– US National Guards and reservists face unemployment crisis (PressTV, Nov 24, 2012):
Nearly 20 percent of US National Guards returning from military deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan are jobless because they generally have no ‘civilian experience.’
Across America, “an estimated 20% of returning National Guard soldiers and airmen are without jobs,” the Los Angeles Times reported Saturday, quoting a report to the US Congress by former National Guard Bureau Chief Gen. Craig R. McKinley earlier this year.
According to the report, the figure is twice the rate for all American military veterans that have served in US-led war deployments since September 2001.
Although the Obama administration has taken measures, including the signing into law of employer tax credits for hiring military veterans, the unemployment rate remains “stubbornly high” for US National Guard troops and military reservists.
The report further explains that some employers are reluctant to hire National Guardsmen since they can be called up again for military deployments, unlike other US war veterans that join “the civilian workforce.”
According to the report, the more than 1 million US National Guard and reserve members “have been transformed by the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan into frontline forces.”
“Even as the wars wind down,” it adds, “the troops are being tapped for peacekeeping duties in Africa, Europe and elsewhere.” Additionally, National Guard members are also obligated to respond to calls for dealing with emergencies such as major brush fires.
Moreover, advocates for US war veterans fear that despite reports of an improving job market in the country, their employment difficulties will get even worse as the American military completes its “drawdown in Iraq and Afghanistan.”
The Pentagon, meanwhile, estimates that as many as 1 million of its military forces will enter the civilian workforce within the next five years.
Sgt. 1st Class Timothy King, a recently redeployed military police member mentioned in the report, said his marriage collapsed because he was away for three of the last six years. “But he needed the deployments because he couldn’t find civilian work. Now he is in divorce proceedings and racking up credit card debt while caring for two young children and applying for jobs as a police officer.”