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Posted: May 11, 2018 1:48 p.m.
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Soldier for Life VA program graduates 43

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Forty-three Soldiers for Life began their first steps in their new careers with the Department of Veterans Affairs during a graduation ceremony May 3 at Fort Stewart’s education center.

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 Forty-three Soldiers for Life began their first steps in their new careers with the Department of Veterans Affairs during a graduation ceremony May 3 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.

James Byrne, the General Counsel for Veterans Affairs, was the graduation keynote speaker. A prior service member himself—Byrne served in the Marine Corps.

"The WARTAC program is a great collaboration and connection between the Department of Defense and the VA," Byrne said.

Fort Stewart Garrison Commander Col. Jason Wolter was also at the graduation. He thanked the transitioning Soldiers for their service and commitment

“I appreciated that you served and will continue to serve our nation,” Wolter said.

Wolter also spoke highly of the WARTAC program.

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

Graduate Marine Cpl. Brenda Godinet, USMC echoed the sentiments of Byrne in his speech to the class. She said, "it has been a great pleasure working alongside my brothers and sisters in arms while preparing to make a difference for America’s veterans." I am truly grateful for this amazing opportunity," Godinet said.

Graduate Sgt. Joe Young said this is not just a great program but it has set me up for life after the military.  I am ready to provide our veterans with first class service.

Lastly the Transition Services Manager, Patrick W. Bean, Sr. expressed his thoughts of the Veterans Affairs Initiative. "Many people will say that ‘knowledge is power.’ I prefer ‘the intelligent use of knowledge is power.’ "Knowing is not enough without application and forward movement – the placing of that knowledge into action. The Veterans Affairs partnership with the Soldier for Life Transition Assistance Program has done an exceptional job of putting a large amount of relevant knowledge into one package for transitioning service members - and then train transitioning service members on how to apply that knowledge as Veteran Service Representatives across the nation, Bean said. "Our “Honor” value speaks volumes of each of these transitioning Soldiers to serve our nation and then continue serving our nation veterans and their families. Truly honorable, Soldiers for Life! " Bean added.

 

Contributing authors Patrick W. Bean, Transition Services Manager and Richard Williams, Career Skills Coordinator.


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