CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. -- Transitioning from the Marine Corps can be difficult and quite possibly scary. Marines receive help making that step with Transitional Assistance Program classes as well as the Marine For Life Program.
"Marine for Life is one more step of assistance," said Capt. Megan M. Mason, Eastern regional coordinator Marine for Life. "My primary responsibility is the education of transitioning Marines on what the Marine for Life program can do for them."
Mason is also the "hometown link" for the Jacksonville/New Bern area. Hometown links act as a go between for separating service members and members of communities throughout the United States.
The program has been in existence since April 1, 2002 and provides a network of contacts for transitioning Marines by using hometown links, like Mason.
"There are over 80 hometown links, and that number keeps growing," said Maj. Carolyn C. Dysart, Marine for Life Headquarters spokesperson, located in Quantico, Va.
"It's still a growing program," commented Mason. "It's going to be what we make of it and what Marines make of it."
Hometown links meet local employers and explain the benefits of hiring former Marines.
"Hometown links act as a liaison," said Mason. "It used to be when you checked in you had a sponsor who showed you around the base. That's kind of what your hometown link does."
"It's not only about getting a job," said Dysart. "It's about getting you settled wherever it is that you are going."
Marines are also encouraged to use the Web site Marineforlife.com.
When accessing the Web site, Marines are able locate a hometown link for their area and send an e-mail with information about what kinds of information they would be interested in.
"Hometown links don't necessarily get you a job. They make contact with employers looking for new employees," added Mason. "They provide a networking opportunity for employers and transitioning Marines. Marine for Life provides a constant flow of qualified employees for employers."
"Marines want to help Marines," commented Dysart, "and businesses want to hire Marines."
Every year, 27,000 Marines annually leave the Marine Corps.
"We have more jobs lined up than Marines getting out," said Dysart. "We just need to get Marines to use the program."