By Norman Shifflett
Garrison Public Affairs Office
FORT CARSON, Colo. — Medal of Honor recipient and former Marine Sgt. Dakota Meyer visited Fort Carson on August 30, 2022 to speak to soldiers about transitioning out of the military.
Meyer was awarded the nation’s highest military award, the Medal of Honor, for his heroic actions during a six-hour battle in Kunar province, Afghanistan, September 8, 2009.
But that wasn’t why he was in Fort Carson talking to the soldiers.
Meyer came here to tell his transition story and give advice to soldiers on what they should do in preparation for the transition.
He spoke to approximately 500 soldiers through different locations across the post.
He left the Marines in 2010 and had to go through a week-long transition assistance program.
It was hard for Meyer to take him seriously because he had the mentality that because he had been in the war the country owed him.
Once Meyer got out, he found life after the Marines was harder than he imagined.
He left the Marines with a plan, and that was to make contracts.
“When I got out, I switched to contracting because it was an easy thing to do,” Meyer said. “But I ended up unemployed because I didn’t agree with something the company wanted to do.”
When the contracts didn’t work out, he started attending hiring events, meeting employers, building his network and improving himself.
Meyer made the point to the soldiers, they had to do the work to be successful, and they will only get out of it what they put into it.
One piece of advice Meyer gave soldiers is that they should have multiple plans of action because the first plan rarely works and constantly improve because they don’t know where they will be in two or four years.
Meyer spoke to soldiers about the US National Chamber of Commerce Foundation Hiring Our Heroes two-day career summit being held September 21-22 and said it would be a great place to start learning about different jobs, to build their network and begin to form their plans for leaving the military.
Meyer’s talk about transitioning and what to expect before and after transitioning gave soldiers a better understanding of the process.
“It gave me some ideas of what to expect and what to plan for,” Spc said. Timothy Hafford, 1st Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division. “Once I heard his message, it started to become a little clearer that I need to take a little more time to focus on what I want to do.”
Cpl. Christopher Vang, 1st SBCT, 4th Inf. Div., said he was nervous about leaving the military, but feels better now after hearing Meyer speak.
“It made me feel more confident going out,” Vang said. “I feel more comfortable knowing that we are in the same situation and that I can find a job or get the help I need.”
Meyer said when speaking to the military, he was very direct and transparent.
“When I stand up and talk to these military people, I tell them the things that I wish they had told me,” Meyer said. “People came to talk to me before I transitioned, and they did all of this with rainbows and butterflies, and guess what – that’s not it.”
For more information on the US National Chamber of Commerce Foundation’s Hiring our Heroes Career Summit taking place September 21-22, visit https://events.hiringourheroes.org/event/741349fb-421d-489a-99a5 -189b537e25dc/summary.