In short, a squad leader is a non-commissioned officer who is charged with the well-being of their subordinates (Airmen, Soldiers, Marines, or Seamen) both on and off duty. As a young and new military member, regardless of service affiliation, having this type of mentorship is crucial in guiding one in the right direction within your military professional and personal life. Comparable to a parental figure at times, in this relationship, squad leaders are focused on growing their subordinates to have loyalty, integrity, job proficiency, financial stability, educational advancement, social, physical, mental and spiritual well-being in order to someday replace them as the squad leader.
Imagine having this type of mentorship for your entire military career, be it four years or 24 years. You then separate or retire from military service and go off to pursue other interests such as college or a civilian career. The mentorship you had grown accustomed to is now gone and relating your military culture and experiences to others within a civilian environment can be challenging. This is a difficult and unexpected reality for many veterans.
SquadLeaders.org is a non-profit organization dedicated to successfully transitioning American veterans from military service back into their civilian communities by providing high-quality career and personal mentoring, engaging community programs, and energizing social activities. They are composed of veteran volunteers who made a successful transition back into their community and are willing to help others do the same through personal and professional mentorship.
Ben Thompson, Co-Founder and Executive Officer of SquadLeaders was our guest speaker on the January Veterans Career Services Webinar Series. He discussed the SquadLeaders mission, success stories, types of mentorship and social activities they conduct. Most importantly, he provided information on how a veteran can utilize their services or get involved by becoming a Squad Leader.