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Once a Marine, Always a Marine: Commandant improves Transition Assistance Program

By Lance Cpl. Chelsea Flowers | | June 8, 2011

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The Marine Corps has always been committed to the welfare of its troops. This attitude doesn’t change when a Marine gets out of the Corps.

Under the leadership of Commandant of the Marine Corps Gen. James F. Amos, the phrase “once a Marine, always a Marine” has never been more true.

A Marine who decides to leave the Corps after completing his active duty contract has a lot to consider when planning out his next moves. In the past, however, Marines sometimes entered the civilian world without a good plan for their future. As a result, many veteran Marines found themselves unemployed and in some cases, homeless.

Amos has set up a plan to resolve these problems through improvements in the Transition Assistance Program, a program developed to smooth the transition of active duty military personnel to civilian life.

“I ask myself the question, how could we have a young sergeant or corporal that led Marines in combat, he gets out of the Marine Corps, and he can’t get a job?” Amos said. “Then somewhere along the line, he ends up homeless. How can that be? That defies logic to me. The Transition Assistance Program turned that around.”

Under the new plan, the Transition Assistance Program will begin its guidance for Marines six months prior to the Marine’s date to exit the service. That mentoring will continue six months following the Marine’s end of active duty service date. The goal is to assist the Marine in the move to the civilian world beforehand as well as following through on the plans created.

Another modification to the program is replacing the mundane classroom lectures with one-on-one discussions and planning. Previously, Marines learned how to translate their military experience into civilian terms, create new financial plans and understand the federal employment system through three days of PowerPoint presentations.  Under the new plan, Marines will receive guidance catered toward their specific needs and wants.

“This is the recognition that one size does not fit all,” Amos said.

The changes aim for helping Marines no matter what they plan to do after the Marine Corps.

“It goes back to what Gen. Jones said, ‘We return men and women to society better than when they came in,’” Amos said.


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