Military Transition Stories: Martin Arriola

                 Civilians aren’t aware of the struggles and unique challenges transitioning from military to civilian life can be. It is a major conversion that takes a great deal of time to plan ahead in order for it to be successful. Our employees at Klett Consulting Group understand this shift in lifestyle, as more than half of our staff is former military, including our C.E.O. and Founder, Mark Klett. Sharing their stories of transitioning to help others better understand the process is the least we could do for our brave service men and women. We hope it helps anyone who may be currently in this situation.  

                 Our first story is about Marin Arriola. Martin Arriola began working for Klett Consulting Group in October right after retiring from the U.S. Navy after 23 years active duty as a Surface Warfare Officer. He offers his insights into transitioning from being active to becoming a civilian.

Interviewer: “Please state your name and military affiliation (including the length of time served).”

Martin Arriola: “Martin F. Arriola; US Navy Surface Warfare Officer; 23 years active duty (retired 01 OCT 2018).”

Interviewer: “What does the process of transitioning entail?”

Martin Arriola: “Transitioning includes required administrative and medical out-processing to ensure the military member, retiring or separating, is ready for (or has a plan to be ready for) civilian life. All personnel departing military service attends a Transition Goals, Plans, Success (TGPS) program which provides information to support successful transition planning. The TGPS program is a 5-day course of instruction that includes instructional modules facilitated by representatives from Fleet and Family Service Center, Department of Labor, and the Veterans Administration (VA). From my transition experience, key milestones for consideration include attending the TGPS course as early as 24-months prior to retiring/separating; completing a retirement/separation physical examination; completing a Disabled American Veterans (DAV) medical record review to support submission of a VA disability claim 3-6 months prior to retiring/separating; completing VA follow-up appointments (to support VA disability claim); attending pre-separation counseling at the Naval Station Norfolk Personnel Support Detachment (PSD); and completing the final appointment with PSD to obtain a Certificate of Release or Discharge from Active Duty (DD-214).”

Interviewer: “To better explain to those who aren’t in the military, how can you describe your experience transitioning from being in the military to civilian life, in terms of career? What were the hurdles you had to endure? Did you prepare for the transition? If so, how?”

Martin Arriola: “My transition is in progress; my last day on active duty is 30 SEP 2018. For those that have no experience with the military, the transition process includes translating my military work experience to civilian terms to help military personnel transition to civilian life and continue to make ends meet. My transition experience has been overwhelmingly positive, but required months of dedicated time to complete numerous administrative and medical requirements.”


Interviewer: “How has KCG helped your transition?”

Martin Arriola: “At the very least, KCG helped my transition by continuing to network within military agencies to seek out transitioning service members. I was fortunate to have established professional connections who made my availability known to potential employers.”


Interviewer: “Are there any advice/tips you can share with those who are in transition currently and those who may be transitioning soon?”

Martin Arriola: “From my experience, the following time milestone items are offered for those transitioning back to civilian life. Key is to start planning and preparations early. 24-months: Attend TGPS. 12-months: Attend TGPS again; (in Hampton Roads) schedule appointment with the Disabled American Veterans (DAV) to review your medical record (appointment should occur at or by 6-months prior to separating/retiring); attend a PSD pre-separation counseling session. 07-months: Complete separation physical; request a copy of your medical records (hard copy and AHLTA notes) from your servicing military treatment facility. 06-months: Complete DAV appointment (DAV will assist in completing a VA disability claim, if applicable). 03-months: Complete VA disability claim follow-up appointments, as scheduled by the VA; (00-03-months) as applicable, complete final check-out requirements with your command and then PSD (to obtain your DD-214). 02-months: Update your resume and socialize with key points of contact, e.g. contract program managers; if you don’t know any, identify a contact with any companies you’re interested in and ask those contacts to submit your resume to their company’s HR department. Always tailor your resume to the job posting. 01-month: Schedule an appointment to obtain your Retired CAC as soon as possible after you are a civilian. “