Zachary, Navy Veteran, Machining 1 Graduate

by | Oct 25, 2023 | 2023, News & Media, Student Stories

“Workshops for Warriors is a great opportunity for transitioning military.”

Zachary, an Idaho native, embarked on a remarkable journey that led him from a small-town upbringing to a 20-year career in the United States Navy. Nearing retirement, he reflects on his past, present, and the promising future that Workshops for Warriors made possible, aiding in his transition from the military to civilian life.

Growing up in Idaho, Zachary longed for adventure. “There wasn’t much to do in Idaho, so I kind of knew I wanted to get out of there,” he said. With an interest in mechanics, he walked into a Navy recruiting office alongside his father one day and told them, “I want to be a mechanic on a submarine,” starting his path toward transitioning from the military to civilian life.

Navy veteran learning machining during transition from military to civilian lifeThroughout his Navy career, Zachary served as a weapons mechanic on two different submarines. His initial goal was simple: serve for four years, save for college, and chart a course for his future. But life had different plans. Recruiting duty and the 2008 housing crisis extended his military service to provide for his growing family, adding an unexpected twist to his transition from the military to civilian life. The decision wasn’t easy, but Zachary persisted. “I figured I was already halfway done – the hard part is over, right? Might as well just finish out the rest of the ten.”

The journey to retirement left Zachary with a mix of emotions related to transitioning from the military to civilian life. Would he excel in a new career? Could he translate his military skills? Would he continue to be able to provide for his family, including his three teenage boys during the transition from military to civilian life?

In his search for answers during his transition from the military to civilian life, Zachary discovered Workshops for Warriors through the SkillBridge program. Zachary was particularly impressed with Workshops for Warriors’ machining program, and he was relieved to find that the enrollment team was accommodating, even considering the significant time difference while he was stationed in Hawaii, further aiding in his transitioning from the military to civilian life.

The camaraderie of fellow transitioning veterans at WFW offered a sense of belonging, reassuring him that he wasn’t alone in this journey of transitioning from the military to civilian life. Zachary noted, “We all want to be here. We all chose to be in this program. And we all have the same interests and things in common.”

The instructors at Workshops for Warriors, much like the instructors in Zachary’s Navy career, are patient and helpful. The curriculum is demanding. “It’s like I learned three different languages in four months,” Zachary said when commenting on navigating the intricacies of machine code, programming, and design during his transition from military to civilian life.

As a WFW graduate, Zachary is already under consideration for positions at renowned companies like Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman, a testament to the quality of training he’s received at Workshops for Warriors and his successful transition from the military to civilian life.

Reflecting on his last four months training with Workshops for Warriors, Zachary extends his gratitude to his instructors, emphasizing the value of their time and patience during his transition from military to civilian life. His journey exemplifies the boundless opportunities awaiting those who dare to transition from military service to the civilian workforce, especially with the support of organizations like Workshops for Warriors. “The program’s support during transition,” Zachary says, “provides the peace of mind needed to focus on learning and building a bright future in civilian life after the military.”

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