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10-23-08, 05:50 AM
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
Marines transition into civilian life
Camp Pendleton works with transportation agency to help veterans explore career options.
The Orange County Register

ORANGE – Marines from Camp Pendleton preparing to hang up their uniforms took some time Wednesday to explore civilian careers in transportation.

The transition from the military to civilian life can be daunting so folks at the Orange County Transportation Authority called up officials at the Marine base to invite prospective job seekers to check out the agency's facilities and careers.

OCTA has nearly 2,000 employees and has a $170 million annual budget for salaries and benefits.

Troy Wilkins, 44, a 15-year veteran of the Marines, now an OCTA maintenance manager can relate to some of the anxieties of finding a new career after years of service.

"It's mind-boggling," Wilkins said. "I would stay up late at night wondering how I was going to support my family."

When Wilkins left his Camp Pendleton post in 1999, he spent months scouring the Internet, sent out 100 resumes a week and attended countless job fairs.

Staff Sgt. Todd Brandmeier, 43, has been a Marine for 20 years. He's worried about the current job market and is exploring all his career options: "Right now things are hard – people are not hiring. This might be a good opportunity for me, to take care of my family."

Brandmeier is also thinking jobs in public safety or fire prevention.

For Narciso Aleman, 38, a 20-year veteran of the Marines, working a part-time bus driving gig would be perfect for him to prepare for professional truck driving once he retires from the military.

He's not too worried about the transition to civilian life, other than missing his comrades.

Contact the writer: 714-704-3795 or sdaniels@ocregister.com