After finishing their military careers, many veterans envision continuing their government careers at the Department of Defense (DOD) or another defense-related organization. True heroes with a passion for serving their country, these veterans often feel these are the only places where they can continue their dedication to public service. However, USDA is committed to showing veterans that they can continue to serve the public within our agency, supporting the agriculture industry and all of the people it touches.
U.S. Marine Corps (USMC) Staff Sergeant Justin E. Fichter recently joined the Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) as an intern for the Poultry Program. Justin was brought to our agency through a partnership with the Department of Defense Wounded Warrior Program’s Operation Warfighter (OWF). AMS is a proud partner with Operation Warfighter, a program that helps wounded, ill, or injured service members transition into the civilian workforce while they receive medical treatment.
The partnership with Operation Warfighter is just part of our commitment to helping our veterans make a smooth transition into the civilian workforce. We attend career fairs and other events to let these heroes know that their military training provides the perfect tools to help jump start their careers at USDA or AMS. Holding one of our positions in compliance and analysis, budget analysis or even procurement draws on skills similar to those taught in all of the armed services.
After sustaining injuries in Afghanistan, Justin decided to continue his public service career in our Poultry Program’s Commodity Procurement Division. He worked directly with our clients, handling vendor invoices for a variety of poultry producers, including Fortune 500 companies. The experience gave him networking opportunities and taught him valuable skills that will help him propel through the ranks in any organization.
In a very short time, Justin became a valuable part of our staff. “It didn’t take Justin long to get the hang of our processes,” said Nate Sudbeck, Poultry Program Commodity Procurement Division. “No matter how difficult or hard a task was, we could always depend on Justin to complete it on or before schedule. We enjoyed having Justin on board and appreciated the help that he gave our office.”
Following Operation Warfighter’s vision, Justin has since moved on to another opportunity – running the Marine Corps’ Battle Staff Training Facility. A true leader, he will be responsible for running a war gaming simulator, a multi-million dollar system used to train newly appointed General Officers, Commanders and the staff of Combat Operation Center (COC) Marines. It simulates the intensity of communications taking place during battle in the command center.
As we return from the Memorial Day holiday and reflect on the sacrifices our troops make every day, USDA remains committed to our partnership with Operation Warfighter. As a U.S. Marine Corps Veteran myself, I’m glad we can offer opportunities that help veterans like Justin transition into careers that allow them to continue serving their country. Together, USDA and USMC will continue to serve our country – something we love to do.