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Veterans - your future
By Maj. Gen. Glenn K. Rieth, The Adjutant General - New Jersey

I spent part of a recent Sunday with the Soldiers of the 50th Infantry Brigade Combat Team as they took part in their 60-day Yellow Ribbon reintegration event in East Orange. The objective was to ensure those brave men and women have the resources they need as they make the transition from warrior to citizen. With their historic mission in Iraq now complete, their eyes are focused on the future.

For many of those Soldiers, that future includes reaching their educational goals.

So it was fitting that after leaving the brigade in East Orange, I went to the Middlesex County Community College campus in Edison to join Gov. Jon Corzine

Maj. Gen. Glenn K. Rieth, right, watches Governor Jon S. Corzine, center, shakes the hand of Capt. Richard P. Colton, left, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 50th Infantry Brigade Combat Team during the Welcome Home Parade, which started at the steps of the State Capital winding through Trenton to the Sovereign Bank Arena on June 12. Photo by Tech. Sgt. Mark Olsen, 177FW/PA.
at a signing ceremony for the state legislative bill that establishes the Troops to College Program.

The program empowers the Department of Military Affairs and the Commission on Higher Education to help the state’s public higher education institutions ease a veterans’ transition to the classroom, whether they’re returning to school after a deployment or stepping onto campus for the first time in years.

One of the great things about this initiative is that it plays to the tech savvy of our newest veterans. Everything from assistance in applying for state and federal student financial aid, to finding counseling resources, to connecting with a campus veterans’ assistance officer will be online and a few mouse clicks away.

There are already some great education resources on the Internet for New Jersey veterans. One of the best can be found at www.operationcollegepromise. com.

That’s the online portal for the Operation College Promise program, which is run by the nine institutions that make up the New Jersey Association of State Colleges and Universities.

The association says it’s dedicated to creating some of the most veteran-friendly campuses in the country right here in New Jersey.

I spoke recently to representatives of this organization and told them that the men and women who are coming to their campuses from combat theaters are certainly worthy of the organization’s goal. It’s the right thing to do for the veterans who have sacrificed so much to protect the American way of life. It’s also the smart thing to do because these veterans have already proven themselves to be focused, disciplined and able to put the greater good above their own needs. In short, veterans are the kind of people who take their degrees and use them to accomplish great things.

The reintegration of the 50th IBCT presents many challenges as those 3,000 Soldiers return to their families, communities and jobs. I’d argue that the reintegration period also offers many opportunities. The chance to start or continue a path of higher education is high on that list of opportunities. I urge you to take advantage of everything that’s offered. You earned it.

Table of Contents
Volume 34 Number 5 Staff / Information
(c) 2009 NJ Department of Military and Veterans Affairs