Courtesy of Beth Reece, Defense Logistics Agency
The Defense Logistics Agency showed its commitment to supporting wounded warriors during an Operation Warfighter Program outreach event at the USO Warrior and Family Center on Fort Belvoir, Va., Aug. 22.
Members of DLA Logistics Operations and the DLA Equal Employment Opportunity Office joined 20 other federal agencies to share internship opportunities with wounded, ill and injured service members recuperating at the Fort Belvoir Warrior Transition Unit.
Operation Warfighter is sponsored by the Defense Department and was created to help service members prepare to return to active duty or transition to the civilian workforce by building resumes, exploring other career fields and gaining experience in the federal government, said Hettie Holmes-Carter, program manager for DLA Human Resources’ Corporate Recruitment and Operation Warfighter programs.
“While service members may not be able to perform their active-duty job, they may be able – and want – to perform other work. This program helps them explore employment interests and gain additional skills. At the same time, federal agencies have an opportunity to support our wounded warriors and access their talent and considerable military and non-military skills free of charge,” she said.
Assisting wounded warriors is an important part of DLA’s warfighter support mission, said DLA Logistics Operations Director Army Maj. Kenneth Dowd, who took time out of his busy schedule to personally greet attendees.
“I personally got involved because of my past deployments to Kuwait, Afghanistan and Iraq. I wanted to make sure that those I served with in combat were getting the help and support they need and deserve,” he said.
The general added that his dedication to supporting wounded service members is widely shared by DLA Director Navy Vice Adm. Mark Harnitchek and other senior leaders.
“At least 90 percent of these wounded service members would tell you they wish they were back in their unit, still serving downrange. This is one way that we can give back, and DLA would be honored to have any one of them come work with us,” he continued.
While internships with Operation Warfighter participants give federal employees the chance to help wounded service members transition from military to civilian life, they’re also an opportunity for employees to learn from its primary customer, said Navy Master Chief Petty Officer Harry Marino, senior enlisted leader for DLA Logistics Operations.
“As these service members work on projects for us they can say, ‘Oh, by the way, this is where we struggled with logistics support,’ or, ‘This is how we saw it.’ They can help us better understand how they’re affected by our processes and perhaps make some improvements as a result,” he said.
The agency’s goal is to increase the number of Operation Warfighter internships from 10 in fiscal 2012 to 36 in fiscal 2013, Holmes-Carter added. So far this fiscal year, 21 service members have been placed in Operation Warfighter internships with DLA organizations. Dowd predicted the outreach event could lead to 10 to 15 more placements.
The length of Operation Warfighter assignments varies depending upon the service member’s rehabilitation process, and work performed is arranged between supervisors and a participant’s warrior transition unit. DLA managers interested in placing wounded warriors in internships should contact their organization’s Operation Warfighter representative or call Holmes-Carter at 703-767-5358.
More information on DLA’s transitioning military and veterans hiring programs is available at the DLA Human Resources Career page:http://www.hr.dla.mil/career/programs/veterans/.