>>Text: CPT FLO GROBERG U.S. ARMY 2008-2015
>>Text: CPL CRISTINE PEDERSEN U.S. MARINE CORPS 2010-2015
>>Text: SSG JASON McCARTHY U.S. ARMY SPECIAL FORCES 2003-2008
>>Jason: My car was at the front gate of Ft. Carson and, you know, they took my DOD military
installation stickers off and, you know, I couldn't get back on base anymore, I don't
have an ID card, because I'm exiting. And I started my drive back east home to Florida
and I just started crying. The reality is that the transition is going to be really
hard. However hard you think it is, it's going to be 10 times harder.
>>Florent: Life is different on the outside. I'm going to tell you right now. Not to scare
you, I'm giving you a reality check. Reality is you're on your own. You still have that
great support system with the VA. But you have to be proactive. You cannot wait for
people to reach out to you.
>>Cristine: And as confident as you might think you are, you're still on a military
base right now. You still have the support network. You still have the structure and
that's going to go away.
>>Jason: I took for granted how difficult it was going to be. And so, you know, losing
my identity. Losing my job. Losing my, sort of, calling. The mission. All of those kinds
of things. I had been highly trained to be alone and unafraid and now I was very much
alone and afraid at nothing, you know?
>>Florent: It's really difficult when you love something so much and you realize that
it's going away. You feel like you didn't have enough to time to really appreciate while
you had it. But most importantly, it scares you a little bit in regards to what's next
and how you're going to find something that you love so much.
>>Jason: I didn't really know what I was going to do with my life. I mean, I thought I could...I
thought I was really valuable to someone. You know? I thought I've got this great resume
or I've got this great experience, leadership and chaos? No problem. Stress? No problem.
World's worst environments? No problem. That stuff doesn't exactly translate perfectly.
>>Florent: I didn't know what the heck I wanted to do. I was lost and so I started thinking
about, well, maybe I'll become a contractor overseas. Or maybe I'll go, you know, do,
I don't even know. I didn't have a plan.
>>Cristine: I would say all in all, it was a pretty terrifying experience because you
don't know what's going to happen and that can easily lead to you sitting and just falling
into a hole of anxiety.
>>Jason: Like everything, it's a process. And I did not take responsibility for my transition
at that time and it cost me.
>>Florent: when I went through TAP, I was just a typical guy or gal who just shows up
and is like "Ugh, come on. Let's get through this."
>>Jason: There was a lot of information that I got as I was out-processing. And most of
the time I just thought it didn't apply to me.
>>Cristine: I remember going home at the end of each day sort of being like, "Okay, I need
to sift through some of this because this is a lot."
>>Jason: What I do remember really well is that the Army put a lot of time and effort
into making sure that I showed up in these classes and that I showed up and there were
people that talked. And they said, "Hey, this is...we're here for you."
>>Cristine: This class is the best resource for you to get all of your questions answered.
So if you're not paying attention right now or if you are just waiting to get out of this
class so that you can go home and research and get all your questions answered, then
you need to wake up and realize that these resources are here. The people are here to
answer your questions.
>>Florent: TAP is just your final opportunity to prepare yourself for civilian world. You
train yourself for combat and TAP is sort of the final phase where you go through all
your rehearsals and you ask those final questions, right? Would you not pay attention during
your training? And think that you would successfully be able to accomplish your mission? Or, most
importantly, would you not pay attention during your rehearsals? Your rock drills? And think
that you're going to be ready to accomplish a mission the next day? No. I mean, that doesn't
>>Jason: I wish that I had done a a lot more research and talked to a lot more people about
what my options really were.
>>Cristine: If I could go through the transition program again, I would bring a highlighter
and I would sift through all of the material and the resources and I would sort of tabulate
"Okay, I need to know this for later." It might not be the most pertinent information
to me right now, but, you know, two years from now when I want to buy a house, I'm really
going to want to remember exactly how I go about getting a VA Home Loan. Because these
resources...they're always out there, but they're never going to be as easy to find
as they are right now.
>>Florent: Write down a lot of questions. And I don't care if you think they're dumb
or the smartest question you could every think of, write every question down you could possibly
have and ask them. Because I had a lot of questions for a good amount of time when I
got out. I still have questions now.
>>Jason: you're set up for success from the standpoint of you have this amazing experience
that makes you adaptable, that makes you an employer's dream. But at the same time, emotionally,
you're not ready yet. And so you need this time and you need to figure out how you're
going to adapt to the time and how you're going to build your own networks out of just
people that care about you.
>>Cristine: I think when I got out originally I didn't think I needed that sort of support
network. And I remember very distinctly it was my first semester at college and I went
to a women Veterans luncheon and I remember leaving that lunch and I was like "Whoa. I'm
finally around people that I can be myself around.
>>Florent: It's about getting yourself prepared. Just because you have the experience and the
set of skills they need doesn't mean they're just going to give you a job or a career.
You gotta earn it. You gotta work hard for it. You gotta prepare for it. You gotta set
yourself up with a network. You gotta go out there and challenge yourself.
>>Jason: Here's the deal. You're not supposed to be average now. You never were average.
You have all of this training. You have all of this experience and teamwork and leadership
and communication, so the expectation now is not that you're going to be average. The
expectation is that you're going to be one of the leaders of your generation.
>>Florent: And never forget that there's always going to be someone that's going to look up
to you. Be an example. You might not be wearing a uniform anymore, but you will always represent
our military. And I hope that your experiences in the military were just as amazing as mine
in every possible way, I'm saying the good and the bad, but you accomplished something
that is incredible and very few do, believe it or not. You are special. But you're not done.
>>Text: FLO GROBERG was awarded the Medal of Honor in 2015. After recovering at Walter
Reed Medical Center, he received his Masters from the University of Maryland. He currently
works for a major aeronautics company and co-wrote a book about his military experience
called "8 Seconds of Courage".
CRISTINE PEDERSEN attended Georgetown University through the Post-9/11 GI Bill to study post-conflict
reconstruction. She received the Tillman Scholarship for military students in 2017.
JASON McCARTHY used the Post-9/11 GI Bill to attend Georgetown University. He later
founded a company that sells military-grade backpacks and athletic gear in addition to
advocating for Veteran health through activity.
>>Text: IN COLLABORATION WITH
>>Graphic: U.S. Army Seal
>>Graphic: U.S. Marine Corps Seal
>>Graphic: U.S. Navy Seal
>>Graphic: U.S. Air Force Seal
>>Graphic: U.S. Coast Guard Seal
>>Graphic: U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Seal and Logo