OCEANSIDE, Calif. — The initial transition was rocky for one active-duty Marine when he left the service, but he's now thrilled with his new career as a professional military veteran, sources confirmed this morning.
William E. Pacheco, 23, who left the Corps in 2012 as a Lance Corporal, accepted a job offer as a professional veteran, with duties including having to mention his service to everyone he meets, going on Facebook screeds about foreign policy issues based on his extensive months-long service in Afghanistan, and posting military memes on his website to shame civilians.
"I don't really look at it as a job," Pacheco told reporters from his home office, which is decked out with challenge coins, Marine posters, and his promotion warrants. "This is a calling. Just like when my country called me after 9/11 and I answered, I'm out there every day representing the best and brightest of the veteran community."
"Where the hell were you after 9/11? You didn't serve your country — so let me ask you, why do you hate America?" he added, questioning Duffel Blog reporters.
With reporters in tow on a lunch trip to McDonald's, it became clear Pacheco takes great pride in his work.
"You call this 'large fries?'" Pacheco asked the cashier. "I guess this is how the fast food industry treats vets nowadays. Glad I sweated my ass off in the desert for this."
With sequestration squeezing the budgets of the service branches, some troops are opting to leave while others are forced to. But that's not necessarily a bad thing: The professional veteran industry has gone on a hiring spree in recent years, according to figures from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
"Demand is off the charts for more vets to wear their OIF/OEF hats to county fairs," said Prof. Nathan Phillips, an economist at the University of Chicago.
Recruiters say troops looking to join the professional veteran industry are encouraged to write long status updates to their Facebook profile about how the United States is going straight down the toilet due to the actions of the politician they disagree with, or keep their profile photo as a headshot of themselves in uniform from a decade ago.
Lee Ho Fuk contributed reporting.