Deployment to Unemployment

Deployment to Unemployment »Play Video
BOISE, Idaho - Maryanne Beede was one of 2,600 members of the 116th who shipped out to Iraq in 2010. She is the single mother of 5 year-old Jada. Beede's mother and father looked after Jada during her deployment.

But when Beede returned home from her Iraq deployment, she knew she'd no longer have a job. Her administration job at Gowen Field was cut from a lack of funding.

These days, looking for work has become her full time job. Vacation pay for the 116th came to an end at the beginning of November.

"It's consuming a lot of my time," says Beede of her job search. "I have a lot of worries because savings and everything is going to come to an end, and who wants to touch their savings? But something good will happen, we just don't know what."

Eric Rogers doesn't know what will happen either. But he knows he has to provide for his wife and two young kids, including a daughter born right before his deployment.

KBOI 2News met Rogers in early October at a job fair hosted by the Idaho Department of Correction. He's looking for something that will allow him to continue his studies at Boise State University.

"I can't even start school till the spring, and even once I am in school I have to pay bills, so I have to find a balance of a good paying job but also be able to go to school," says Rogers.

The national unemployment rate is just over nine percent, but for veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan it's almost 30 percent higher to nearly 12-percent.

Randy Wilde says vets have a lot of skills to offer employers. He should know. He's not only the veteran's representative for the Idaho Department of Labor, he served in the Army for 21 years.

But Wilde also says vets have to be realistic on the job hunt.

"Don't expect to get a job you're not qualified for," says Wilde. "Don't expect to get a high paying job. You've got to work up through the ranks to get there, just like in the Army."

Jim Peterson certainly doesn't have his sights set too high. He says right now he'll take anything he can get. And he started looking less than a week after returning from Iraq.

"We're all in the survival game," says Peterson. "Paying bills, raising kids, raising grand kids, the whole nine yards. It's just a survival game."

Peterson appreciates the support he's already gotten from the community.

"Anytime people see us in uniform they come up, shake our hand and say 'thanks for your service.' I've kind of gotten to a point now where I turn it back on them and say, 'thanks for your support.' Because if there wasn't everyone else supporting us, there wouldn't be us."

Update: As of now, Peterson has only found temporary work. Rogers is preparing for an interview with the Idaho Department of Correction. And Beede has decided to expand her job search overseas to countries like Africa and Australia.

If you have a job opening for one of the soldiers profiled, you can contact Mike Murad at mmurad@kboi2.com.