Sunday: Reward veterans with good jobs

December 2, 2012 

War veterans coming home to unemployment is so heart-wrenching. Many end up homeless. When I was processing out of my four years with the Air Force (Vietnam era), I couldn’t help but notice one of the boxes on the paperwork. The box named the equivalent civilian job of your military assignment. These jobs were actually the names of the civilian jobs in the military task force. Even infantryman equates to a military police job.

I thought: “Why can’t I have that equivalent job when I discharge, as a civilian?” How perfect would that be? I keep my same job I had as an enlisted man, but as a civilian. They usually need to replace your job with another body anyway. The military person would be the most qualified, for certain, to fill this position. The alternative is to set you free and say good luck. How bad is that?

I am sure there is some congressional hoopla surrounding why they couldn’t, or won’t do this. They currently need to cut the military budget. The problem here is the U.S. government still has responsibility to the war veteran within the Veterans Administration budget for service-connected problems — mental and physical. Decrease one budget, increase another.

I propose a solution to this problem of recently discharged war veterans. Ultimately, there is the “attrition concept.” As current civilian employees retire, their jobs can be made open and available to the military person discharging from the service. This would be a great way to give thanks to our war veterans.

Jim Matthews

Columbia

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