With one out of every five of its civilian employees a U.S. military veteran, Army Contracting Command officials say they value the experience and work effort of their seasoned workforce.

"Veterans are important within the federal government and especially in positions that support the military," said William Baxter, deputy chief of staff Human Capital G1.

"They bring the knowledge and experience of their military training and that translates into a valuable employee. They also have been on the receiving end of support and offer insight as to what uniformed military personnel expect from their civilian counterparts."

A retired U.S. Air Force master sergeant, Linda L. Hindman, a secretary at ACCAberdeen Proving Ground, Md., Edgewood Division, enlisted with her best friend under the buddy program in 1978.

"I stayed in until 2003 when my husband passed away. I decided to retire to stay home with my son," said Hindman, who served as an administrative assistant. "I definitely feel my military experience helps with my current job. It provided me with the skills to perform in almost any position in the administrative field. I was honored to serve for 25 years."

Looking to be a part of something bigger than her, Tora Henry, equal employment opportunity specialist, ACC EEO Office, Redstone Arsenal, Ala., decided to leave her family and friends in Beaufort, S.C., for the comforts of Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island, S.C., and boot camp.

"The Marine Corps instilled a sense of pride, structure, leadership and discipline in my life that can't be erased," said Henry who left the corps as a sergeant after eight years.

"I see the world and the people around it so differently, having been exposed to many other cultures," she said. "I've experienced the world and have a better appreciation for our diversity, similarities and differences."

Medically retired from the U.S. Air Force after 10 years, Alfort Belin III, procurement analyst, 414th Contracting Support Brigade, Vicenza, Italy, uses his experience as a contracting officer to mentor others in the brigade.

"I love to help other veterans through contracting, leadership or mentoring," said Belin who left the service as a major. "My time in the service definitely helps here at Vicenza."

Citing a bad economy, Christine Miller, ACC-Redstone executive officer, joined the Women's Army Corps in 1975 after not being able to find a job.

"I spent 11 years in the service," said Miller, who left the service as a sergeant first class and a position as brigade operations noncommissioned officer-in-charge at the Ordnance, Munitions Center and School when it was at Redstone.

"I have a lot of good memories from my time in uniform, but I guess the top one would be when I was in basic training at Fort McClellan, Ala. I was selected to observe the raising of the garrison flag on Veterans Day. There are no words for the pride I felt that day being a WAC and a member of the greatest Army in the world."

A seaman's tale and a lack of funds for college was enough to sway Edward Domowski, contract specialist, Mission and Installation Contracting Command, Joint Base San Antonio-Fort Sam Houston, Texas, to join the U.S. Navy.

"I couldn't afford to go to college," said Domowski, who retired in 1993 after 22 years of service. "Plus a neighbor, who was in his 80s, would tell me about his days at sea in the U.S. Merchant Marine. His tales created an interest for me, and the Navy represented a chance to see the world."

Veterans are individuals and their tales are timeless, each weaving together the fabric that is the legacy of the American military. The stories of courage, sacrifice, duty and the memory of those who committed a portion of their lives for freedom are what Americans honor each Veterans Day.

Page last updated Thu November 8th, 2012 at 18:02