REDSTONE ARSENAL, Ala. -- July 22, 2011 -- The two largest civilian employers in the Department of Defense joined forces Friday with the signing of a memorandum of understanding to provide more employment opportunities to wounded warriors.

The agreement between U.S Army Materiel Command and the Naval Sea Systems Command expanded the veteran hiring programs for both organizations by combining two existing programs.

"The NAVSEA's wounded warrior program offers tremendous career opportunities for our wounded veterans and I'm very proud and honored that we're joining forces with you today," said Gen. Ann E. Dunwoody, AMC's commanding general. "Seven years ago AMC established our Always a Soldier program to provide employment assistance to veterans who could no longer serve in uniform, but who were still warriors at heart."

"NAVSEA and AMC are actually two of the largest employers of civilians in the Department of Defense with more than 115,000 civilian employees serving across the U.S and around the globe: from highly skilled technicians, to engineers and scientist, to contracting specialist and support personnel of every kind," Dunwoody said.

Vice Adm. Kevin M. McCoy, Commander of the Naval Sea Systems Command stressed that the programs are not charity.

"It's about bringing critical skills and leadership back into the national defense business," McCoy stated.

The MOU allows the commands to more closely align their respective wounded warrior programs and to collaborate in recruiting efforts across the nation.

Specifically the agreement allows the commands to jointly set and monitor yearly wounded warrior hiring and support goals leading to better oversight and management of the programs; ensure the commands use their combined resources to exceed the expectations of the DoD education and employment initiative; jointly develop education and employment centers to benefit wounded warriors, families and caregivers; and establish new lines of communication and share information to better inform wounded warriors about employment opportunities within AMC and NAVSEA headquarters and their major subordinate commands throughout the nation.

The Always a Soldier program, AMC's veteran hiring program, was created in 2004 as a mechanism to hire wounded warfighters into civil service with AMC who separated from military service with an honorable discharge and at least a 30 percent disability rating.

The veterans who were once Soldiers, Airmen, Sailors or Marines who became disabled while serving, can work at any of AMC's organizations throughout the country and now have the same opportunity anywhere NAVSEA has a presence.

"We have a database that we maintain and there is an application form that the veteran is expected to fill out and they fill that out and return it to us with their DD214, their veteran's affairs disability rating, and their resume," Debra Coleman, the AAS program manager and program participant said.

"We put that [information] in our database. We have points of contact at all of our major subordinate commands and they have access to this database, so when we have veterans that are added to this database they are automatically notified if they are looking for positions in their agencies," Coleman continued.

"Working with the Navy partnership is going to enable us to fill positions where the Navy is located, and we can also place their veterans into our vacancies," Coleman said.

Like the AAS program the NAVSEA's Wounded Warrior Program seeks to arm experienced former service men and women with the education and training to expand its workforce and offers a stable job with the top health, educational and retirement benefits of the federal government.

NAVSEA needs engineers, scientists, technicians and managers to join its team of more than 58,000 at 38 activities located around the country and overseas. NAVSEA offers Wounded Warriors internships, apprenticeships, employment and educational counseling with vacancies offering temporary and permanent employment opportunities at the NAVSEA headquarters in Washington, D.C., and at NAVSEA activities throughout the country.

Kenneth Hessler, special assistant to the commanding general within the commanding general's initiatives group and AAS program participant highly recommends the program.

"I filled out an online application, submitted my resume to the G1 point of contact, for the AAS program and conducted and informal discussion to really discuss where I would be of most benefit if I was brought onboard with AMC and she came back with a couple of options after doing some analysis with her team," he said.

"I applied for those positions as I normally would if you weren't in the AAS program. Basically having the Always a Soldier program behind me when I applied for those positions gave me a little bit of extra visibility to managers and the hiring officials. So with that extra visibility within three weeks of applying for the AAS program I was doing a job interview. That's incredibly fast," Hessler continued.

"It's a win-win for both the employer and the employee," Coleman said.

AMC's senior enlisted Soldier, with nearly 40 years of service agrees.

"Here's how you can help. Every hiring official, every recommender, every time you consider someone for a vacancy or opportunity, please consider a veteran," Command Sergeant Mellinger Jeffrey J. Mellinger said.

"They bring something an average civilian on the street does not like: work ethic, loyalty, trust. You can't buy that anywhere," Mellinger said.

For more information about the program visit: