American Forces Press ServiceWASHINGTON, Jan. 15, 2010 - Due to advances in modern medicine, many wounded servicemembers are returning to the fight or transitioning their experience to civilian employment. Naval Sea Systems Command wants them on board.
Vice Adm. Kevin McCoy, NAVSEA commander, and Army Brig. Gen. Gary Cheek, commander of the Army's Warrior Transition Command, signed an agreement Jan. 13 at Walter Reed Army Medical Center to increase opportunities for meaningful internships and employment with the Navy's largest system command.
"What we have done so far is put the fundamentals in place," Cheek told those assembled in Walter Reed Army Medical Center's auditorium here. "But our real goal is to provide that opportunity, that light, that inspiration for a full and productive future to the warfighters in this program. No matter what disease, illness or injury you are fighting, you have skills and abilities that make a difference in this world."
The general continued by focusing on the scope of opportunities the program's partnership with the Navy command offers wounded warriors. "Of all the organizations we are starting to embrace and work with, I believe NAVSEA is perhaps one of the finest in what they are offering to provide for the future for many of you," he said. "There are opportunities within this command across the United States, possibly even in your hometown, doing things you would like to do and making a contribution to the nation."
Following the general's remarks, McCoy thanked the injured for their service, and committed his organization to increasing opportunities for them. The command has about 60,000 employees, 95 percent of whom are civilians. "We provide ship, submarines, aircraft carriers, and weapons systems to our warfighters," he told the group. "We're responsible for all the maintenance on our surface ships, subs and aircraft carriers."
McCoy continued to promote the significance of the command's numerous and diverse career opportunities, including his own passion for work done at the Navy's shipyards.
"Half of NAVSEA carries a lunch bucket, wears a hard hat and steel-toe shoes to work each day. In my opinion, we have the best blue-collar jobs in America -- jobs you can raise a family on," he said. "The entry requirement to be an electrician, pipe-fitter, welder, technician, is a high-school [diploma] and lots of enthusiasm. We will give you everything else. We have stable careers working on some of our nation's most important military war platforms."
The agreement between the commands establishes their roles and responsibilities for the coordination of Operation Warfighter internships available to servicemembers receiving medical treatment for combat-related injuries, as well as staff jobs for warriors in transition, and combat-wounded veterans, and their spouses and caregivers, as eligible, for various federal direct-hiring authorities.
Juan Garcia, assistant secretary of Navy manpower and reserve affairs, also lauded NAVSEA's contributions toward warrior transition efforts, and reminded assembled troops that employers are eager to put their skills, knowledge and determination to use.
"This is not charity. This is not a 'set-aside' program," Garcia said. "Wounded warriors are, by definition, tenacious and resilient. They are leaders and doers. At a very young age, they have proven themselves capable of accomplishing what has been set before them.
"In the Department of the Navy, NAVSEA has set the pace and created the model for wounded warrior integrations," he continued. "They have made a commitment. They have put their money where their mouth is, and they have brought accountability to the process."
(From a Naval Sea Systems Command news release.)
Vice Adm. Kevin McCoy
Army Brig. Gen. Gary Cheek