For wounded US veterans, job prospects brighter
This generation of troops is getting unprecedented help.
(Page 2 of 2)
One firm that's set up a booth is the real estate network RE/MAX, manned by Bill Gailbraith, a retired marine colonel. The Manassas, Va., man says he's interested in recruiting service members since they're accustomed to a disciplined life. Out of 41 troops interviewed, four were "definite" referrals. "They are not looking for sympathy. They want respect for who they are," says Mr. Gailbraith.Skip to next paragraph
Subscribe Today to the Monitor
Gailbraith is also typical of another part of the process: He had four tours in Vietnam and "suffered the pangs" of coming back to the United States at a time when the nation was deeply divided. Now, he and other Vietnam veterans are in a position to give jobs and referrals to the wounded soldiers. "The Vietnam vets are making sure if a decision is to be made, it is going the right way," he says.
Some private-sector companies, such as Lockheed Martin Corp., are recruiting at Walter Reed because the wounded soldiers can help deliver on military contracts. "I can't find an Aegis missile technician at Georgetown University," explains Miguel Gutierrez, corporate staffing/military relations manager. "Not only can these people get the job done, but many have held on to their [classified] clearances."
Since the war on terrorism has involved the mobilization of both National Guard and Reserve troops, it's not just regular military personnel who are injured. Some of these other soldiers with medical issues – about 3 percent of activated reserves – end up at a Community Based Health Care Organization (CBHCO), such as the one at Camp Williams in Utah, which is responsible for nine states.
"Soldiers heal closer to home," says Sgt. 1st Class Douglas Dellinger, better known around the base as "Bull Dog," for his tenacity in helping the wounded. "Uncle Sam is finally doing something right. We are taking care of our injured soldiers."
Sergeant Dellinger knows the improvement firsthand: He had a tour in Vietnam. "When you came back, you had your steak dinner, the Army gave you an airline ticket and said, 'OK, go to the VA and get fixed.' "
At Camp Williams, part of the "Welcome Back" package includes an introduction to Brazell's organization, which started out by helping disabled civilians. It takes about two weeks to evaluate the soldiers, and it can take as little as a day to find the right employer, says Brazell.
Jubeck figures he has talked with Brazell about 30 times. The sergeant, who was in an engineering program at Boise State when he was sent to Iraq, has experience as a both diesel mechanic and surveyor. "There are a lot of possibilities for me," says Jubeck, who lost a finger in Iraq and developed other health problems.
At the end of Brazell's briefing on his job prospects, Jubeck thanks him for his help. "You deserve it," replies Brazell.
Department of Defense: firstname.lastname@example.org
Department of the Army: email@example.com
Army Materiel Command: firstname.lastname@example.org
Census Bureau: email@example.com
Defense Contract Management Agency: firstname.lastname@example.org
U.S. Army Medical Command: email@example.com
Veterans Affairs: firstname.lastname@example.org
Injured Marines and Sailors Initiative: email@example.com
Bill Offutt, director, HireVetsFirst campaign: (202) 693-4717
American Red Cross in Greater New York: firstname.lastname@example.org
Rob Brazell: (303) 415-9187
Sources: Defense Applicant Assistance Office, staff