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Shaffer
09-16-02, 03:09 PM
"Once a Marine, Always a Marine" The Marine Corps prides itself on the fact
that there's no such thing as an ex-Marine. Now, a new national program,
Marine For Life, aims to link Marines leaving active duty with Veteran
Marines and Marine-friendly businesses back home, for help in making that
transition back to civilian life.
"About 27,000 Marines honorably leave active duty every year," says Major
Gary Dean, Marine For Life project officer in Washington D.C. "The Corps
wants to make certain that Marines returning home can connect with great
local companies that will appreciate their discipline, hard work ethic and
initiative."
"We're basically creating a formal network for the Marine Corps 'alumni
association' that already exists around the world," adds Dean.
Good News for Local Employers
The bonus for local companies is that the program provides connectivity with
a stream of highly motivated, energetic, and professional Veteran Marines
eager to find challenges in the civilian world similar to the ones they
conquered as Marines.
"One of the great features of the Marine Corps is that we produce a lot of
quality people who go back home and contribute to their communities," says
Major Jeff Rooks, the Atlanta Area Hometown Link.
The Marine Corps officially launched the Marine For Life program this summer
in 45 cities across the country, including San Diego, San Francisco and
Atlanta. By next year, the program will expand to an additional 155
metropolitan areas, corresponding to the 185 current Marine Corps Reserve
locations.
Each local Marine For Life network is managed by a Reserve Marine (staff
sergeant - lieutenant colonel) known as a Hometown Link. This Marine serves
as a point of contact for transitioning Marines moving to the area, and
coordinates the local network of Veteran Marines and Marine-friendly
organizations.
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Whether Veteran Marines have served for four or 30 years, they are invited
to help Marines leaving active duty. Since they are already in the
community, and know the needs of those leaving the service, their
participation in the program is invaluable.
The Electronic Network
The program is supported by a national Internet database that allows Marines
to get information on employers and support services in their area.
"Marines can go in and register themselves and find out about events in
their community. They can also get a free email address there," explains
Lieutenant Colonel Steve Eckberg, national Hometown Link coordinator for the
program. While the e-mail address provided does not include Internet
Service, it does allow for transitioning Marines to stay connected during
their move.