No matter the length of service, military veterans transitioning into the workforce bring a wealth of valuable and highly desirable attributes to whatever profession they choose. It’s also no secret that many former service members who want to continue serving their country do so by making the move to federal civilian service.
Robert Bray is one such veteran. He is the team lead for secondary aviation programs at the U.S. Army Aviation and Missile Command at Redstone Arsenal, Alabama. Bray has a total of 31 years of federal service, including 8 1/2 in the U.S. Army.
“I had two different jobs in the military. In my first job I was a light-wheel vehicle mechanic, and in my second I was an ammunition specialist,” said Bray. “My military service was a contributing factor in becoming an Army civilian because I wanted to continue serving my country – just in a different capacity.”
In his current position, Bray works closely with aviation weapon systems and Corpus Christi Army Depot, Texas, on funding programs, scheduling, pricing, out-year budgeting, renegotiations and quarterly program reviews.
Bray said his military service prepared him for the civilian workforce by teaching him the importance of loyalty, duty, respect of self and others, selfless service, honor, integrity and personal courage.
“I’ve carried all of these attributes over to my personal life, but have had to tone them down a little. Military and civilian life are two different worlds and, after living in one for a while, it takes a little to get used to the other one again,” said Bray. “I had the pleasure of being surrounded by some good veterans that helped me with my transition. My passion for the warfighter hasn’t changed over the years, I’ve just come to the realization that everyone doesn’t have the same passion as me.”
Bray is proud of his military service and would encourage any young person who’s considering joining to do so.
“If you want to serve your country, learn many skills and see the world, the military is what you’re looking for,” said Bray. “You will do and see things you never thought were possible. You can earn money for college and even work toward a degree while serving.”
Bray has been asked many times since leaving the Army if he would still join if he had it all to do over, and he doesn’t hesitate in his response.
“I tell them, without a doubt, yes!” said Bray. “Of course there were some rough times, but the good outweighed the bad. The past 31 years of serving my country have been amazing!”