By Andria Odom, Austin Peay State University Intern for BACH Public AffairsDecember 2, 2015
FORT CAMPBELL, Ky. -- Operation War Fighter kicked off November's Warrior Care Month with an Opportunities Fair at the Soldier and Family Assistance Center Nov. 3.
The Opportunities Fair was hosted by Operation War Fighter, a Department of Defense initiative for Soldiers assigned to the Warrior Transition Battalion or going through the Medical Board process. The fair is in conjunction with November's Warrior Care Month, which was created to help leaders, Soldiers, Veterans, and Families understand the various ways Army Medicine and the Warrior Care and Transition Program support wounded, ill and injured Soldiers.
"The overall goal in hosting the Opportunities Fair was to afford our service members the opportunity to meet with agencies and explore available employment resources, and provide agencies an overview of what our service members have to offer," said Ned Hall, Regional Coordinator of Operation War Fighter.
About 80 family members, WTB Soldiers and service members undergoing the medical board process attended the fair. A dozen organizations were represented at the event, which included Austin Peay State University, Army and Air Force Exchange Service, and the Nashville Veteran Administration Hospital. Each provided information about possible internships and job opportunities.
Transitioning out of the military can be a stressful time for soldiers, Hall explained. Operation War Fighter empowers soldiers to remain strong while transitioning into civilian life, by helping to set them up for success.
"The program is designed to get people linked up with federal internships so they can either gain new skills or enhance the ones they already have prior to getting out, which will improve their employability," Hall said.
Operation War Fighter helps familiarize Soldiers with civilian employment practices, including interview techniques, writing resumes and preparing for a future career path. Having the opportunity to be a part of an internship that helps incorporate a Soldier's vast military skills while gaining civilian experience helps balance the transition process, Hall emphasized.
Through a previous OWF event, Master Sgt. Jerry Peters, a transitioning Soldier at Fort Campbell's Warrior Transition Battalion, began a forestry internship in February. He now maintains logging and forestry roads and marks timber logging land management for training and other purposes. The program assisted Peters in building his resume, on the job training, and transitioning into the civilian workplace. Peters said this internship has provided invaluable experience.
"Operation Warfighter was a great help," Peters said.
Before Peters met with the supervisor, the forestry team conducted an interview to make sure his skills and abilities would fit the requirement.
"They have been really helpful. They check on me at least twice a month to see if I'm still doing well."
Overall, Operation War Fighter has been able to place more than 2,000 Service members in internship positions. For more information, visit http://warriorcare.dodlive.mil/wounded-warrior-resources/operation-warfighter.