At one time or another, practically every Soldier is presented with a decision to continue his or her service in the military or transition to civilian life.

For the 60,000-plus Soldiers who transition each year, the decision to do so can be very stressful. It’s filled with many pressing questions and considerations that could significantly impact the future of the Soldier and his or her Family.

Meet Jose Montero, a sergeant first class with a Family of three children who has served in the Army for 25 years and 9 months. When he first considered transitioning from military service, he felt overwhelmed by the uncertainties that lay ahead.

He had thoughts like, “Do I want to transition to civilian life or extend my military service?” and “If I do transition, how could I utilize the knowledge and skills I obtained during my military service and apply them in the civilian world?”

Montero wondered how he would connect with employers and what financial implications he’d need to consider before retiring. These are only a handful of the questions that Montero and Soldiers like him encounter when considering a transition.

The U.S. Army, through the Army Career and Alumni Program, has taken deliberate steps in order to help provide a level of readiness for its Soldiers when considering a transition.

ACAP equips Soldiers with the knowledge, information, and resources needed in order to make informed decisions that are right for them and their Families. Whether choosing to stay active or to transition to civilian life, ACAP helps to create a transition plan and provide the necessary tools and information to help make the transition smooth and successful.

According to Chief Warrant Officer 3 Linda Wellman of the Department of the Army ACAP Program Headquarters, the number one thing that Soldiers can do to help ensure transition readiness is to allow adequate time. Even if Soldiers are undecided, they should talk with ACAP personnel.

“The further out you are from transition, the better off Soldiers and their Families will be. The sooner they begin utilizing ACAP services, the more prepared, relaxed, and confident they will be when it comes time to transition,” said Wellman.

Learn more about how the ACAP Program helps Soldiers and their Families transition with confidence. Visit www.acap.army.mil, or visit the Fort Lee ACAP Office at the Soldier Support Center, building 3400, Room 126. The office is open from 7:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. For more information, call (804) 734-6612.