24 March 12
eterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan face unique hurdles in an already tough job market.
Many have suffered physical and mental injuries. Others have a hard time getting employers to see the value of their wartime experience.
"Being the best mortar man in the best battalion in the world doesn't mean a whole lot when you come out," said Sean Parnell, author of "Outlaw Platoon," a book about his experiences as an Army platoon leader in Afghanistan in 2006. "Fifty percent of my men who are now out of the military are living paycheck to paycheck - working as a busboy, or at a bar, or maybe not working at all."
More than 2.2 million soldiers, Marines and sailors have served in Iraq or Afghanistan. Another 90,000 troops are slated to return from Afghanistan by 2014.
For a long time, post 9/11 veterans have faced a much higher jobless rate than the general population. Just a year ago, it stood at 12.5%, well above the national average. A big push by employers and government knocked the rate to 7.6% in February, even below the overall U.S. unemployment rate of 8.3%.
Still, many veterans struggle to find work.
"These guys have these bang-up resumes for the military and then they get out and civilians don't know what to do with them," said Parnell. "So they end up working at a Subway." READ MORE