The Tulsa District, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, in partnership with the U.S. Army Community Based Warrior Transition Unit at Camp Robinson, Arkansas, participate in a program that allows returning Soldiers that are in some way wounded to return home while they continue their medical care. During their recovery, the Operation War Fighter Program allows the Soldier to work at a sponsoring Federal Agency such as the Tulsa District.

These Soldiers are being released from the individual Wounded Warrior Transition Units from all over the United States and reassigned to regional Community Based Transition Units. Soldiers from Oklahoma and Kansas are assigned to the regional unit in Arkansas. Most of these Soldiers are either going to be released back to duty or are having to complete Medical Evaluation Boards, preparing them to be medically discharged from the Army. This program keeps the Soldiers engaged mentally and physically, therefore assisting them during their transition from the military back to civilian life.

Geza Horvath, a retired Army Sergeant and wounded warrior, knows firsthand how this program works. He was told to try and find a federal facility close to his home that could allow him to work and be accountable for his presence while recuperating and waiting for his medical determination.

"I kept seeing the Corps flag as I was driving from the Little Rock Transition Unit to my home and decided to check them out." Horvath said. "When I explained that I needed a 'home' and that I would be an unpaid employee if we could match my skills and their needs. They told me to find a parking space and report in the next week."

While performing a variety of jobs, the District realized he was a valuable asset that fit a position he could fill once he was discharged. This position became a new full time career with the Corps. This does not always happen, but Horvath and other returning Wounded Warriors have found the experience to be a realistic and valuable tool preparing them to return to civilian life and work.

A number of other returning veterans have found positions at agencies such as the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Although these positions are not guaranteed to become a full time career, it certainly helps to make the adjustments needed to get back into the civilian work force.

These returning Soldiers have a number of skill sets that would be useful in just about any federal office or field office's daily operations. The length of time the Wounded Warrior would be available could be from 6 months to 2 years. The only cost to an office would be steel toed boots, if required. Since the Wounded Warrior is still on pay status from the Army unit there is no cost to any federal agency.

"It is readily apparent there is a need on both sides, it just takes putting the two together," according to Stacey Dancy, Wounded Warrior Transition Unit, Fort Sill. Dancy is working closely with the program and is a good first contact by both Federal hiring offices and a Wounded Warrior looking to go to work.

If you are interested in supporting this program and having one or more these Soldiers work in your office, project office or lake office, call the Operation War Fighter Coordinator, Geza Horvath at 918-669-7552.