Jobs for Vets
FORT SAM HOUSTON, Texas " Frank Blakely (left), manager, Fort Sam Houston Army Support Activity, signs a memorandum of understanding with Navy Rear Adm. Steven Eastburg, vice commander, Naval Air Systems Command, Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Md., and Douglas Lundberg, director, Office of Civilian Human Resources, U.S. Navy, at the Warrior and Family Support Center Jan. 18 designed to help find jobs for Wounded Warriors as they transition out of the military. (U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Keith Anderson, Army North PAO)

FORT SAM HOUSTON, Texas -- Army and Navy leaders signed a memorandum of understanding here Jan. 18 designed to help wounded service members find jobs as they transition out of the military.

Navy Rear Adm. Steven Eastburg, vice commander, Naval Air Systems Command, Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Md., along with Frank Blakely, manager, Fort Sam Houston Army Support Activity, and Douglas Lundberg, director, Office of Civilian Human Resources, U.S. Navy, came together and signed a memorandum of understanding at the Warrior and Family Support Center that enables the Navy to provide assistance for local wounded service members in building their resumes and to be matched with government and private sector jobs.

"This is a tremendous opportunity for us to partner with the Department of the Navy and NAVAIR to provide employment opportunities to our Wounded Warriors," said Blakely.

Locally, there are more than 100 wounded service members looking for work right now and, on average, approximately 30 transitioning out of the military each month who could be helped, said Zackery Gant, transition coordinator, Brooke Army Medical Center Warrior Transition Battalion.

The joint Army-Navy effort seeks to identify wounded or injured transitioning military service members who will receive a disability rating of 30 percent or greater upon separation from military service or for those wounded or injured individuals who may be eligible for other special hiring authorities. Services will be provided both during periods of active duty (rehabilitation) and post-separation as requested by the service member.

"At NAVAIR, we view this as a key workforce strategy," said Eastburg. "We will partner with Brooke Army Medical Center as we build the workforce of the future. We believe in giving back to those that have given so much."

Eastburg said naval human resources personnel would visit Fort Sam Houston quarterly to help service members build resumes and to match them with open positions that fall within their skill sets. Personnel will also be available in between visits via phone and email, and help will be available through the Soldier and Family Assistance Center.

"The SFAC is designed to be a one-stop shop for Warriors in transition and their Families," said Gabriele Dias, director, SFAC.

Jason Simms, a former Marine Corps sergeant, who was injured during the battle of Fallujah in July 2004, said Navy human resources personnel from Patuxent River visited the Wounded Warrior barracks at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, N.C., where he was recovering, and helped him to get a job as a human resources specialist at Naval Support Activity Philadelphia.

"I had third-degree burns on my hands; my face was burnt; I had shrapnel in my legs, and I had been shot three times," Simms said. "When they came down, I didn't have any college and didn't know what to do. I'd been a grunt for nine years. My resume was only half a page. They came down and mentored me and helped me to write a three-page resume and get the job in Philadelphia."

Currently, NAVAIR and Naval OCHR are working with only a handful of other locations besides Fort Sam Houston but hope to increase the program eventually, said Eastburg. In fiscal 2011, NAVAIR's Wounded Warrior Program assisted 586 veterans finding employment, 155 of whom were at least 30 percent disabled.

"This is not the end of our business, but it's really the very beginning of what hopefully will be a very long and enduring relationship," said Eastburg.

Page last updated Mon January 30th, 2012 at 00:00