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Returning Augusta-based National Guard soldiers find job search difficult

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Job searches are hard enough in this economy, but some Augusta-based National Guard soldiers are looking for work from 6,000 miles away.

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Catherine Tindall holds her baby daughter Lillian. Her husband, Spc. Bret Tindall, was away in Afghanistan when Lillian was born in April.  Zach Boyden-Holmes/Staff
Zach Boyden-Holmes/Staff
Catherine Tindall holds her baby daughter Lillian. Her husband, Spc. Bret Tindall, was away in Afghanistan when Lillian was born in April.

The 877th Engineering Company is set to return to Augusta in mid-December, and many soldiers are worried they won’t have work when they get back.

Sgt. 1st Class Jason Koharchik is trying to get the word out in Aiken and Augusta on behalf of his soldiers.

“I would hate to see a soldier just returning from war standing in the unemployment line,” Koharchik wrote in an e-mail last week.

The skill sets among the soldiers vary, but since January they’ve been operating heavy machinery such as bulldozers, cranes and road graders.

The soldiers, between the ages of 20 and 35, are all engineers or mechanics. Their duties include building shelters out of bomb-resistant Hesco barriers and filling craters created by roadside bombs.

Most will return with 30 to 45 days of leave stored up but will start searching for work in earnest after Christmas, Koharchik said.

Catherine Tindall’s husband, Spc. Bret Tindall, has been trying to find work for the past two months while juggling his duties abroad.

“He’s been focused on it like crazy,” she said.

In a brief Web chat, Tindall said from Afghanistan that he’s sent his résumé to many places, but hasn’t heard back from any of them. It’s a struggle, he said, because the Internet connection is poor and he can’t meet with anyone face-to-face.

Catherine Tindall is looking forward to taking time off with her husband and two girls over Christmas. Her husband was away when their daughter Lillian was born in April, so the father and daughter will have to get acquainted.

But after Christmas, “I’m going to hit it hard,” Bret Tindall said about his job search.

Koharchik said it’s hard enough to return to civilian life without worrying about putting food on the table.

“The parades are nice, the medals and ribbons come with the territory, but a good paying job with health care are what the soldiers need,” he said.

WANT TO HELP?

Contact Sgt. 1st Class Jason Koharchik at jkoharchik@yahoo.com.

Comments (19) Add comment
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augusta citizen
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augusta citizen 11/29/11 - 09:48 am
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Best of luck to all of these

Best of luck to all of these soldiers in finding gainful employment upon returning home!

dhpsmp
20
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dhpsmp 11/29/11 - 10:00 am
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If they had a job before they
Unpublished

If they had a job before they went over, then their job should be waiting for them when they get back, it's the law. If they were not employed before going, then the first job openings anywhere should go to the Vets, not some do nothing that hangs out on the street and expects someone else to support them.

Chillen
17
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Chillen 11/29/11 - 10:01 am
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I tell you what, given the

I tell you what, given the state of our economy, I'd commit to staying in the Army full time. It's a guaranteed paycheck that will get adjusted for inflation.

Patty-P
3516
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Patty-P 11/29/11 - 11:57 am
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The article makes it seem

The article makes it seem like everyone that is returning is getting out of the military. If they are still in the military they will still have a job, just won't be a civilian job. Seems like it would be best to stay in right now. Jobs are scarce these days.

raul
4843
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raul 11/29/11 - 12:00 pm
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In addition to the bad

In addition to the bad economy, another problem is most of these soldiers are young when they enlist with not much prior experience and the job experience they gain in the military is not always adaptable to civilian job requirements as evidenced by the brief description in the article. However, traits such as, dependability, mission oriented, loyalty, are needed to succeed in any job and should be given due weight in the hiring process.

kmb413
533
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kmb413 11/29/11 - 12:14 pm
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Patty-P, they are National

Patty-P, they are National Gaurd, meaning 1 weekend a month and 2 weeks a year. I am a reservist, 1 weekend a month and 2 weeks a year. That $300 paycheck is nice each month, and they are still in the military. When the orders end, they are back to 1 weekend a month and 2 weeks a year.

It was very difficult to find a job when I got back. Many employers won't say that they are scared to hire someone who may be deployed again. That would be illegal to not hire because we are National Gaurd or Reserve. They find another reason.

mrsbriscoe
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mrsbriscoe 11/29/11 - 12:35 pm
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My son-in-law is currently

My son-in-law is currently serving in Afghanistan and when he returns home he is hoping he has a job. He is a civilian mechanic with the National Guard but with all the Defense budget cuts nothing is etched in stone. I sympathize with the returning soldiers and maybe they don't want to stay in the military for fear of another deployment. Unless you've been there you have no idea how tough it is on both soldier and family. I pray the economy gets better so that everyone who wants a job can get one. GOD BLESS ALL OUR MILITARY

stillamazed
1488
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stillamazed 11/29/11 - 01:10 pm
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I agree with dhpsmp didn't

I agree with dhpsmp didn't they have jobs before they deployed? I thought it was a law that their jobs were protected also. As long as the US continues to outsource so many jobs we will stay this way. You can't tell me that Americans will not take customer assistance jobs in companies like At&t, I hate calling any companies customer service and getting someone that I cannot even understand and who can't understand me. Farm labor I can see no one really wanting but many of these outsourced jobs are jobs that most any American could and would do. I pray that things will get better also.

Black Mamba
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Black Mamba 11/29/11 - 01:33 pm
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Everyone looking for a job
Unpublished

Everyone looking for a job get out of the way of returning soldiers and let them have the jobs you don't need one. According to dhpsmp you're all do nothings waiting for a handout anyways....

Taylor B
5
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Taylor B 11/29/11 - 01:48 pm
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Im trying to find a wounded

Im trying to find a wounded warrior a job now. Very difficult time in my field this time of year.

Sargebaby
4693
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Sargebaby 11/29/11 - 02:26 pm
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Returning Veterans do not

Returning Veterans do not always have an option to remain in the Military. There are several reasons why, and common sense should point out the obvious. Medical and conduct can keep a Veteran from re-enlisting. I agree that if possible, remaining in the service, if eligible, is the best way to go!

SquinchBug
0
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SquinchBug 11/29/11 - 02:55 pm
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Just because a soldier is

Just because a soldier is deployed, which means being called to Active Duty, if they are national guard, doesn't mean they are going to be on "active duty" or "work for the military" full time when they return. Alot of these soldiers are national guard and left jobs to deploy with their unit. Alot of them took pay cuts to deploy or alot of them are coming back to their companies being closed or their positions being done away with and are forced to take a lower paying one. This economy does Stink and unfortunately there is no Job Guarantee just because a soldier was deployed, like everyone would like to believe. Nothing is that simple.

bclicious
718
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bclicious 11/29/11 - 05:35 pm
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I just saw a story about this

I just saw a story about this exact same topic on Yahoo News yesterday. Yes, there is a guarantee that holds reservists and national guards troops jobs while they are activated. It is strictly regulated by the government and it is called the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA).

It is always disheartening when you look at the overall statistics of homeslessness, unemployment, Alcohol abuse, and Drug abuse amongst our nations veterans. Unfortunately, those stats are through the roof.

Yes, I do believe that we should do everything we can within our society to keep our returning troops employed and off the streets, but times are tough and everyone is hurting. Also, as the military continues to draw down, this is only going to get worse.

My advice to my fellow veterans is, "Plan ahead" Also, take full advantage of your GI Bill benefits.

kmb413
533
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kmb413 11/29/11 - 03:45 pm
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Many of my fellow servicemen

Many of my fellow servicemen and women took deployment orders because they were laid off. There is no job to return to.

In some cases, while they are deployed the company closed it's doors. Again, no job to return to.

They do qualify for unemployment benefits, better than nothing.

I have been in the same situation, it is hard to find a job when you return. I used my GI benefits. Took a job that was not the best, but it paid the bills. As I said before, some companies will find other reasons not to hire a reservist or gaurdsman.

SquinchBug
0
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SquinchBug 11/29/11 - 08:41 pm
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Kmb413, you hit the nail on

Kmb413, you hit the nail on the head!!!! Alot of the guys in my husbands unit deployed with him because they were laid off and needed SOMETHING. I JUST PRAY these guys get a break....They deserve it!! Also, thank u for your service!!!!!

Augusta resident
1368
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Augusta resident 11/29/11 - 09:48 pm
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There are millions of Vets

There are millions of Vets looking for a job. There's just not millions of jobs. Not to mention tax breaks companies get for hiring welfare/food stamp people and inmates. I delivered furniture and bussed tables while I was in the National Guard until Uncle Sam hired me.
Having said that, these vets returning should be trained on saving money while deployed. I see them buying expensive motorcycles, cars and big rims. A lot of them try to get deployed again.

OIC
25
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OIC 11/29/11 - 11:25 pm
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Last time i checked the

Last time i checked the military was giving enlistment bonuses. In this economy many people need employment. Most National Guardsmen have the option to go Active Duty. It is a choice that each Guardsman will have to make. I am not an advocate for giving preference to anyone. Apply for a career and compete with all the other unemployed.

Frankie-B
48
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Frankie-B 11/30/11 - 03:25 am
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These troops should band

These troops should band together and form their own construction firm. They'd win a lot of work.

desertcat6
1140
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desertcat6 11/30/11 - 03:46 am
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Agree this is a very tough

Agree this is a very tough situation for ARNG Soldiers who didn't have a job before deploying, or have no job to return to for reasons beyond thier or thier employers control. There is a little time to help the Soldiers from our community. It's called a Job Fair. The question is, who will step up to volunteer to work with this company's rear detachment to set it up, and which companies/education institutions are willing to participate? What a great oppourtunity to give a little back to our Soldiers.

pspeering
0
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pspeering 11/30/11 - 06:23 am
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I left Augusta 7 years ago,

I left Augusta 7 years ago, departing the GA Army National Guard for Active Duty because the career opportunities are much better as a Regular Army Soldier. The private sector does not benefit from Guard/Reserve Soldiers. Only the lucky few that can acquire a federal, state or local government job usually fare well in their careers with the disruptions from deployments, annual training exercises, or disaster relief. Since 2008 the enlistment bonuses have dried up. The recruiters are now very selective on who can enter the Active Duty, usually only initial entry, Guard/Reserve Soldiers are not targeted since they are already filling a position. The US Military is using the reservists like a temp service.

allhans
23619
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allhans 11/30/11 - 03:07 pm
0
0
Wow. Will we now have

Wow. Will we now have ex-military competing against civilians for jobs. What a mess. And a lot more to come.

We aren't nearly to the end of this and our fearless leader is all smiles.

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