Even colonels have trouble finding jobs

Jake Hughes
June 13, 2018 - 11:24 am

Defense Dept. photo by Cherie A. Thurlby


Transitioning from the military can be difficult no matter who you are. From the lowliest private to a full-bird colonel, finding your place in the civilian world is daunting. For one Air Force pilot, it seems the place for him was helping others find their own..

Chris Plamp joined after graduating from the Air Force Academy in 1988. “During the next fourteen years, I got to do one of the loves of my life: flying the A-10 Warthog.” After some time in the Special Forces, commanding a squadron in Iraq, and working for NATO in Germany, Chris finally left the service. Even as a retiring colonel, his transition and job search was difficult. Eventually, he found Hire Heroes USA. “I figured if there was a way to give back to the veteran community by working for an organization that helps soldiers transition, what could be better than that?”

Hire Heroes USA offers free resume and job coaching to veterans looking for meaningful employment after they leave the service. They do this by empowering veterans' skills in resume writing, networking, and interviewing. They also work with veterans who are employed, but feel they are not living up to their potential. Plamp says that when a vet comes to them feeling undervalued, they can help raise their pay up to $20,000.

After only four years at Hire Heroes, Plamp was named interim CEO after former CEO Brian Stann stepped down. Eventually, the board of directors realized that the person they were looking for was already in the position. “It really was a different feeling the morning I woke up as the actual CEO. It meant that some of the things I wanted to focus on long term I could, and continue to help the veteran community.”

As newly minted CEO, Plamp already wants to build. The company recently hit a milestone of 25,000 employees, but Plamp says it’s not enough. “The first thing is we need to continue to grow. Every day we have more veterans applying for our help, honestly more than we can handle.”

Another avenue that Plamp is driving forward is military spouses, with their Serving Spouses program,  and women veterans.

Plamp feels that the services offered by Hire Heroes USA are beneficial to everyone. “Every veteran no matter what level can always use help with the resume, can use someone to look at their LinkedIn profile. It always can be better.”

It’s not just veterans that Plamp is talking to. Companies, he says, need to realize the value of vets. “Look beyond the resume,” Chris advises them. “It will look, feel, and smell a bit different, but look past that, the skills, self-confidence, and experience the veteran has, you’re going to hire someone who will be a huge benefit to your company.”

You can listen to the full interview with Plamp below. click Play to listen now or click Share and selected Download to listen later.

Contact us about this article or share your story at gethelp@connectingvets.com.