When it comes to seeking employment, those above the age of 50 bring far more than just experience, especially if they are Veterans. They bring traits such as leadership, problem solving skills, and a determination to get the job done right, the first time.
Seasoned Veterans understand the value of things that are vital to any unit, military or civilian, such as dependability, honesty, and integrity. Additionally, being seasoned gives them the added benefit of having the outlook and wisdom that only time and experience can give.
On two separate occasions, while serving in the United States Air Force, I was promoted, as a Staff Sergeant, to the position of Non Commissioned Officer in Charge (NCOIC) of the Mid Shift Avionics Shop for the F-111 aircraft; once at Cannon Air Force Base, Clovis, New Mexico, and the other at Royal Air Force (RAF) Lakenheath, England. In this position, I oversaw the entire shop and all of its functions.
Lifetime civilian and military benefit: I encountered many types of situations requiring me to make major decisions, set schedules, assign duties, and coordinate with other shops in order to accomplish the mission.
During my tour at RAF Lakenheath, I coordinated remote support for our Deployed Avionics Shop at Tiaf, Saudi Arabia, during Operation Desert Storm. Here too, many challenges were faced and met during an actual war-time situation.
Problem Solving Skills
At RAF Lakenheath, our shop was located in an underground facility, with very limited floor space. During Operation Desert Storm, I developed, implemented, and supervised a suitable floor plan and change-over for the new incoming F-15 test equipment and crew while simultaneously removing the F-111 test equipment and crew; no small task, especially during an ongoing war.
Normal daily routines are one thing, but being in the military during war is something else again. Many times I saw the effects of the strain of the enormous pressures that the Airmen were under to fulfill the mission requirements, and how each reacted to it. Sometimes a quick response was required, sometimes filling in for them while they got a much-needed break. Being able to tell when discipline was needed and when it was not, solved many problems and eased the fears of getting into trouble for some minor thing.
Being seasoned presented than a “father figure” many of these young Airmen needed to feel. Resolving mental fatigue, through psychological empowerment, we increased morale. Taking advantage of direct and indirect influence, seasoned veterans helped our unit to achieve and maintain a Fully Mission Capable status and ultimately helped our military win the war.
As a Non Commissioned Officer (NCO), one is not only a Supervisor, but a trainer, manager, scheduler, and counselor. In the Air Force, the normal duty day is 8 hours, but during an exercise, or even in wartime, you train like you fight: whatever it takes. The shifts could be from 8, 16, 24, or even 36 hours, whatever was required to accomplish the mission. Being seasoned, one understands commitment to goal attainment, this is our way.
Many times I slept at the shop because the job required that I be there around the clock. And many times I worked triple shifts so that some of the younger, less experienced troops could get food, catch a quick nap, or write a letter home; all things that greatly contributed to the overall success of the mission. Also, times like these presented the perfect opportunity to give additional training under circumstances and conditions that would otherwise be extremely difficult to reproduce, so the training was doubly valuable.
For the seasoned Veterans 50 and above, everything begins with attitude.
Being a Veteran means that a person has been both military and civilian. As such, the Vet has seen and experienced things most other people will never experience. There are however, some things that are just common to life, either military or civilian.
Stress is a big factor in both kinds of life, and the Veteran has seen his or her share and knows first-hand how to handle it. By rule of thumb, first, take a deep breath, analyze the situation, choose the best course of action, and go for it! There is no “I” in the word “TEAM”, and more often than not, it is a team effort that makes the difference.
Another factor is recognition. The Vet knows the importance of recognizing when a job is well done, and just how good it makes the junior person feel to be recognized for their performance. And lastly, morale. This is one factor that can make or break any team or civilian organization, and the Vet is all too aware of this.
Morale is the glue that holds a unit together, and the unit is only as strong as its morale. Find a unit with good morale, and you will find a good leader there as well. Veterans are not better than anyone else, but they do have more experience in more areas than most others, and they have also been tested under fire, so, hire a Vet!
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