Military Service Provides Solid Career Foundation

The lessons you learn in the military don’t stop being relevant when you leave the service. To my fellow patriots contemplating a changeover from military life to the civilian world and to the many veterans struggling to compete in the competitive workplace, I offer the following from my personal experience.

Wally Beddoe
Your military service provided you with a set of transferable skills which are in high demand by hiring executives today. Members of the military are strong in character, competence, confidence, courage, emotional maturity, integrity, responsibility, and humility. Employers want individuals with these skills. These are all attributes that not only make you an attractive hire, but will benefit you in the workplace – so long as you use them.

Don’t forget the things you learned in the military. You must highlight these strengths on your resume.

Col. Kolditz [Why the military produces great leaders, 2009] is absolutely right when he says: “The best leadership—whether in peacetime or war—is borne as a conscientious obligation to serve. In many business environs it is difficult to inculcate a value set that makes leaders servants to their followers. In contrast, leaders who have operated in the crucibles common to military and other dangerous public service occupations tend to hold such values.

During my hitch in the Marine Corps in the early 80’s, Uncle Sam assigned me to computer school where I was fortunate to learn a technical skill which would eventually catapult me into a great career following my end of active service.

In the 25 years since I last wore my Woodland cammies, I have climbed the corporate ladder quite successfully, and without [yet] having attained my undergraduate degree. Why is that? [Update, I completed by Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology, December 2012]

Military service transforms young people into responsible, mature, and respectful contributors. The challenging environment of the military provides life and leadership situations which most civilians in your peer group simply are not exposed to. As a result, servicemen and servicewomen are, overall, more experienced followers and most importantly – leaders.

As a hiring executive, I place more weight on character and ‘soft’ skills, such as communication, teamwork, willingness to contribute, critical thinking, and the will to win, than I do on technical capabilities or experience. Of course, technical experience is important in my field, but so is your military experience! Veterans know a thing or two about sacrifice, initiative and teamwork and once they realize those things will help them excel in civilian business, they can become an organization’s most valuable employees.

According to the Partnership for 21st Century Skills, “…academic and cognitive skills, as essential as they are, are not all that is necessary for a successful life. In our global technological age, young people also need to work with and learn from diverse groups, be flexible in a variety of work and social settings, and be adaptable to changing times. They need to demonstrate leadership and take responsibility for results, show initiative and resourcefulness, and be productive and accountable for their actions.

A great read is Maneuver Management from The Warriors Guide, a framework for business management based on military and war-fighting principles. It will help you see how the things you were taught in the military transfer to civilian business. If you’re not familiar with the OODA Loop Decision Cycle, you need to be.

This month, the Department of Defense launched an online career decision toolkit “…customized to a service member’s own transition needs and assists them in cataloging their military skills and experience in a way that helps them effectively communicate their skills to prospective employers,” said John R. Campbell, deputy assistant secretary of defense for wounded warrior care and transition policy.”

Education is important and one should always take classes (college or professional) in order to improve and maintain an edge.

There are people and tools out there to help – use them. Be proud of your military background, look back at the intangibles you gained from your service and highlight them in your resume or put them to use in your business or career. Promote the leader that you are!

Wally Beddoe, CPL USMC, 1981-1985

Semper Share:


The philosopher Plato once said “Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.” I think to understand respect is to appreciate these powerful words of Plato.

Respect is an important ingredient in the definition of one’s character.

Together with traits such as courage, forgiveness, compassion, cooperation, and empathy, our character defines who we are and how we interact with family, friends, colleagues, and strangers. Respect does not come freely, it must be earned.

You gain the respect of others by being courteous and respectful yourself.

Respect is understanding that most people have good intentions even if their principles are different than yours. Respect means making choices with the future of the affected group in mind and taking responsibility for your actions and decisions and not blaming others.

Respect is looking for the best characteristics in others and not the faults. Respect is doing to others as you would have them do to you.

Respect is appreciating and believing in your spouse and family members, your boss, your co-workers, your friends, neighbors, and authorities such as police and other public professionals for the roles and responsibilities they embrace every day. When we give our attention, support, and cooperation to these individuals, we respect them.

We work hard to make them look good because we are humble. We have goodness in our hearts. We are respectful — we are respected.

©Wally Beddoe, 2010

Semper Share:

Mock Prison Riot in Iraq

From my cousin, a civilian contractor, working with the military in Iraq. Now, don’t get me wrong, we Marines love our Sister branches of the U.S. Armed Forces, but the rivalry is strong..

Wally here is an incident that I saw it’s a funny story concerning the Marines and Air Force. I had received a request to go to the small port town of Umkasar in southern Iraq.

To assist in the construction of a new prison camp (Camp Bucca), this place is what comes to mind when you think of the Middle East on one side hot with miles and miles of sand as far as you can see and on the other the gulf.

Well one afternoon we were sitting in the DFAC enjoying lunch when two young Airmen sat down at the table across from us and were involved in a heavy conversation when I noticed that they looked very upset, not knowing what was or may have been happening being civilians we began to listen to their conversation and to our ease they were discussing a training exercise.

The first Airman said to his partner that this was not going to be a good idea and you could tell from his voice and the look on his face that the kid was scared to death; about this time 3 US Marine Stallion helicopters touched down full of troops to participate in the exercise, which was to be a mock riot in the prison yard and the Marines were the detainees. I thought to myself this is going to be good and inquired as to what time this is going to take place so I could be there, and as the rest of the afternoon passed you could feel the tension in the air building.

Finally around 16:30 the Air Force showed up in full riot gear shields and all… meanwhile you could see the young Marines ready to tear them apart just like their name sake Devil Dogs and you could hear the Marine commander giving the order not to hold back but to attack and use any means necessary to obtain their objective. Then the carnage began and it did not take long for the Marines to unarm the Airmen.

Wally, it was brutal, the Marines put an ass beating on them like I have never seen, Airmen were being carried off the field and taken to the hospital there was fighting, biting, bleeding and eye-gauging not to mention the broken bones it was great they total destroyed them and I was proud to have been there.

Allen Mayer


Semper Share:

Avatar: This Marine’s Review

Sitting in the stadium-seating theater this evening, wearing my 3-D glasses, my son Jake and I anxiously waited for the opening scene of Avatar. We heard the reviews and we knew the graphics and special effects were going to be awesome!

James Cameron made us feel like the big screen was a portal into another world, like we were sitting right next to a large door that opened up and we became a part of a new world, right there in front of us. I’ve never seen graphics quite like that before. The 3-D presentation was just brilliant.

*** Spoiler ***

The hero of the film was a Marine Corporal. The villain was a Marine Colonel. The corporation had hired the Marine Colonel to head up security. After all, if you need a bad ass individual to do a very hard job, why not hire the best, a Marine! Well, the colonel went berserk; one bad seed for sure. If you watch the movie without reading into it and trying to extract a political message, you’ll enjoy it, as I did. Sure, I can piss & moan and say Hollywood portrayed the Marines to be mercenaries with complete disregard for the alien people, etc. I didn’t see it that way. The hero was also a Marine who righted the situation. OOORAH Jarhead!

Kudos to James Cameron & Co. for a very good movie. Great entertainment. I highly recommend the movie.

Semper Share:

Women in Combat?

In my philosophy class, the discussion of women in combat is on the agenda this week. So many people believe that if a woman wants to serve on the front lines, in a combat situation, why not? Women serve proudly and honorably in many disciplines in all branches of the Armed Forces today, but not specifically in infantry combat units. Why shouldn’t they be allowed to?

I found this posting (below) which included a response to that question from a combat Marine in Iraq. In my opinion, he summed it up pretty good.

— response from a combat Marine in Iraq —
Look. Whoever said this is a pogue and has never been in the field. Yes, it’s about the 120+ temperatures – it’s almost impossible to operate. Yes, it’s about the heavy body armor, and in full gear with backpack, hydration, weapon and ammunition, it’s more than 120 pounds for as long as the hump, 15 or 20 miles. But it’s really about more than that. It’s even more than about the ability to carry heavy weight for long distances in high temperatures. We don’t bathe for a month at a time. If we are doing MCMAP quals, we beat the hell out of each other, continually – every day, all of the time. Literally. Men beat the hell out of men, and get it back too.

Remember when I was in Fallujah and I had to jump off of the roof of the house? I was under fire, my unit was leaving and I had to catch the HMMWV, and I had on full body armor with hydration, SAW drums and SAW. And I had to jump from the roof of a house to the ground. I have had to tackle men in Fallujah who were assaulting us. Full grown men, attacking us by hand. Football style tackle with holds and moves on the dude while in full body armor.

Remember when I trained the SAW gunners before ___________? I would make them hit the road for a four or five mile run in the morning, full armor, to the range. Range all day, then four or five miles back. Screw PTs. Can you run and live all day in full armor?

You want to know what it’s like, physically, to be an infantry Marine in the field? Strap 120 pounds on your body and play men’s football for a season, and do it while being sleep deprived with guys dropping around you from heat stroke. Do squad rushes with full weight. And when you hit the ground, don’t pretend. Hit the ground.

Whoever said this is a f****** pogue. He doesn’t know what he’s talking about, but he’s trying to impress the women around him. He’s listened to what they’ve said for too long. Tell him I said that he’s a pogue and sits behind a desk. Time to get his ass up and hit the field with the infantry Marines. Then he’ll understand.”

What are your thoughts?

Semper Share:

Cpl. Jason Dunham is my Hero

The first Marine to be awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor since the Vietnam War, in 2004 Cpl. Jason Dunham threw himself on a grenade in Iraq and sacrificed his life to protect his brother Marines.

I did not know Jason but I know what he represented, the type of character he had, and the pride he had in being American and a Marine. Semper Fi Jason. R.I.P.

Cpl. Jason Dunham is my hero.
He will NEVER be forgotten.

~Cpl. Beddoe

On April 14, 2004, 3 days after Easter Sunday, Corporal Dunham was manning a checkpoint in Karabilah, Iraq, when an insurgent leapt from his car and began choking Corporal Dunham. A scuffle ensued as two Marines approached to help. Reportedly, the last words from Corporal Dunham were, “No, No. Watch his hand.” Suddenly, the insurgent dropped a grenade. Corporal Dunham took off his Kevlar helmet, dropped to the ground, and covered the explosive as best he could.

The blast seriously wounded all 3 Marines. Eight days later, Corporal Jason L. Dunham died at Bethesda Naval Hospital from wounds he received in the incident. He was 22.

Corporal Dunham made the ultimate sacrifice, and in doing so saved the lives of his fellow Marines. Due to his actions on that fateful day, Corporal Dunham has been awarded the Medal of Honor.

Jason’s Memorial Page
Jason’s Wikipedia page
USS Jason Dunham

Semper Share: