May 12, 2014
NAVAL AIR SYSTEMS COMMAND, PATUXENT RIVER, Md. — After three Iraqi deployments and a medical discharge from the Marines in 2013, Josh Ransford found himself thrust into an entirely different world.
“I had planned on making a 20-year or longer career [in the Marines], but some injuries I received limited my ability to serve in a military, combative capacity,” he said. “It was incredibly frustrating and intimidating knowing that I was just forced into a very different world. I no longer had a career and was worried about how I was going to provide for my family. After learning about what NAVAIR had to offer, I knew right away that was the best route for myself and my family.”
Since January, Ransford has worked as a logistics intern at NAVAIR’s Fleet Readiness Center Southeast in Jacksonville, Florida, as part of NAVAIR’s Wounded Warrior Program, which seeks to recruit, hire, train and retain wounded warriors from across the U.S. Since October 2010, NAVAIR has placed more than 700 wounded warriors such as Ransford in open jobs or developmental programs.
Ransford works for the three-year Naval Acquisition Development Program, undergoing training on acquisition, logistics and several other disciplines that will help him eventually become a NAVAIR logistician.
“I think the biggest attraction to working for NAVAIR is that I can still support the warfighter,” he said. “There is no monotony, and every day is different from the last.”
NAVAIR is an organization that values diversity and inclusion by all employees and has targeted recruitment programs to provide career opportunities to qualified veterans and wounded warriors.
Capt. James Litsch, NAVAIR Wounded Warrior Program manager, said, “Wounded warriors and veterans bring transferrable technical skills and the innate qualities of leadership, critical thinking, teamwork, loyalty and a work ethic that is vital to the long-term viability of NAVAIR and its mission accomplishment.”
According to Department of the Navy hiring statistics for March 2014, NAVAIR’s Patuxent River, Maryland, location was among the top 10 locations for hiring veterans.
Danielle Green is one such veteran. Because of a disability she received while serving in the Air Force, she was unable to work for several years.
“It has been an upward battle to excel in the workforce due to my disability,” she said, “but I persevered and continue to succeed. Throughout my struggles, I realized perseverance builds character, and I have plenty of character to go forward, excel and achieve every goal or overcome every obstacle that will be put before me.”
She began to apply for several different jobs at NAVAIR because she had heard about the command’s positive reputation.
“I wanted more than anything to work for NAVAIR,” she said. “I went on an interview, gave it my best shot and was hired for a procurement technician position.”
After coming on board in January 2013, Green continued to grow her career. She took online classes to hone her contracts knowledge and completed a master’s degree in September 2013. Today, she works as a contract specialist intern through the Naval Education and Training Command in support of the Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division’s contracts competency.
“The characteristics I have learned in the military — service before self, excellence in all that I do and maintaining integrity — have helped me to progress sufficiently within the public and government sectors,” she said.
Green and Ransford both said continuous learning is important for job seekers and new employees.
“NAVAIR is full of opportunities for veterans, disabled veterans, wounded warriors and civilians,” Green said. “The mentality that is instilled in a prior member of the military will enhance their career paths at NAVAIR. Career progression is always available and encouraged from management. There is even a mentor program available to assist newcomers in adapting into a position or excelling in another position. Many opportunities are available, and if you have the ambition and tenacity to make a difference, NAVAIR is for you,” she said.
“Learn as much as you can; it is always better to know more than to know less,” Ransford agreed. “NAVAIR provides you with a great opportunity to acquire a lot of knowledge that directly and indirectly applies to your position.”
To find out more about NAVAIR’s Wounded Warrior Program, contact firstname.lastname@example.org or watch this video to hear some of NAVAIR’s wounded warriors talk about their career experiences.