Spencer Milo, a retired Staff Sergeant in the United States Army, shares his story of service and the obstacles faced when forced to medically retire. He describes his own transition and the work he currently does to help veterans transition.
- Alright, let's see, where to begin. I graduated college 2005 from United State Military Academy. I served in Iraq from 2006 to 2007 as an infantry platoon leader As soon as I came back from Iraq I went to Special Forces Selection and Assessment, and I was a Special Forces Detachment Commander for two separate ODAs, both times in Afghanistan, and my second trip to Afghanistan I got injured, 15 May 2012, I was walking through a doorway, I turned right into the doorway and stepped on a pressure plate IED.
It took my right leg clean off, and then my left leg was so badly broken they had to amputate that. Was medevaced here to Walter Reed where I did all my physical therapy and recovery. I mean there's a lot, in the past four years, ever since I got injured, probably the biggest thing was so much of my right leg got taken off in the blast, I was told by my physical therapists and some doctors that I'd never be able to walk again. So I told them that I'd find my own way, and through my own research I discovered a process where women in Russia and China pay to get their shinbones broken and they stretch out the break in order to be taller to be models.
So I took that idea to several orthopedic surgeons in the area, and I was finally put in touch with the orthopedic specialist in Minnesota that uses a non FDA approved device for bone lengthening, and I ended up setting two medical world records, one for shortest stump ever lengthened, and the second was for most bone ever regenerated, and I ended up growing six inches of bone back. Didn't only get myself up and walking, but it's now an actual procedure that they do for other amputees at Walter Reed. Besides that, just been busy playing hockey, I play sledge hockey for the Italian national team at a Paralympic level, and then for the club team here in Bethesda, based out of Walter Reed, as well as trying to figure out what I'm going to do when I grow up, and what my professional career is going to look like.
So the one thing I'd want to tell other vets from my experience is you have to be able to figure out what you liked in the military, and you have to be able to kind of sort through everything out there in the world, and figure out what correlates. And I know I mentioned it before, I think you'd be surprised at where you land in life based on those traits that many of you've written down or some self-reflection of what you liked so much in the military, because I think that you can find all that outside of the military, whether that's the brotherhood, the comradery the action, the adventure, there's different jobs out there and you just have to be able to go out there and seek it.
Discover how to understand your strengths and value, where your skills fit into today's job market, and how to translate your experience into a solid resume. Learn how a mentor can help you navigate the transition and open up new opportunities. With Flo's advice, you can find a new purpose and continue the journey you started in the military—bringing your talents to bear on a whole new mission in life.
- Taking initiative
- Understanding your value
- Translating your experiences
- Building your resume
- Using a mentor
- Setting realistic expectations
- Building a network
- Transitioning into a new job
- Bonus videos featuring stories of transition from veterans