Military Helps Troops Make Transition To Civilian Life.

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Transitioning from military life to civilian life can be a heavy burden. The Ohio National Guard had over 16-hundred soldiers and airmen returning from deployment last December.

As a result, they offer a variety of services available for veterans after their deployment from the military. For one, the military has the Transition Assistance Program – also called TAP – for all military who are discharged. The TAP program provides service members with information about seeking employment along with other resources. Although returning veterans are concerned about jobs, they’re also worried about their families and their future. It’s a big adjustment and frankly an all together different battle for them. Gregory Goins is in his second term in the Navy. He says the discharge process is nervewrecking. “I did not know what to expect to be quite honest. Because the military’s such a structured lifestyle. You pretty much, even though there’s a lot of uncertainties, you pretty much know what to expect as far as, you go to work, there’s no question about whether you can call in sick or anything like that. You just go to work and you do what you’re told.”

The military knows that that uncertainty can be stressful, so making the adjustment to return to civilian life begins early. The Ohio National Guard’s Lieutenant Colonel Robert Bramlish talks about the process. “The steps for the soldiers start when they’re still deployed um, their unit will, as required, take them through briefings. On the Army side, an example is called BATTLEMIND. BATTLEMIND’s an acronym. But it stands for these different steps uh, and these different stages that the soldier might be going through as they prepare to go from a combat environment back , back to the civilian environment, back to their home.”

There are programs for families and couples and even those who are single. In some cases, a soldier’s employer might be invited to participate as well. It’s all in an effort to re-familiarize them with their environment. But for all the programs that do exist in various communities, sometimes there’s still more that can be done. Air Force veteran Carly Dendinger left the organization and then got married. She’s pretty outgoing, but she says she could have used some advice to help her sort things out. “I transitioned out we got married and then so I went from being Captain, my maiden name is Koch, Captain Koch to Mrs. Dendinger and there were really no programs out there to help me in that transition. Not even so much the marriage transition, but just the transition from being a military officer to having no rank and going into the civilian world.”

Goins knows that there are services in place for the military. However, he says things are just different once you are discharged. “I don’t think that there is a lot of, uh, support. Now, I know that there’s the ombudsman is one of the big organizations that helps while you’re in and it’s basically military wives supporting each other and I do believe once you’re out I think that you can still affiliate with them, but it’s not the same.”

Bramlish knows that the outreach efforts can be challenging, but he says that they’ll continue to market their services and programs through various newsletters and websites. Meanwhile the sociable Dendinger continues to work with The Fisher Veterans Association at Ohio State’s business school. She’s scheduled to complete her MBA in June. Goins will finish his MBA later this year as well and He’ll continue his service in the Navy. Both are taking advantage of one well known military program – the G-I Bill.

Kim Fox, W-O-S-U News.