health

challenges

Years of intense missions mean SEALs face long-term effects of physical and mental injury that include:

  • physical disability
  • traumatic brain injury
  • post-traumatic stress
  • severe depression
  • substance abuse
  • sometimes suicide

SFF Provides

  • A network of top-tier healthcare providers
  • Individual Warrior Health Advocates
  •  Access to breakthrough holistic
    treatments
  •  Coverage of treatment costs
  •  A community of former Teammates
    for support during care

The warrior culture of the SEAL teams says “no matter how bad things get, we’ll figure it out.” But when you’re by yourself as a civilian it’s completely different. After 13 years of active duty, I faced divorce and became a single dad. I was forced to leave my dream job four months out from opening coffee shop because it didn’t provide the security I needed as a single dad. Failure is not something SEALs are used to. It got dark real fast—the darkness comes from everything we’ve seen over the years setting in when we’re away from the teams and looking for support from people who haven’t been there, don’t understand, and never will.”

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Career

challenges

  • SEALs have trouble articulating their value to potential employers
  • Employers have trouble interpretting a SEAL’s value
  • Purpose and service are critical factors for a SEAL’s successful transition

SFF Provides

  • A SFF Mentor to create transition plan
  • A SFF Coach to help identify best fit options for a civilian career
  • Networking opportunities, internships and job placement
  • Entrepreneurial Support
  • Employer education

100%

of SEALs supported by
SFF enter school
or find next career

My real transition into civilian life happened over a decade after I’d left the military, when I was let go from a job by a SEAL—one of my brothers. It was the hardest thing I’d experienced, even after all my deployments. Until then, I’d been so busy working that I couldn’t focus on my physical or mental health. Broken down emotionally, I was diagnosed with an anxiety disorder. As a 30-year SEAL veteran, I faced greater hiring challenges than a 10-year veteran. On top of the “normal” discrimination facing SEALs, I battled ageism. In the military, you are part of a meritocracy. You rise within the structure based on your ability to perform consistently. It’s very linear. SFF helps you understand this isn’t the case elsewhere.

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Education

challenges

  • Need for additional education and training
  • Limited awareness of academic paths, processes and resources
  • Tuition costs

SFF Provides

  • Education roadmap by SFF Mentor with input from partners at top institutions
  • Admissions counseling and test preparation
  • Access to skills certification and courses in trades and entrepreneurship
  • Scholarship programs

193

SEALs assisted in pursuing advanced education

My exit from the SEALs was based on school. I finished my undergraduate degree while serving, prepped for GMAT and went right into an MBA from the Teams.  If I’ve learned anything from the brotherhood, it’s that SEALs will seize an opportunity and succeed. The problem is, if you ask a team guy what they want to do in the civilian world, most won’t know. The majority have performed phenomenally in many  areas. They’re smart and driven, but they’re always training, always deploying. By the nature of the work they aren’t exposed to a lot—no networking, mixers, or leveraging relationships to get a foot in the door.  SFF is critical because it understands the mindset of the SEAL and how to line up scholarships and opportunities to help them excel. Few have the resources to get on an educational path—their skills aren’t translated beyond service.

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Community

challenges

  • Profound isolation after the strong bonds of the Teams
  • Civilian difficulty empathizing with the SEAL experience
  • Finding a sense of service and purpose

SFF Provides

  • A means for SEALs to remain connected to each other after the Teams
  • SFF Forward Operating Bases (or FOBs) in major cities across the country. FOBs are local organizing points for SEALs and civilians to unite to network and support each other. Upon transition, every SEAL is placed in a FOB so that he and his family are instantly incorporated into a new community.

24

Active FOBs nationwide,
and counting

After 15 years in a brotherhood where community, team and service meant everything, I found myself at an incredibly successful investment banking firm where profit trumped purpose. The culture was completely different, but had every intention of being a success. That’s not what happened. I was lost and faced failure. My employer was sympathetic, my family supportive, but I just didn’t belong and couldn’t articulate the challenges. No one could help me. My only option was reenlistment. I was happy and content back in the Teams, until I wasn’t. It wasn’t sustainable. I needed my family and I needed that family to co-exist with a community that could support me the way the brotherhood had.

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