Twenty Fort Campbell soldiers will not have to worry about looking for work once they transition out of the service.
The Fort Campbell Courier, the authorized newspaper and online publication for members of the U.S. Army at Fort Campbell, covered Veteran’s in Piping Program’s third graduation ceremony at that base.
The 20 active-duty military personnel who were accepted into the VIP class, spent 18 weeks rigorously training so they could begin an apprenticeship program once they left the service.
Held at Sgt. Glenn H. English, Jr. Army Education Center, the graduates listened to a number of dignitaries speak about the importance of the VIP Program and training received.
Command Sgt. Maj. Gabriel A. Espinosa Jr. provided a brief insight on the how demanding the soldiers’ schedule was in his opening remarks.
“They’ve been hard at work. It hasn’t been a vacation,” he said.
Sgt. Maj. Espinosa told those in attendance that 100 percent of all soldiers, at some point, will have to get out of the Army.
“85 percent of us,” he said, “don’t get to retirement….and so we have to support the soldiers [who] go on to better things, and I’m glad that we’ve partnered with Veterans in Piping.”
Retired Maj. Gen. Andy Aadland, who works as a Senior Consultant to the UA, reinforced the idea that the graduates did the right thing by applying to the VIP Program. This program, he explained, sets the standard for all other construction and trade groups who are looking to help transitioning soldiers find work outside of the military.
Following the graduation ceremony, a reception was held in honor of the graduates.
Spc. Thomas Cobon told the Courier that he found out about the program through his Sergeant.
Thanks to the VIP Program, Spc. Cobon, his wife Elizabeth and their five month-old daughter, Clara, the family is heading home to Indianapolis, where the couple grew up.
“It was overwhelmingly joyful,” Spc. Cobon said when he reflected back upon the time he learned he could join Local 440 in Indianapolis. “It was something that me and my wife hoped for. I didn’t have a plan set. My biggest hope was for this program.”
“I was worried about getting out of the military,” his wife said, “but when I found out we had a set plan, I was much more relieved.”