This story originally appears on Military Health System written by K.D. Harris and edited by Mark Oswell.
"I can’t speak highly enough of the Operation Warfighter (OWF) program," said Navy veteran Moriah Carver. “When I walked into their office I was truly defeated. I went from controlling aircraft to selling snacks at the ship store in what seemed like a matter of days. During my six years in the Navy I had been trained to eat, sleep and breathe air traffic control and as soon as I was in the medical board process, I felt like my identity had been stripped away from me.”
“Although I was still AC2 (air traffic controller petty officer 2nd class) Carver to everyone else, to me it seemed like I lacked a purpose,” explained Carver. “Sandra Ambotaite, my regional coordinator, worked hard to get me in contact with U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE).”
OWF coordinates non-funded federal internships between qualified wounded, ill and injured service members and a variety of federal agencies, in order to give the service member valuable work experience during their recovery and rehabilitation.
“I am beyond grateful,” exclaimed Carver. “I still remember it like it was yesterday. She gave me a call to let me know that ICE was interested in offering me an internship at their office and from that moment on everything changed. I knew nothing about immigration law and had no idea what to expect after accepting the position.”
“On my first day, I met the team and was immediately placed with the fugitive operations team,” she added. “My responsibilities included background investigation, compiling data, serving as backup central control for my team amongst other duties. Not only was I able to learn a ton of information, I was able to implement new organizational charts that assisted the teams when they went on their missions.”
“I couldn't have asked for a better ending to my Naval career, Carver continued. “Even during the pandemic, I had an incredible experience working for ICE. I was able to learn, network and build strong relationships with the people I worked with. I enjoyed working with the staff and for my last day they threw me a going away party and presented me my own hand made plaque. My time with ICE was a breath of fresh air. Every chance I get I tell as many people as I can about the Operation Warfighter program.”
“The OWF program gave me a sense of purpose. The opportunity to work for an agency that challenged me was life changing. I may not ever be able to be in the field due to my medical issues, but now I know that even if I’m working behind a desk, I am still part of the team,’ she continued.
“I am looking forward to a new career working with Air and Marine Operations Center (AMOC). And, although it may not be where I initially started my internship, it wouldn't have been possible without the help of the Operation Warfighter program.”
“I am truly grateful that this program exists. It helped with my transition into the civilian world. Operation Warfighter gave me my life back and allowed me to find not just a career but a career that I love,” Carver concluded.