  • Were you involved in the day-to-day management of people or supplies?

Questions you should NEVER ask veterans include:

  • What type of discharge did you receive?
  • Are you to be called up for duty anytime soon?
  • Did you experience any combat operations?
  • How could you leave your family while you were deployed?
  • Have you ever killed anyone?
  • Do you have post-traumatic stress disorder?

Making a Decision

If you feel like the veteran you interviewed for the position is simply not the right fit, you shouldn’t feel obligated to hire a veteran just because they are veteran. However, you do need to take special factors into consideration when it comes to making a final decision on whether you should hire a veteran:

  • Did the veteran progress throughout his/her military career?
  • Identify the strengths such as leadership, accountability and team building
  • Look for compatibility — did the veteran match their military skills with the position?
  • Remember veterans have a myriad of soft skills, like leadership and flexibility
  • Veterans possess skills that can make them some of your best employees

Make sure that whatever your decision for hiring, that you hire the veteran because they are the best candidate. In the end, it will be the most beneficial to the employer and employee alike.

Sources: Obama White House Archives, Department of Veteran Services Ohio

Resources Every Military Spouse Needs

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military spouse and young family hugging by the front door

As a spouse, you manage the unique challenges of military life. You may take on new roles and adapt to new schedules. Department of Defense has resources to help you and your family thrive.

The Military Family Readiness System

You may choose to live on or off the installation. Either way, your Military Family Readiness System is your go-to source for support. It’s a network of programs and services with resources to help you navigate military life.

Use it to find moving and relocation help, new-parent support, financial fitness content and career counseling.

Networking and Financial Programs

  • The Military and Family Life Counseling Program is free and confidential. It provides short-term, non-medical counseling for service members, their families and survivors. Counselors understand military life, and they can help you manage it. Reach out with questions about various topics, including parenting, moving, deployment, work or the death of a loved one.
  • The Exceptional Family Member Program (EFMP) offers services and resources for families with special needs. EFMP helps families navigate medical and educational systems. Visit or call your Military and Family Support Center for information and assistance.
  • The MilSpouse Money Mission offers a Money 101 course and a range of tips to educate and empower military spouses. Use it to elevate your family with smart money moves.
  • Branch-specific relief programs, such as Army Emergency Relief and the Air Force Aid Society, provide no-interest loans for financial emergencies. These programs must be applied for by your service member but can benefit the entire family.

Careers and Educational Tools

  • The Spouse Education and Career Opportunities program provides education and career guidance for military spouses worldwide. Create and use your MySECO account for resources and tools for all career stages, including training, job readiness and career connections through the Military Spouse Employment Partnership.
  • The Military Spouse Career Advancement Account (MyCAA) scholarship program can help military spouses get credentials to achieve career goals.
  • American Job Centers (AJCs) provide free help to job seekers for various career and employment-related needs. Nearly 2,400 AJCs, funded by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Employment and Training Administration, are located throughout the United States.
  • Skillsoft, in partnership with the USO, is offering active-duty members, veterans and military spouses full access to their collection of training and certification resources. Classes in business operations, DNI, management, sales and marketing, security and programming are just a handful of the many courses available.

Helpful Tools

  • Military OneSource is an excellent resource for information and services. It is available 24/7, anywhere in the world. Access it online or by phone at 800-342-9647 or use OCONUS dialing options.
  • Plan My Move at MilitaryOneSource.mil lets you create custom checklists and guides you through tasks.
  • Plan My Deployment at MilitaryOneSource.mil helps you prepare for deployment. It breaks down each phase and provides planning tools and helpful tips.
  • MilitaryChildCare.com is a website the Department of Defense sponsors. Use it to find military-owned or approved child care anywhere in the world. Fee assistance is available for those who qualify.
  • Homes.mil connects service members and their families with community housing rental listings near military bases.
  • EFMP&Me is a digital tool for families with special needs. It provides EFMP information 24/7 for busy military parents. Families can learn about support services, preparing for a move or deployment, education or medical needs and adjusting to new life situations.
  • Build A Sign is a business that makes sign and banner creations for “welcome home” events quick and easy. They provide their services free to military families, only requiring you to cover shipping costs. Visit BuildASign.com/troops for details.

No matter what stage your family is at in your military journey, you have someone in your corner, and there is always help when you need it.

Sources: U.S. Army, CareerOneStop, Military OneSource, Sandboxx, Skillsoft

Dedicated to your success. That’s our duty to you.

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Our commitment to veterans is part of who we are. Together with our partners, we support hundreds of programs for veterans and their families.

This includes the Department of Defense Skillbridge program, which gives veterans the opportunity to gain valuable civilian work experience through specific industry training, apprenticeships or internships. Because that’s our duty to you.

Learn more at boeing.com/veterans

Challenge Accepted: Mastering Military Transition

LinkedIn

“Women veterans are a strong group of people. They worked hard, deployed, raised families and sacrificed their time, energy and selves to earn their ranks, titles and places in history books that have not yet been written.

Women have great instincts and deserve a seat at every table, in every boardroom, at every town hall meeting and at any discussion where decisions need to be made. Women have always been an integral part of society and [the] future of the world. It’s time that women are put out front to receive the recognition of all the decades of hard work that has been put in to establish a legacy in the armed forces.” -retired Master Gunnery Sergeant Carla Perez, USMC

Let’s meet one of these esteemed women, 28-year USMC veteran retired Master Gunnery Sergeant Carla Perez. MGySgt Perez began her career in the Marines on May 17, 1993, and retired on December 31, 2021. Her service included three deployments: Bosnia in 1996, Iraq in 2008-2009 and Afghanistan in 2010-2011. She was stationed in many places around the globe, including 29 Palms, California; Iwakuni, Japan; Camp Pendleton, California; Vancouver, Washington; Marine Corps Air Station, Mira Mar in San Diego and Camp Lejeune, North Carolina.

Although Perez was raised in a family of veterans, the military was not initially in her plans. She graduated high school and went on to college at the University of Montana but returned home to Oregon when she didn’t have the funds to continue her studies. There, she worked a few odd jobs until a recruiter found her and offered her the opportunity to join the Marine Corps. You can say the rest is history!

While serving in the Marines, Perez found that women progressed in the Marine Corps in both rank and job opportunities at a fair rate. She never felt as though being a woman held her back. Previously closed jobs in the combat arms MOS had opened, and women were assigned to traditionally male units. Early in that transition, women were doing combat supporting jobs, admin, supply

In 2008 for one year as their Logistics/Supply Chief. The unit was assigned a Civil Affairs mission. There were only a handful of women assigned to that battalion for the duration of that deployment.

Transitions can be difficult. Moving from a career in the military to civilian life is one of those challenging transitions. I asked Perez how she prepared for her retirement. She had been thinking about the transition for a few years before submitting papers to retire and felt as prepared as she could be. Perez is a few college courses shy of a BS in Criminal Justice and initially thought about returning to school at the beginning of her transition. Throughout her time in the Marine Corps, she worked in the Supply/Logistics field and felt that her resume would make her a strong candidate in either of those fields. She knew she had more to give beyond the last 29 years of her life as a Marine, and she was excited to see what opportunities awaited her.

Initially, she took a few months off to spend time with her family and relax. Everyone should take time off from the rigorous schedule the military requires of its service members to just exhale. She highly recommends this approach! In February 2022, she was given the opportunity to work for Liberty Military Housing. She currently holds the position of Director of Military Affairs, Southwest Marines, Housing. Her region encompasses Camp Pendleton, 29 Palms, Yuma, Colville and Kansas City — a few locations where she was stationed during her career.

I asked her how her military career prepared her for her current role in her civilian career. She responded, “Being a Marine and being a person of service was something I am very good at. I am flexible yet mission-oriented. I like to get things done and take care of people. This job is the perfect fit for me. My job responsibilities are very closely tied to the military and taking care of military families. I bridge the gap between our government housing partner and Liberty Military Housing. I am honored to be able to continue to be so closely connected to Marines and military families that live aboard our installations.”

I inquired about the advice she would give someone considering a career in the military or someone preparing to transition to the civilian sector. Perez replied, “Choosing a career in the USMC is like no other job in the world. Hard work will always be rewarded and not go unnoticed. Being a Marine is a tough job that comes with a lot of responsibility. Upholding and honoring traditions of all the men and women that have gone before us is something that sets Marines apart. There are very few Marines and even fewer female Marines — expect to work just as hard as all of those around you, if not harder, both men and women. There are so many intangible traits and feelings that make Marines who they are that cannot be explained — experiences and a sense of pride that cannot be compared to anything else. Being a good leader takes time and  work. More energy and personal time spent away from your daily duties are what it takes to go the distance in the USMC. Working hard and staying focused is the best advice I can give.

”Perez continues, “Think ahead about your transition out of the USMC. A few years in advance, have a mental picture of what you want your life after to look like. Take the necessary steps to prepare to depart. It will have to be a fluid plan until you make your final decision. Be flexible and keep an open mind. You will have so much to offer the world, more than you can just write on a paper or summarize on a resume. You will have all the tools you need to make the move, don’t be afraid; just have a plan with a few options.

”And that, my friends, is proof that the long-standing slogan, “Once a Marine, Always a Marine,” is as true today as it was when Marine Corps Master Sergeant Paul Woyshner first shouted it. I enjoyed my time with MGySgt Perez and appreciated her insight into navigating the transition after a career in service to our country.

Charlie Mike: “Continue the Mission of Life”

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Man holding dog smiling

The mission of Charlie Mike is to save the lives of those still carrying the unseen wounds of combat, one veteran at a time.

Our vision is to help Soldiers, Marines, Airmen and Sailors help one another “Continue the Mission of Life,” in whatever form that may be. We believe that by standing together at home, just as we stood together during war time, we will help each other succeed in getting back to life.

Charlie Mike will save lives through a multi-faceted approach to help each veteran “continue the mission,” to never quit, and to address their daily challenges. This approach is based on three pillars that focus on creating stability for each veteran we serve.

The three foundational pillars of Charlie Mike are universal yet tailored to each veteran, designed to address the challenges they face. Each person’s experience is quite different, even if similar challenges or needs are exhibited. These pillars are designed to address three key areas affecting veterans today: PTSD and TBI, suicide and sexual assault.

Pillar One: Mental & Emotional Stability

Creating mental and emotional stability is the foundation of everything Charlie Mike will do within the veteran community. Mental and emotional instability are the unseen costs and casualties of war, and they are quite common. When progress is made, healing begins, and life changes for the better. The resulting stability allows for the other aspects of “normal” life to be within reach.

Pillar Two: Stability in Daily Living

Creating stability in daily living is part of the overall goal and mission of Charlie Mike. Once mental and emotional stability are created, daily living will get easier, be better, and more productive. The issues are complex and challenging, but the approach is simple. Helping veterans find and learn tools to become self-reliant is the best gift we can provide. This daily stability will provide a foundation for participants to sustain themselves for the rest of their lives.

Pillar Three: Stability by Serving Others

As much as veterans miss their teams, they miss the service. In the volunteer force of the U.S. Military, everyone joins for various reasons. The service aspect, however, is an integral part of the job, and is instilled by every branch of the military. Once discharged, those who have deployed often miss the high tempo, the austere environment, the challenge, and even the danger. Very few things in life will ever compare to or compete with wartime service. This causes a lack of stability as veterans struggle to find meaning in “normal life.”

Charlie Mike has a solution: getting veterans back into service. Creating stability by serving others is a simple approach for long-term healing. When we serve and help each other, we serve a higher cause, and yet gain personal benefits that are immeasurable.

Charlie Mike

Charlie Mike was created by modern combat veterans who know the realities of war and the realities of returning to civilian life. We understand the mental and physical tolls, the challenges, and the struggles. We understand what veterans want and need in order to cope with these life challenges. Our work will create a new community, a new forum, and new programs to help former war fighters integrate back into “normal” life after military service.

Famous Veterans Throughout History

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Elvis Presley holding company battalion sign

Celeb Elvis Presley was far from the only person of fame to have served in the U.S. military. In fact, several people who are known for their accomplishments in other fields got their start in the armed forces. Meet some of the other well-known veterans throughout history that you may not be aware of:

 

 

 

 

The Apollo 11 Team

Astronauts Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins comprised the historic Apollo 11 Team that successfully landed and walked on the moon in 1969. While they will always be remembered as the first men to go to the moon, all three of them served in the military. Armstrong served as a Navy pilot and saw action in the Korean War, Aldrin was among the top of his class at West Point before serving in Korea with the Air Force and Collins was a member of some of the most prestigious flight programs as a fighter pilot for the Air Force. All three men used their experiences from the military to eventually become astronauts with NASA, leading to the first-ever moon mission that marked their names in history.

Johnny Cash

At the ripe age of 18, before his musical career took off, Johnny Cash was a staff sergeant for the U.S. Air Force. Serving from 1950-1954, Cash was assigned to the 12th Radio Squadron Mobile of the U.S. Air Force Security Service at Landsberg, West Germany where he worked as a morse code operator intercepting Soviet Army transmissions. In fact, Cash was officially the first American to know about Stalin’s death when he decoded a message while monitoring Soviet Morse Code chatter in 1953. Cash was then tasked to tell the critical information to his superiors. Cash began his musical journey during his time in the military, having formed his first band during service: The Landsberg Barbarians. After his service and into his thriving musical legacy, Cash continued to show his appreciation for his roots by participating in concerts and events designed to support our nation’s troops.

Bea Arthur and Betty White

Long before they were your favorite Golden Girls, Bea Arthur and Betty White served in the U.S. military. At just 20 years old, Bea Arthur enlisted with the Marine Corps’ Women’s Reservists, becoming one of the first people to do so. She served as a typist at Marine Headquarters 

in Washington, D.C. and later transferred to Camp Lejeune in North Carolina to become a driver and dispatcher. Arthur was honorably discharged at the end of the war in 1945 with the title of staff sergeant. White served with the American Women’s Voluntary Services; an organization dedicated to providing support to the war effort. She also worked as a PX truck driver delivering military supplies to the barracks in the Hollywood Hills and regularly attended farewell dances for departing troops hosted to boost troop morale.

Chuck Norris

Chuck Norris

One of the most beloved figures in the veteran community, Chuck Norris wouldn’t be who he is today if it wasn’t for his service in the Air Force. In 1958, after graduating high school, Norris became an Air Policeman and was stationed at Osan Air Base in South Korea. It was there that Norris began studying martial arts and earned his first black belt in Tang Soo Do. Once Norris was discharged from service in 1962, he went on to participate in martial arts competitions, became the World Middleweight Karate Champion from 1968 to 1974 and launched his  acting career. Though it’s been 60 years since Norris was discharged from the Air Force, he still dedicates his projects, time and money to veterans’ efforts. He has worked with organizations such as the USO and the Veterans Administration National Salute to Hospitalized Veterans  and was the spokesperson for the U.S. Veterans Administration. He received the Veteran of the Year award from the Air Force in 2001 and was even made an honorary Marine in 2007.

Harriet Tubman

Everyone knows Harriet Tubman and her brilliant work with the Underground Railroad, but  many people often forget her military history. After escaping slavery and rescuing over 70 other  slaves working for the Underground Railroad, Tubman worked with Colonel James Montgomery  and the Union Army as a nurse and spy. Her work consisted of tending to the wounds of soldiers  and escaped slaves, but mostly entailed gaining intel on the Confederate soldiers for the Union  Army. Tubman created a spy ring in South Carolina, paid informants for intel that would be useful  to the Union Army and was one of the leaders that helped to plan and execute the Combahee  Ferry Raid. The raid successfully caught Confederate soldiers off guard, allowing a group of Black Union Army soldiers to free more than 700 slaves. Her contributions made her the first woman in American history to lead a military assault.

Tammy Duckworth

Before her career as a senator for the state of Illinois, Tammy Duckworth was a combat veteran of the Iraq War. Joining the Army Reserves in 1990 and transferring to the National Guard in 1996, Duckworth served as a helicopter pilot while stationed in Iraq. In 2004, her helicopter was hit by a rocket￾propelled grenade resulting in the loss of both of her legs and limited mobility in her right arm. Despite being the first female double amputee of that particular war, Duckworth obtained a medical waiver that allowed her to continue her service in the National Guard for another 10 years. She retired in 2014 at the rank of lieutenant colonel. Duckworth has worked relentlessly to advocate for the needs and wellbeing of the veteran community. With her high ranking position with the Department of Veterans Affairs and her status as  a U.S. senator, Duckworth has created government-sponsored programs to help veterans with PTSD, advocated for the needs of women and Native American veterans, created initiatives to bring an end to veteran homelessness and helped pass the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Clint Eastwood

Before Clint Eastwood was an actor, musician, director and your favorite gun-slinging cowboy, he served in the U.S. Army. In fact, without Eastwood’s Army service, he may have never become the iconic figure he is today. Before he got the chance to enroll in college, Eastwood was drafted into the Army during the Korean War. He served as a lifeguard and swim instructor at Fort Ord in California where he met future co-stars Martin Milner and David Janssen. Upon discharge from the Army, Eastwood used his GI Bill benefits to study drama at L.A. City College and soon after landed his contract with Universal Studios. The rest is history.

 

 

James Earl Jones

An iconic actor with a distinctive voice, James Earl Jones is best known for his work throughout Hollywood and as the voice of one of Hollywood’s most notorious sci-fi villains, Darth Vader. But before he ventured into the world of Hollywood, Jones served with the Army during the Korean War. A member of the University of Michigan’s Reserve Officer Training Corps, Jones was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the Army and assigned to Headquarters Company, 38th Regimental Combat Team. Jones served his first and only assignment at the former Camp Hale, where he helped establish a cold weather training command. His battalion became a training unit and Jones was promoted to first lieutenant before being discharged soon after. He went on to begin his acting career straight out of the service at the Ramsdell Theater in Michigan and has since made significant contributions to the world of the arts.

 

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