Many military service personnel struggle to adjust to civilian life after they complete their time in the service. Finding a career where their skills are transferable can be difficult, but the work ethic of veterans often makes them great employees.
An article in the upcoming American Legion Magazine will discuss transferable skills and finding civilian employment after leaving the service. American Legion Director of Media and Communications Jeff Stoffer joined the AWF Union Podcast to preview this story and another about the use of Agent Orange in the Vietnam War.
Transferring military skills to the civilian workforce
Stoffer began his segment by telling the story of an accomplished combat medic who saved the lives of countless soldiers in combat. His actions helped raise the survival rate of those injured.
This medic completed his service with a set of transferable skills, as his military work in medicine and treatment put him on the pathway to begin a civilian career as a doctor.
Stoffer explained that more service members in different service occupations have quality skills. He said many service members find success as truck drivers and equipment operators. Their attention to detail and communication and problem solving skills are of high value in industries such as transportation.
According to Stoffer, the best way for veterans to find a civilian career is to market themselves. He suggested veterans highlight their communication, problem solving and other skills when applying for jobs.
Combating Agent Orange
The Vietnam War was a conflict filled with several firsts for the U.S. Military, including a combat zone in a tropical jungle and fighting against the unexpected tactics of the Vietnamese combatants. In an attempt to stop their military losses, U.S. military commanders employed new ideas, such as spraying herbicide and engaging in new offensive and defensive tactics.
Stoffer said the U.S. sprayed the herbicide Agent Orange on the dense foliage of the Vietnamese jungle. Once the dead foliage was cleared, U.S. pilots and ground troops would be able to see the Viet Cong. However, U.S. soldiers exposed to this chemical were prone to respiratory diseases, cancer and other illnesses.
At the time, the VA did not cover Agent Orange-related illnesses, as they could not trace the illness to combat. Since then, the VA has ruled veterans are entitled to compensation if they were exposed to the deadly chemical agent.