When reservist U.S. Army Maj. Phillip Davis left his job as a dispatcher for a national trucking company a year ago because he was called up to fight the war in Iraq he received an unexpected going away present. His employer promptly hired someone to replace him within days of his deployment.
Davis of Victorville is not alone. For tens of thousands of members of the National Guard and reserves who are called up to serve in Iraq, returning home safely may be just the beginning – not the end – of a long road back. Reservists lucky enough to return home often find their civilian jobs gone and face unsympathetic employers and recruiters fixated on offering incentives and huge bonuses to keep them fighting.
Since the invasion of Iraq in 2003 nearly 9,376 veterans have lost their jobs in both the private and public sectors while serving a tour of duty, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. Those numbers are expected to skyrocket as more and more soldiers are returning home as multiple deployments to war takes its toll on them and their families.