Returning Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans often complain that their specific skill sets, like shooting people and breaking things, are not exactly what is needed in today’s business world. But one Texas non profit is proving them wrong, 1200 WOAI’s Stephanie Narvaez reports.
Jamie Gregg is a co fonder of Operation Dust-off, which trains wounded warriors to exterminate feral hogs from helicopters.
She says the veterans have the specific skill sets needed for this type of job, and she says it is helping the veterans integrate into civilian life.
“They basically have told me that they feel like a warrior again, that they feel needed,” Gregg told 1200 WOAI news. “Like they are on a mission again, and they couldn’t stop talking about how much this helps them with their post traumatic stress.”
The 2011 so called ‘pork chopper’ bill passed by the Legislature authorizes the aerial hunting of feral hogs, which are a huge menace to farmers and ranchers. Experts say shooting the hogs from helicopters is the best way to eradicate herds.
And Gregg says nobody knows how to do that better than a recently returned combat veteran.
“I have guys call me every day, and ask, when is the next class,” she said. “They tell me, ‘I can’t wait to get started,’ and then they add ‘I have no shortage of experience’.”
Re integrating into civilian life is particularly difficult for returning veterans who have been part of the ‘life on the edge’ of combat in Afghanistan and Iraq. Many who were not wounded in combat say the can’t replicate the camaraderie and the sense of purpose which they experienced in the combat zone.