Career Advice: Shooting Range Instructor

Many veterans can end up struggling to adapt to civilian work life, and this becomes increasingly more difficult the longer the term of service. Military work life and active duty bring with them certain ethics and approaches that are not always suitable to other work environments.

One way to mitigate this is to choose an industry where there are either a lot of veterans employed or the products and services offered are similar to military work environments. One of our previous posts highlighted work as a gunsmith or gun sales assistant, which is quite obviously something any soldier would be able to relate to.

Another option though is to work as a shooting range instructor to train civilians in the use of various firearms. This is a great way to use knowledge and experience from the military and bring it to a point where it can be related to non-military people.

shooting rangeWorking at a gun range will bring familiar sounds and equipment to a veteran, and there are lots of services that you would be able to offer. At the most basic level you can provide training to people who have never owned a gun or want to become more proficient at it, maybe for competitive target shooting purposes.

Another very common problem for people at a shooting range is how to sight in a scope. This is a task any soldier would be very familiar with, but unless you know what you are doing it can be difficult to understand and do right. Help people out with this task is very common, especially at the start of the hunting season.

With AR 15 rifles being ever more popular you will also find people using such rifles for multiple purposes including hunting. As the AR15 takes a lot of its design features from military weapons, veterans are perfectly suited to helping out with their maintenance. The great thing with the AR is that it comes with loads of different mounting brackets so you will likely encounter people looking to sight in the best AR 15 optics for different purposes (including hunting and tactical), who require a little help with the assembly and sighting.

Many states require training and certification to become an instructor and you should check out the various educational assistance programs open to veterans to see if any of them qualify. But having full certification will certainly help in finding work in this field.

The best thing you can do is head to a local shooting range and talk to an owner about some available part time work and what they require from employees. They will also be able to point you in the right direction for certification requirements that may be necessary.

Education Advice: College Assistance Programs

Serving those who served their country

The men and women serving in the armed forces of the United States, regardless of branch, deserve the honor, the respect and gratitude of a grateful nation. While no single act can really thank the brave men and women who faithfully served their country, as a nation, we can at least provide them with greater opportunity here at home. Training grants and scholarships for military personnel, veterans and their families are available in the United States through their servicemen and women.

Scholarships and grants for veterans are supported by the Federal Government, as well as from military associations, universities, and private donors. After the sacrifices made by our military and their families, it is right to help them find new opportunities and achievements here at home.

Federal Programs For Veterans

graduationSince the dawn of GI Bill, the Federal Government has been dedicated to helping returning veterans find the funds that they need to get a college education. How times have changed, so have government financial aid programs for military veterans and their families. While the programs continue to change with the times, the Federal resolution remains constant. These financial help initiatives exist to help military veterans define their own success at home, giving them much needed support and encouragement in their aspirations for a college degree.

The Montgomery G.I. Bill

The G.I. Bill is one of the best known financial aid services in the USA and it is no exaggeration to say that the introduction of the Montgomery GI Bill changed the face of the nation giving returning veterans access to higher education. In many ways, the Bill created the growing of the middle class that would become the backbone of the United States. The G.I. Bill has undergone many changes since its inception, but continues to provide much needed financial assistance to veterans who wish to pursue a college education.

The Montgomery Bill benefits are accessible by military personnel who have agreed to have $ 100 withheld from their monthly earnings. Military can also opt to have an addition of $ 600 deducted from their monthly salary to receive greater benefits after his discharge from active duty. The amount of financial aid available through GI Bill varies and depends on time served and the contributions of the individual soldier. Typically, service personnel who were honorably discharged become eligible up to 36 months of education benefits, or about $ 37,000.

GI Bill is also available for reservists and National Guard members, who opted to pay into the program during their time of service. To these auxiliary members of the armed forces, training benefits total will be about $ 11,000.

G.I. Bill benefits can be used for tuition fees at accredited colleges, universities and professional schools throughout the country. Benefits include contributions for college fees, accomodation, books and other college expenses. All benefits are contingent upon the length of military service. The G.I. Bill benefits are payable for up to ten years following release from active duty service members.

The Post 9/11 G.I. Bill

The Post 9/11 G.I. Bill was approved by law makers in 2009 and is an extension of above Montgomery G.I. Bill. It was specifically designed to benefit servicemen and women who saw active service immediately following the events of September 11, 2001. To be eligible, they must have enlisted as military personnel within 90 days from September 10, 2001. Particular attention is paid to those service members who were discharged because of a service related disability.

This Bill provides financial assistance to eligible military members who are pursuing third level education at an accredited college, University or technical school for 36 months. Educational fees, including housing, books and expenses of the supervisor, will be paid to those servicemen and women who enroll in a public college/university. Veterans who choose to continue their education at a private school or University may require additional benefits through the yellow ribbon project.

Post 9/11 G.I. Bill benefits are offered to veterans looking to sign up for undergraduate and graduate level studies at an accredited college or University, as well as to veterans pursuing courses at a vocational or technical school. The benefits are allocated on the basis of time served, mode of distribution and are contingent on veterans who receive an honorable discharge.

Gun Maintenance And Sales

Gun ownership in America is still growing and one great opportunity is to seek employment at a gun store or manufacturer. While the big gun makers may be located in just a few areas, there are many small gun stores that take on personalised and one off projects for individuals as well as police and armed services.

This is one industry that probably seeks out retired soldiers the most due to their extensive knowledge and experience with guns and ammunition and the ease with which they can work with guns. The first-hand knowledge and training gained in a military career is second to none and is in great demand with all the increased demand for home protection.

vietnam memorialSelling is a skill that can be taught and will come more natural to some. But the important thing is that you have to know the product you are selling and being a veteran brings that knowledge and appeal to potential buyers. It’s like buying a cell phone. Would you rather have a butcher try and convince you of the merits of a cell phone or a young technology geek that actually understands the inner workings?

There is also the aspect of maintenance and repairs. These are skills taught to all soldiers as it is crucial to many combat situations. Gun store owners love it when they can hire a veteran as the amount of teaching the job is minimal. You are practically ready to start working the moment you walk in the door.

Of course there are new concepts and possibly different types of guns to get familiar with, but the basics are all the same. With a little experience and further training this can then lead to careers in custom gun making which is becoming increasingly popular in the public.

But there is also the appeal to work on law enforcement and military projects where you know that your work will make the difference to a fellow soldier or police officer and will help save lives. It is a great way to work in an industry you are very familiar with and to make a significant difference to the customers you serve.

Checking in with local gun stores and asking whether they are hiring is one of the best options, as you can immediately talk to the owner and sell the fact that you are a veteran looking for work. If any store owner has work they will be foolish to turn down a veteran.

The Special Forces Of The US Military

There are about 29,000 men from the Army, Air Force and Navy directly involved in Special Forces and operations teams.

Special Forces of the US Army, are concentrated in the United States Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) whose headquarters are located on Fla. McDill air force base. The marine corps is not part of this.

Non-conventional soldiers for a non-conventional war, these highly trained men are however not able to blend into the local population, their mission being essentially limited in duration: identifying targets, hit a military target, free hostages, or remove an enemy.

The USSOCOM

marine corpsThe USSOCOM was created in 1987 after the Pentagon had learned from the resounding failure in April 1980 attempt to free U.S. hostages in Iran. The operation “Desert One” then resulted in the death of eight men in the desert near Tabas (East).

It brings together men of the U.S. Army, the US Air Force and Navy.

The Army Rangers

On the side of the US Army, the most famous commandos are the Rangers. These are particularly distinguished to the actions in Panama in 1989 to dislodge general Manuel Noriega. They have also conducted lightning raids during the 1991 Gulf war, with no loss. But in October 1993, 18 members of the Rangers and Delta Force (counter-terrorist unit) were killed in Mogadishu while they were on the trail of the war chief Somali Mohamed Farah Aidid. The 75th Ranger regiment is based at Fort Benning (Georgia).

The Air Special Operations Regiment

The US Army also has an airborne component: the 160th aviation regiment of special operations (SOAR), whose men are nicknamed the “night stalkers” (hunters of the night). Based in Fort Campbell (Kentucky), this unit uses MH-60 Blackhawk and CH-47 Chinook helicopters to transport commandos behind enemy lines. Their motto is: “death watch in the dark”.

The Body Of The Special Forces

airforceThe other pillar of the army is the body of the Special Forces, known as the Green berets. Their primary mission is “special recognition”: infiltrate the enemy zone by land or air to monitor a region or a site, but also locate targets to hit.

Special Forces must remain there independently for days, weeks, or even months. They have particularly did this just before the Gulf wars.

Special Forces are divided into five active units, including the 5th airborne group that trained in the Gulf and Pakistan in recent years. In August 1992, four months before the arrival of American soldiers in Somalia, they were already there.

The Delta Force

Finally, the Delta Force is the anti-terrorist unit of the army. Involved in the Iranian fiasco of 1980, its essential role is to save hostages. Based in Fort Bragg (North Carolina), its workforce – secret – consist of Rangers, green berets and paratroopers from the famous 82nd airborne division (82nd Airborne), that fought in Normandy in June 1944. His men were in Panama and in the Gulf.

Air Force

On the side of the US Air Force, there is the 16th air brigade of special operations. Made up of 7,000 men, it has AC-130 Spectre (a C – 130 transformed into a platform of flying artillery), of MH-53 Pave Low helicopters and MC – 130 Combat Talon long-range action aircraft allowing penetration at night and low altitude to drop paratroopers and equipment. The motto of this unit based at Hurlburt (Florida) is “anytime, anywhere”.

In the case of operations in Afghanistan, the USAF can also count on men of the 720th special tactics (TSG) group, also based at Hurlburt. Commandos are especially trained to seize an airport to prepare the arrival of the air reinforcements.

The Navy

Finally, the U.S. Navy has commandos know as SEALs (SEa, Air, Land – sea air, Earth), these famous combat divers are masters in the art of underwater commando operations, but also in reconnaissance and intelligence missions.

Veterans Health

This is probably one of the most important topics to many veterans and there is a huge amount that falls under this category. In the past veterans’ health has mainly cantered around helping wounded soldiers to heal and come to terms with adaptations in their lives.

However, it has become increasingly more relevant that many veterans bear scars that show no physical signs in the form of mental health issues. Suicide among vets is increasing and already among the highest in any group of society.

Strangely enough there seems to be extensive work being done to help the mental health of those that have also suffered physical pain, and in many places has become common practice during the physical rehabilitation process. However, there is a lot of work left to help men and women to cope with some of the things that they have witnessed in places no person would want to find themselves in.hospital

From conversations with veterans that are dealing with mental health issues we have come to understand the shortcomings in the services offered through the VA and associated health programs. Obviously there is the work of public awareness to this subject, but that has already taken decades to get to where it is today.

So how do you help those suffering today? The first thing that needs to happen is that the stigma and barrier to discussing this topic have to be broken down. Veterans and their loved ones have to be able to talk about these matters to start the process of healing.

Many VA locations have started setting up self-help groups where those with mental health issues are able to meet with others in a similar situation and also with those that have found the help they need to function in civilian society again.

The first step for any veteran to take would be to seek out these self-help groups and talk to representatives at a local VA office about getting the access to mental health experts needed. In many cases this may involve working with a psychologist and may not require medication. But those are decisions that health experts should make

If the VA is not able to help out in a timely manner then another option would be seek out help privately. The longer these issues linger, just like with any other physical ailment, the worse they can get.

The message should always be to actively seek help. Any physical injury would be dealt with by professionals and there would be no questioned asked about getting that help. Mental health is even more complex than physical help and wanting to fix it should not be seen as a weakness, but strength.