Hundreds of soldiers leaving the service take advantage of Baumholder career center

By STEVE MRAZ | STARS AND STRIPES Published: November 30, 2006

BAUMHOLDER, Germany — Roughly 400 Baumholder soldiers — all just back from Iraq — are getting out of the Army by February.

The number of soldiers leaving or retiring represents about 10 percent of all Baumholder troops.

Most of the departing soldiers are male E-4s in their early to mid-20s voluntarily separating after three to five years of service.

Hundreds of soldiers are taking advantage of the Army Career and Alumni Program in Baumholder, which offers a résumé writing program, mock interviews, Internet job searches and more.

The ACAP office in Baumholder has increased its staff and boosted its number of available computers and two-day workshops to deal with the influx.

“We help people decide what their goal is — whether it be a federal job, a private-sector job or to go to school,” said Leslie Stancoven, contractor installation manager for the Baumholder and Kaiserslautern ACAP offices.

“Then we help them appropriately with those goals.”

All soldiers leaving or retiring attend a mandatory pre-separation briefing, and it’s up to them to take advantage of ACAP’s other services, including the two-day job assistance workshop.

Being motivated is key to getting a job, Stancoven said.

“Once we teach them how to write a résumé or how to have a successful interview, the hope is that they’ll continue to exercise what they’ve learned from us,” she said.

Since late October, about 3,500 soldiers with Baumholder’s 2nd Brigade, 1st Armored Division have returned after a year in Iraq.

It was the brigade’s second Iraq deployment since 2003.

None of the soldiers interviewed while working on their résumés had anything directly bad to say about the Army as to why they were getting out.

“I enjoyed being in the Army, but it’s time for me to move on and do something else,” said Spc. Eric Werth, a 22-year-old from Colwich, Kan.

Werth spent a recent afternoon in the Baumholder ACAP office preparing his résumé to send out after he finishes welding school in the States.

He said a lot of the people leaving the military are tired of being deployed and not spending time with their families.

ACAP has been very helpful, said Werth. “It’s a lot easier for me to get help while I’m still in the military than to do it on the civilian side,” he said.

Spc. Kris Cadelina, a 25-year-old financial management technician with the 8th Finance Battalion, said he liked his time in the Army, but his recent deployment to Iraq was hard on his marriage.

“I was a newlywed,” he said. “It was just really hard for me and my wife. We’re still happily married.”

Cadelina, who has a bachelor’s degree in economics and leaves the Army in January, said he has no anxieties about getting a job.

“I feel like, if I could do Iraq, … I can do anything,” he said.

A typical worry among Baumholder soldiers coming from infantry or artillery is how those skills will translate to the civilian world.

Stancoven said a military background is attractive to employers.

“People who leave the military with honorable service do hear positive things back because the American community, in general, values the Army work ethic,” she said.

Dancette Luli, a counselor for the Baumholder Army Career and Alumni Program, discusses how best to tailor a resume to specific jobs with Cpl. Alphonso Milton II from the 1st Battalion, 35th Armor Regiment.

from around the web