The following letter to the editor by Rear Adm. Dixon R. Smith, Commander, Navy Region Mid-Atlantic, was published March 27 in the Virginian Pilot about a March 23 article that discussed veterans and their post secondary educations.
RE “The Battle” to turn soldiers into graduates’ (front page, March 23): I’m writing to thank The Pilot for this timely report on the challenges faced by our men and women transitioning from the military, as well as the challenges to the communities that support us.
The entire Hampton Roads community deserves recognition and thanks for the programs and services they provide as a veteran transitions to civilian life.
I am encouraged by the incredible positive energy and recognition of the challenges and need for solutions to retain and employ veterans in Hampton Roads. The Navy has many programs to support the transitioning member, and many resources within the community, in academia and industry, also help veterans succeed. But we all realize much more work remains to be done.
The big challenge now is helping an organization find the veteran and in turn, assisting the veteran in finding and using all the services available. With numerous services offered by well-meaning organizations, it often can be overwhelming for a veteran to navigate through educational opportunities.
We need a clearinghouse, a collaboration between public and private interests, that will link prospective students, employees or veterans with the best option for his or her future.
I am committed to ensuring that the Navy continues to simplify the transition process for our veterans. We are headed in the right direction, as evident in the introduction of the American Council on Education-accredited Joint Services Transcript and other initiatives.
Hampton Roads is one of the best places in the Navy to be stationed. The community welcomes and values veterans after their active-duty service. I am humbled by the generosity, care and dedication in helping our veterans succeed.