Written by Sgt. Marcus Floyd
101st Combat Aviation Brigade
Fort Campbell, KY – Active-duty Soldiers have more than 150 different career paths to choose from when they join the Army, and although everyone’s time in service will differ from one, there is one thing Soldiers have in common.
“Every single one of us in the military is going to take off the uniform one day,” said Lt. Col. Kenrick Smith, the deputy commander of the 101st Combat Aviation Brigade, 101st Airborne Division, from Las Vegas, Nevada.
Community leaders from Murray, Kentucky, Wednesday visited the Milton A. Lee Soldier for Life Center and 101st CAB Soldiers to build upon the unit’s partnership with the city of Murray.
The partnership focuses on helping Soldiers transitioning out of the Army to find jobs in the surrounding communities. Visitors from Murray included the mayor, chief of police, sheriff of Calloway County, judge executive and several business executives.
“We wanted to show them the transition process Soldiers go through before they become civilians,” Smith said. “Additionally, we wanted to show them Solders in their actual environment doing their jobs so they can see how they are comparable to the civilian workers they need in the workplace.”
During the visit, Harold Riggins, Soldier for Life-Transition Assistance Program director, said many of the programs available to Soldiers can assist them in becoming desirable candidates for employment outside of the Army.
“This has been a very informative meeting for us,” said Jack Rose, mayor of Murray mayor. “We are trying to look at ways to coordinate our efforts with the [101st Airborne Division] efforts to have folks who are leaving the military being employed in our community which we believe will help our community, as well as be a benefit to them.”
Rose said it is important for him and the Murray community to gain a better understanding of what Soldiers do other than fight wars.
“We feel like from everything we’ve seen and heard from talking with you folks for the past few months, we think that when someone retires from the military they’ve had a lot of experience working with teams,” Rose said. “They also have a skill set that has very much been engrained in that person for any number of kinds of jobs.”
After leaving the SFL-TAP center the group visited the supply support activity warehouse assigned to the 96th Aviation Support Battalion, 101st CAB, and a hangar assigned to the 1st Battalion, 101st Aviation Battalion, 101st CAB, to see firsthand what Soldiers do daily.
“It’s about relating to the civilian community and telling our story so they understand what Soldiers bring,” Smith said. “I think most of us get very focused on our schedules and what we do in the military, but we don’t realize that everybody doesn’t exactly understand what we do on a day-to-day basis and what we can bring to the community.”
However, Soldiers bring more to future employers than simply job experience. Rose said, Soldiers learn a skill that many other potential employees may not possess.
“People in the military generally have more leadership management skills,” he said. “We feel like if we can get your people in our community that you will bring a set of skills that you just don’t find every day.”
Looking to the future, Smith said partnerships similar to the one the division is building with the city of Murray are great and he hopes to foster more relationships like it.
“Fort Campbell and the [101st] is a division that is very proud to be part of the Tennessee and Kentucky communities,” he said. “Our Soldiers will be a great part of the workforce when they get out of this uniform.”
101st Airborne Division, 101st Combat Aviation Brigade, 96th Aviation Support Battalion, Calloway County, Fort Campbell KY, Harold Riggins, Kenrick Smith, Las Vegas NV, Marcus Floyd, Milton A. Lee Soldier for Life Center, Murray KY