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Big days for job seeking veterans: JBLM holds one fair Thursday; Hire America’s Heroes set for Friday

Post by Adam Ashton / The News Tribune on Sep. 6, 2012 at 4:54 pm |
September 6, 2012 4:54 pm

One last reminder: The annual Hire America’s Heroes job fair at Safeco Field in Seattle is set for Friday. You can register here, or walk in starting at 8 a.m.

Today, we attended a college and apprenticeship fair for soldiers and Army spouses at Joint Base Lewis-McChord. We found hundreds of soldiers gathering information for the plans they’re making to leave the military down the road.

Some were just beginning their military careers. They were dabbling and making long-range plans. “When I’ll get out, I’ll be fine,” said Spc. Kaleel Salmon, 20.

We met other soldiers who know when they’re retiring, and are solidifying their goals for when they leave the service. You’ll see more in our story tomorrow.

We also met a few people who wanted to check out the career fair because they know the Army plans to draw down its ranks over the next decade, and they want to prepare themselves in case they lose out in the upcoming force reduction. The Army has announced plans to cut about 72,000 positions from its total force in the years ahead.

“I might be one of those guys who hasn’t done anything wrong but still gets cut if they want to keep someone with more experience,” said Spc. Nicholas  Howell, a two-time veteran of the Iraq War with the 4th Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division. He’s preparing for an Afghanistan mission late this fall and working for a promotion to sergeant.

Howell looked comfortable behind the controls of heavy earth-moving equipment that was on display during the apprenticeship fair. He’s been driving 20-ton Stryker vehicles for the Army for the past five years. “Not nervous at all,” he said, stepping out of the backhoe. “Too easy.”

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