As the season of faith and family is upon us, it is reassuring to know that we are protected for the holidays, courtesy of the men and women of the U.S. military. I had the recent opportunity and honor to spend two days out at sea on the aircraft carrier U.S.S. Nimitz, complete with a tail hook landing, catapult launch and the separation of my stomach through my throat.
After watching day and night F-18 flight operations and the precision with which the ship is run, I feel confident in stating that my personal “safe space” is aboard the U.S.S. Nimitz. The work done by the Nimitz in protecting our country, aiding in humanitarian missions after natural disasters, and training the future workers of America is nonpareil. The big takeaway for me is that the men and women of the U.S. Navy are a spectacularly capable and dedicated group. And that you really don’t want to mess with a ship the size of a city block that comes with its own air force.
Often today we hear of only the negative as it relates to our youth who are making their way to adulthood, but I can tell you that my faith in our future has been utterly and completely restored after interacting with a bunch of 18-21-year-olds who are managing about 10 times the responsibility I had at the same age. I was worried about waking up for my ill-scheduled 7:40 AM class at their age. They are launching Super Hornets off a flight deck and maintaining two nuclear reactors.
I had the privilege of meeting crew members from Florida, Kentucky, Connecticut, Oklahoma, and the Arizona hometowns of Avondale, Bullhead City, Mesa, Tucson, Chandler, and Phoenix. (The only issue was when Cpt. John Ring, a UA grad, would not let me board the ship while I was wearing my Sun Devil windbreaker. He eventually relented and all was well.) To a person these young men and women get exemplary cross training in a variety of jobs and duties before they finish their tours and head back into the daily working world.
Making it especially rewarding is that so many Arizona companies hire these veterans when they finish up, and it’s not just the defense contractors who figured out long ago the value of hiring veterans. Arizona Public Service has almost 20 percent of its employee base consisting of veterans, and after seeing how competent they are in their military lives, it is understandable why they would be so productive and desired in the workaday world.
Unfortunately some of them get overlooked because their resume may not quite be what we are looking for or may not have the buzz word included in the job description. So, take an extra moment and give a veteran a second look. They have been trained to excel in unfamiliar and uncomfortable situations and that training will shine through when given a chance at a job.