BLM Employee Sworn into D.C. Air National Guard; Reflects Agency Support for Veterans, Active-Duty Military and Their Families
Bureau: Bureau of Land ManagementThe Bureau of Land Management would like to recognize Washington Office public affairs specialist Anthony Lee Small, who was sworn into the D.C. Air National Guard on Nov. 2, 2013.
Small is making a six-year commitment to the 113th Wing communication division, based at Andrews Air Force Base, as a broadcast journalist in public affairs. After taking nine weeks of basic military training at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, Tex., Small will attend advanced individual training at the Defense Information School at Ft. Meade, Md. There, he will receive 77 days of intense training in public affairs and journalism.
“Air National Guard is something that I’ve always wanted to do,” said Small, whose father and grandfather were both in the Armed Forces. His father, Edward Green, served in the U.S. Army from 1984 to 1987 stationed in Fort Hood and in Germany. His grandfather, William “Billy” Green, also served in the Army.
Small is scheduled to begin his basic training in January. After his public affairs and journalism training is complete, he will then be working with the 113th Wing part-time one weekend a month and two weeks a year.
The BLM believes that military service helps to develop special leadership skills that will greatly benefit the agency’s programs. For example, the agency developed and implemented a pilot program for Petroleum Engineering Technician Certificate for Veterans. This 18-month certificate program is piloting in Wyoming and Colorado in coordination with the Veterans Administration. Under another program, the BLM, in partnership with the Student Conservation Association, is piloting a Veterans Field School to train veterans in basic natural resource and land management skills. The training includes internships at BLM field offices.
Across the BLM, more than 1,800 veterans are helping the agency manage the public lands. In 2012, 15 percent of BLM’s new hires were military veterans - nearly 500 men and women. This year, the BLM hopes to increase that number to 18 percent of new hires.
In addition to the goal of hiring more veterans, the BLM continues to form new partnerships that help those who have served in the Armed Forces, as well as their families.
This past summer, for example, the BLM entered into a Memorandum of Understanding with the Sierra Club Mission Outdoors program to increase opportunities for veterans and military families on public lands. This MOU recognizes the healing power of the public lands for service members and their families. The MOU builds on a several successful partnership programs between the BLM and Sierra Club Mission Outdoors program, including a 2012 military family outing at the Organ Mountains on BLM-managed land in New Mexico.
In Alaska, the BLM for four years has helped Project Healing Waters offer physical and emotional rehabilitation of disabled active military service personnel and veterans through fly fishing and outings. The program — set in Alaska’s Delta Wild and Scenic River corridor — provides fly fishing, fly casting, fly tying and rod building classes at no cost to its participants.
In Oregon, Washington, California and Nevada, the BLM in 2012 established five all-veteran wildfire suppression crews. And at the Imperial Sand Dunes in California, the BLM hired an all-veteran crew of seasonal rangers to help police the Imperial Sand Dunes Recreation Area.
Small said while he was always aware of the BLM’s support of military service, but he was most impressed by seeing it for himself when seeking advice about military service.
“The tremendous support I received from the BLM when I asked about going into the Air National Guard meant a lot to me,” Anthony said. “The BLM has a history of embracing and honoring active-duty military, veterans and their families, and that is just what I experienced.”
By: Derrick Henry, public affairs specialist, BLM National Office of Public Affairs
November 12, 2013