Military to Civilian Life

Recently I was working on some film and video records from the Armed Forces Radio and Television Service (AFRTS) and came across an interesting news program. Television Journal was a program produced by AFRTS that reported and broadcast armed forces news to U.S. military installations around the world. This particular broadcast includes stories on Army Rangers, missile defense systems and construction of a new Navy boat, to name a few. These stories are typical of armed forces news broadcasts, which date back to Combat Bulletins from World War II. What really interested me though was the feature, “Project Transition”, which describes training opportunities designed to help servicemen transition to civilian life. The story also references Congressional budget cuts and the effect on the Department of Defense’s budget, specifically programs to help transitioning veterans. Did I mention this film is from 1970?


Television Journal,Volume 2, Number 6, 1970    National Archives Identifier: 7400290 / Local Identifier: 330-AFRTS-57

I was struck by how these same topics are in the news today. I personally know servicemen and women making this transition from active duty to civilian status, and know it isn’t always easy or simple. It’s heartening to see that the military has been concerned with this transition throughout history.

Sometimes people ask why they should care about “stuff” in archives. This film was a reminder to me that you never know what you’ll come across that has meaning for you.

What have you found in the Archives?

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2 Responses to Military to Civilian Life

  1. Cary says:


    I can attest to the transition not being easy. I was medically retired from the Army last December, and the first six months were the worst.

    I never thought it would be much of an issue, but I carried over a lot of mental garbage that had to be worked through before I could really get on with my life. That, coupled with six months of unemployment, did make it very difficult.

    It is interesting to see that they were thinking about things like that in 1970, but I’m not sure the implementation was there. My father was drafted into the army in 1969, did 14 months in Vietnam and then was pretty much told he could go home when he got back to the ‘world’.

    I think the good intentions have always been there but I also think that since every person’s issues are unique and so it their ability to adapt to being a civilian again. This makes any kind of transition program a challenging one but it’s nice to see that the Army has been giving it a go for a while now.


  2. Laurel says:

    Hi Cary,

    Thanks for sharing your experience. You are right, everyone is dealing with different issues, so it must be difficult to implement a program that works for everyone.


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