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Posted: June 22, 2017 3:10 p.m.
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Soldier for Life WARTAC program graduates 48

Courtesy photo/

Daniel Devine, Deputy Director for Policy and Procedure Compensation Services at the Department of Veterans Affairs speaks to the 48 Warrior Training Advancement graduates June 15 at Fort Stewart’s Sgt. 1st Class Paul R. Smith Army Education Center, calling upon the graduates to remember what it’s like to be veteran while serving veterans in their new VA careers as claim assistants.

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Forty-eight Soldiers for Life began their first steps in their new careers with the Department of Veterans Affairs during a graduation ceremony Thursday morning at Fort Stewart’s education center.

The Soldiers completed the Warrior Training Advancement Course, a transition assistance program designed to train those leaving active duty in the skills needed to be a Veterans Benefits Administration claims assistant at one of the department’s 56 regional offices around the nation.

Daniel Devine, the deputy director for policy and procedure compensation services at Veterans Affairs, was the graduation keynote speaker. A prior service member himself—Devine served in the Air Force—he said being veterans will help the graduates in their careers.

“You guys know what it’s like,” Devine said. “Since you’ve been there, you’ll serve our veterans better.”

He also called upon the veterans to think about what drives them to continue to serve and to reflect on why they want to work for the VA. Devine shared the story of his father and grandfather, both veterans, who lost their hearing while serving. Hearing aids provided by the VA improved their quality of life.

“These are the kinds of things you’ll be seeing,” Devine said. “Simple things. It changes people lives.”

The WARTAC program strengthens the connection between the Department of Defense and the VA, Devine said.

“I trust you will contribute to it,” he said.

Fort Stewart garrison commander Col. Townley Hedrick was also at the graduation. He thanked the transitioning Soldiers for their service, especially those that joined after 9/11.

“I appreciated that you had the gumption to sign up,” Hedrick said.

Hedrick also spoke highly of the WARTAC program.

“It’s taking great Soldiers who are going to help great Soldiers,” he said.

Graduate Andre Williams echoed the sentiments of Devine in his speech to the class. He said they are all veterans and passionate about helping other veterans.

“We’re doing what we love, taking care of veterans,” Williams said.

WARTAC is open to Wounded Warriors and active duty service members in the transition process—no fewer than 180 days and no more than 240 days from discharge. To learn more about WARTAC, visit and click on WARTAC.

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