WHITE SANDS MISSILE RANGE, N.M., Nov. 5, 2009 - White Sands Missile Range has initiated a Wounded Warrior Co-Op Program to help expedite recruitment efforts while at the same time helping Soldiers transition to civilian life.

The installation's Equal Employment Opportunity Office and Civilian Personnel Advisory Center have partnered with the Fort Bliss Warrior Transition Battalion to implement this program.

Former Staff Sgt. Anthony Moralez was assigned by the battalion to work with CPAC to help develop the program. He was subsequently placed in a civilian position.

"This program is something I'm very passionate about," Moralez said. He explained that not too long ago he was sitting in the WTU wondering what life had in store for him. "Quite honestly I was worried!" he said.

Then last year he met the EEO and CPAC office staff and he said they were extremely passionate about helping the Soldiers "Give back". When he was approached to help with the startup of the program Moralez said he jumped at the opportunity. While developing the concept plan, Moralez said he realized that the program will only work if the individual wants it to work and is willing to give up a few things to gain others.

"I feel good about the program for two reasons, I helped develop it and it worked for me," Moralez said. "I'm telling you, if you walk through this door many others will open. The trick is to get thru that first one!"

Soldiers eligible for this program are those in the battalion who are transitioning out of the Army. Those Soldiers who apply for the program, with an endorsement from the Warrior Transition Battalion commander, can be placed in a federal civilian position at White Sands Missile Range for up to 90 days, pending release from active duty.

Upon successful completion of the trial period and upon honorable release from the military, if approved by the appropriate civilian selecting official, the eligible Soldier may be appointed to the civilian position.

"Tony has been an outstanding addition to DPTMS. If you're looking for adaptive, resourceful self-starters with good operational sense, look to the Wounded Warrior Program. I just found out I have two more openings and I plan to bring in two more," said Gerry Veara, White Sands DPTMS.

According to Sally Smoot, White Sands CPAC director at the time this article was written, the program is a win-win situation. "Our managers get to fill their jobs quickly, and we get to take care of our Soldiers who have taken care of us."

"Under the Equal Employment Opportunity umbrella, the Wounded Warrior Co-Op Program fits well into the objectives of the Disabled Veterans Affirmative Action Program Plan. Those warriors who are a part of the Wounded Warrior Battalion have combat related disabilities they received while serving in the war on terrorism," said Liz Childers, EEO officer.

Childers said it is the goal of the EEO office to ensure that disabled veterans are offered equal employment opportunity in the federal service. "With the collaborated effort of the Civilian Personnel Advisory Center and William Beaumont Army Medical Center, the objective is to recruit and employ those wounded warriors with the required skills needed to fulfill the mission of White Sands Missile Range," she said.

Applications for this Program are available online at www.wsmr.army.mil/employment.

Questions pertaining to this Program may be directed to Carol Main at (575) 678-7728, DSN 258-7728.