NAWCWD veterans help veterans

By Matthew Denny

NAWCWD Public Affairs

The Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons Division kicked off its first Veterans Resource Group gathering at China Lake on April 2.

The VRG was created by NAWCWD military veterans Dalisia Mendoza, Matt Schmeiser, Eivind Forseth, Matt Denny, Chang Wong and Tim Johnson to provide a resource for servicemembers and veterans throughout WD.

The mission of the VRG is veterans helping veterans by providing employment transition and reintegration assistance, networking, mentoring and professional development opportunities to our current and incoming veterans to increase retention and foster job enrichment.

“It is nice to see that we have folks that used to be in uniform and know what it’s like to transition, leading this effort,” said Capt. Karl Andina, NAWCWD’s vice commander, who welcomed veterans and active-duty service members at both sites.

“Admiral Moran and Scott O’Neil are serious about attracting and maintaining a good workforce and you’re a part of that, whether you got out a long time ago, you’re thinking about it soon or if you’re recently out.

“Something I have noticed here is that WD personnel really believe in the mission, and with you coming from the military it’s easier for you all to see and understand the affect our command has on the warfighter. I am really happy that we at WD are once again at the front in leading this effort of veterans helping veterans.”

More than 75 veterans attended these first events.

“Today was a good place to come and get a lot of good information,” said AO2 Patrick Her-nandez of the Fleet Readiness Center. “I think it’s a great thing that’s being started here. With me still being active duty, it gave me options of coming back and working for NAWCWD after we get out that I didn’t know I had. Plus networking and meeting other veterans is invaluable.”

Schmeiser, a VRG founder, served 13 years in the Marine Corps and is now head of NAWCWD’s Cyber Security Divi-sion.

“I believe in taking care of our veterans,” he said. “Our soldiers, sailors, coast guardsmen, airmen and Marines went out and put themselves in harm’s way, so why wouldn’t we help them? Especially when we’ve got vets returning from Afghanistan and Iraq who are going to need jobs and assistance.

“Transitioning out of the military into any job is a process and we are here to help them along the way.”

NAWCWD plans to hold future gatherings at both sites quarterly.

Story First Published: 2014-04-09