Supporting Veterans at Luke Air Force Base

March 02, 2020

By Jose Munoz

From coast to coast, NSTAR® Global Services is proud to work with veterans across the U.S. This particular story happens to take place 2,200+ miles west of our corporate office in Garner, NC.

Most of you may remember me, Jose Munoz, Arizona site supervisor. NSTAR shared my story in our November Veterans Day feature.

In January 2020, I took a trip down memory lane, back to Luke Air Force Base (AFB), where I spent seven out of 20 years of my time in the U.S. Air Force. I went there to represent NSTAR at the Luke AFB Employer Panel. The goal of the panel is to help prepare military personnel for civilian life.

We attended this event to further our partnership with Luke AFB, and to form connections with veterans getting ready to transition out. We were also excited to debut our NSTAR Challenge Coins. Challenge Coins serve as a reminder of where you’ve been, with options for squadron and deployment coins. Traditionally, commanders give their coins out when someone is celebrating an extraordinary achievement. However, many companies have started creating their own to share with their veteran employees. I still carry the Quality Assurance coin that I earned.

Photo 1: NSTAR Global Services Challenge Coins make their debut.

Luke AFB played a significant role in U.S. history. The land located 15 miles west of Phoenix, Arizona, was purchased in 1941, with construction beginning soon after. 1941 was the same year the U.S. entered World War II, following the attack on Pearl Harbor. In 1942, prior to his political career, Barry Goldwater “served as the director of ground training” (source).

By 1944, Luke AFB was operating in full swing: “During World War II, Luke was the largest fighter training base in the Air Corps, graduating more than 12,000 fighter pilots from advanced and operational courses in the AT-6, P-40, P-51 and P-38, earning the nickname, ‘Home of the Fighter Pilot.’ By Feb. 7, 1944, pilots at Luke AFB had achieved a million hours of flying time.” (source).  As the years passed, Luke AFB continued to be pivotal for the success of the U.S. Air Force.

My time at Luke AFB had a great impact on who I’ve become as a person. I’ve been eager to give back to my comrades because I’ve been in their shoes. I know how challenging it is to transition back to civilian life, and wanted to share great tips for success: things I wish I had known sooner. I want to help other veterans so that they don’t feel the way I felt.

Photo 2: Shaking hands with Terry Grossman, the employer panel coordinator. I gave him an NSTAR Challenge Coin.

When I was approaching the end of my military career, I was scared. I was afraid of the unknown. All I knew was military life. I knew civilian life would be substantially different. Despite all my leadership experience, I was shocked by how difficult it was to find a new career outside of the military and make that transition. I shared this with the panel audience, along with some advice to veterans embarking on a similar journey.

I explained the importance of a high-quality, well-formatted résumé, what to wear to an interview and work, and tips for job applications and interviews. I emphasized the importance of having patience through the process and being confident in the skills the military instills in veterans.

I am grateful that NSTAR wants to strengthen our ties with Luke AFB. We partnered with volunteer Terry Grossman, who organizes the panels, so that we can continue representing NSTAR on future employee panels and support more veterans. Working with Luke AFB in this capacity aligns with our core values, one of which is focus on the community. We are passionate about making a positive impact on the people around us.

Not only does NSTAR see value in employing veterans, but we hear time and time again that many of our clients prefer working with our veteran employees. Veterans excel in several talents, making them great additions to companies.

  • Technical skills: The military provides extensive, detailed, specialized training. Once someone achieves this new ability, the person receives a certificate. Not only is this great to highlight on a résumé, but it brings a unique technical perspective to a career.
  • Managerial and supervisory skills: As military personnel rise in the ranks, they gain the opportunity to supervise and train others, which is a great hands-on experience that is transferrable to a career in civilian life.
  • Leadership skills: The military has educational training programs that teach leadership styles. Examples of some of these opportunities within the Air Force are the Airman Leadership School and Noncommissioned Officer Academy. These programs concentrate on making military personnel better leaders.

All in all, I hope you’ve gained some new perspective on what it’s like for veterans to transition to civilian life. NSTAR looks forward to more opportunities to get involved with the military community and to continue making a positive impact here in the U.S. for our veterans, as well as globally. Thank you, NSTAR, for believing in veterans like me!