US Army, 25th Infantry Division, 1975-1978
Combat Engineer, Schofield Barracks, Hawaii
I was volunteer army, stationed at Schofield Barracks on active duty for 32 months. When I got out of the military, it wasn’t easy, and I was kind of bitter. My dad, a Navy Vet and Pearl Harbor survivor who served for 24 years, knew what I was going through, and he helped me out a lot. I went to the local Junior College, and there were veterans there to talk to, and that helped too.
Some of my friends who had really good jobs hadn’t gone into the military. Even though I had that army experience, it took me five or six years to find a real, quality job, and that was tough. But eventually I did get a job at the city of Lompoc, in the water department. I worked my way up, and now I’m a leagueman. I’ve been working for the city for 24 years.
When I got hired on back then, all the supervisors were WWII vets and Korean war vets, and they would hire other vets. But all that has completely changed nowadays. If you went to go fill out a job application for the City of Lompoc today, you wouldn’t get asked about your military experience at all, and that’s not right. I think veterans deserve preferential treatment when it comes to hiring and jobs, because they put their lives on the line for our country.
That’s what I think about whenever I look at all the young veterans who are just returning home, and their families. And that’s why I like being a part of the IBEW 1245 Veterans Committee. It gives me a chance to help this new generation of vets. A lot of these young guys just don’t know about opportunities that are out there, and this program gives us a chance to help them.