Veterans Transition Seminar for Success After the Military

Oct 10, 2017

More than 100 soldiers signed up for Afterburner Transition Seminar at Schofield Barracks.
Credit Wayne Yoshioka

The V-A estimates 20 to 22 U-S military veterans commit suicide each day.  One of the programs attempting to lower that rate is at Schofield Barracks this week.  HPR’s Wayne Yoshioka reports.  

The Afterburner Transition Seminar helps veterans target career opportunities to improve their chances for success after leaving military service.  The 8-hour course uses the military planning process with one big difference.  David “Finch” Guenthner is an Afterburner Executive Consultant.

Afterburner executive consultants: David Macewan, served 33 years in the Army and retired as a brigadier general. David "Finch" Guenthner, a fighter pilot in the Ari Force for 15 years.
Credit Wayne Yoshioka

“We are all indoctrinated, we’re all trained to think about the team concept.  A lot of times, these veterans have never sat down and thought about themselves.  We make them sit in this room for eight hours and think about themselves.  This is the first time in your military career you’re being encouraged to use the term, “I.”  I did this.  I did this.  And think about yourself and think about how you can sell yourself to potential companies that are hiring.”

Guenthner says many veterans believe they’re tied to their military jobs and cannot do anything else.    Afterburner helps veterans who assess their knowledge, skills and abilities to broaden their career goals.  The program also re-trains and re-indoctrinates veterans for the business world.   David MaCewen is an Afterburner Executive Consultant.

“We have a slide in the program that talks about PX and APFT, and we say, ‘You know, when you came in the military you had no idea what that language was.  You’re gonna have to learn about the new world that you’re going to enter.  What the C-Suite is; what ROI; what a CEO is; what IPO is EBIT(DA).’  We’re gonna change their mindset because they have to understand a new language.”

MaCewan says career success can help veterans avoid some of the potential pitfalls related to financial and relationship issues that impact some veterans in civilian life.  More than 100 soldiers signed up for the

Specialist Tera Bandin is leaving the Army after 2 years and pursue an advanced degree in computer engineering or medicine.
Credit Wayne Yoshioka

Afterburner Seminar at Schofield Barracks.  Army Specialist Tera Bandin is leaving the Army after more than 2 years of service as an intelligence analyst.

“I have two degrees.  I have software engineering, bachelors and a bachelors in pre-med so I’m kinda at that crossroad right now.  I just have so many options, so I’m going back to Seattle where my husband works for Facebook.  Just wanna get out; just transitioning back to civilian life and just building a plan.”

Army Staff Sergeant Westin Adams served in the infantry for 8 years with tours in Afghanistan and Africa.  He plans to pursue a degree in sports medicine and live in Ewa.

“I’m gonna start a CrossFit Gym up here in Wahiawa.  I have a wife, Stephanie.  We’ve been married for 5 years this year; no children; so that will make transition a little bit easier.  That’s the plan.  I’m ready.  I’m ready.”

Staff Sergeant Westin Adams is leaving the Army after 8 years in the infantry to open a CrossFit Center.
Credit Wayne Yoshioka

Executive Consultant Guenthner says it’s all about veterans planning ahead 3-to-5 years and Afterburner minimizing their fear.

“Too often we get veterans that show up and I’m like, ‘When are you transitioning out?’  And they say 6 weeks from now.  I say, ‘What’s your plan?  I don’t have one.  I’m gonna go back home and figure it out.  Well, you gotta start being proactive.  You can’t be reactive and just wait for someone to hand you a job or wait for someone to give you the career of your dreams.  You gotta be proactive and go out and get it.”

According to the Military Personnel Office, more than 4,500 soldiers separate from the Army at Schofield Barracks each year.  Wayne Yoshioka, HPR News.