CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — There is the America you know — the one where United States military members proudly to step up and defend their country.
Then there is the America where military families juggle the jobs of serving their country and their own households.
“We do what we can,” said John Clark, while flipping through a textbook at his dinner table.
After 24 years of service, Clark is now a retired United States Navy chief aviation ordnanceman.
Clark is studying how the body works. His plan is to become a science teacher. First, he must get through the classwork of Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi.
“It's kind of interesting, but sometimes it's boring,” he said, describing his new duties.
His wife, Brandy, already is in education. She works for the Flour Bluff Independent School District.
Brandy also knows what it is like to serve. Her other job is with the U.S. Navy Reserve.
“She leaves one weekend a month, and I get to play super dad," Clark teased.
Military life can be stressful. Military families always work to stay grounded while managing an inconsistent schedule.
“That was the day I got off the plane from Sicily and met my daughter for the first time,” said Clark, as he pointed to their picture on his wall.
His next mission of becoming a teacher will soon launch.
“I'm told it won't be that hard, but I know there are some folks that have a hard time adjusting because what they did in the military doesn't adjust well,” he said.
It can also be tough for those married to service members.
“As military spouses, we face some pretty unique challenges in our job search,” said military spouse Amy Dodson, who also is the human resources manager for the Hire Heroes USA nonprofit.
The South Carolinian is one of many who thrive on being part of the nationwide effort to connect military spouses with employers.
“It is more important than ever to provide a resource like this for military spouses because today, according to our research, 13 percent of military spouses are unemployed and 43 percent of military spouses are underemployed," read Matthew Vean during an October media briefing.
Vean is also a military spouse, and a team lead at Navy Federal Credit Union. Its website has a tab for military resources, and lists the top three best career fields for military spouses as government, human resources, and healthcare.
Whatever the job is, the importance is on finding a place focused on serving military members and families.
“Ask for help, that's the number one thing,” Clark said. “Get on Facebook. We’ve got plenty of folks out there in the veterans communities. Say, ‘Hey. This is me. I’m looking for a job.’ Someone will point you in the right direction."
Another organization involved with veteran employment is RecruitMilitary.