Thousands of sailors were handed their walking papers by the Navy.
The Navy is working to help them make the transition, but for some families, it doesn’t take away the sting of losing their jobs.
Vicki is dealing with what almost 3,000 Navy families all over the country are feeling.
Her husband is one of those that will no longer have a job on September 1st after his name ended up on the dreaded list of Sailors forced out by the enlisted retention board.
“I really don’t know what to do-feels like he put in all this time and they said ‘OK, thanks, goodbye,’” says Vicki.
Many of these sailors tell us there is not a blemish on their records.
Most had contracts with the Navy for several more years that are now meaningless.
After all that time in service, their thank you is a severance that barely covers a year’s pay instead of the decades of retirement benefits they expected to receive.
And to keep that severance, they cannot join the Reserves or they will have to pay all of it back including the taxes.
And of course, no secure job.
“It’s heartbreaking because the way the economy is, unemployment rates are up, and you’re throwing 3,000 more people out there,” says Vicki.
The Navy is offering some help to these families. Health care benefits will be provided for 180 days after September 1st and all the Sailors affected will be able to take transitional assistance program classes, which helps them in their job search.
“That’s good because they can help the Soldiers prepare. Most of them have been in awhile and this is all they know,” says Vicki.
Naval Station Norfolk’s fleet and families command will also be hosting a transitional forum for all ERB sailors this Friday.
The topics to be covered: transition challenges, stress management, and communication in relationships during transition.
But is it enough to alleviate the worry?
“Right now, I’m afraid to look towards the future, just trying to take it one step at a time,”
Many of these ERB families started a petition on whitehouse.gov.
But with just under 5,000 signatures, they don’t have enough support for the president to step in at this point.
Now, Vicki just hopes the Navy follows through on their word and really gives these Sailors the time and support needed to find jobs and prepare for life after the military.
We did try to talk to the Navy about the impending cuts, but they canceled our interview at the last second.
That transition forum will be Friday from 8-11 am at building u-93 at Naval Station Norfolk.
Registration is encouraged, just call 757-444-3522.