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Army leader finds rewarding position through Operation Warfighter

Image of Mr. Ortiz in uniform Army Sgt. 1st Class Samuel Ortiz at 20 years retirement from Signal. (Courtesy photo.)

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Army Sergeant First Class Samuel Ortiz was in Kuwait when he got hurt and had to return home from his military duties. “They sent me back because the procedures that they were doing didn’t work. After my return, I went to Fort Belvoir to the Warrior Care Transition Battalion and heard about Warrior Care’s Operation Warfighter Program.”

“Through Operation Warfighter, I was able to secure an internship as a Program Manager/ Policy Analyst with the Department of Commerce for about seven months. In my position, I was responsible for the handling the Department of Commerce International Trade Administration contracts,” explained Ortiz.

“What I learned most from being a part of the Operation Warfighter Program is that there are more opportunities out there than the average military person is aware of,” Ortiz stated. “I’ve been in the military for a long time, and I wasn’t exposed to the Operation Warfighter Program until I was injured.”

“I also learned that if you take your internship serious, they will take you seriously,” explained Ortiz. “The internship is what you make it. Not all internships turn into full time positions. But if you put in the energy and time, there is a possibility that it can!”

“During my time there, I found out that there was a full-time position for the same job I was doing,” Ortiz.

Although Ortiz was an intern, the Department of Commerce was willing to invest in him by paying for some courses. However, his supervisors knew that the position may not be filled after Ortiz completed his internship.

At the end of his internship, Ortiz was able to secure a policy analyst position at the Department of Commerce and now works there full-time.

Operation Warfighter is a DOD internship program that matches qualified wounded, ill and injured Service members with non-funded federal internships for them to gain valuable work experience during their recovery and rehabilitation. This process assists with the service members’ reintegration to duty, or transition into the civilian work environment where they can employ their newly acquired skills in a non-military work setting. 

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