Transition assistance here for guardsmen throughout career

JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska -- Guardsmen traditionally make many transitions throughout their career, and the federal government has recognized their need for guidance and education.

Strictly speaking, the Transition Assistance Program (TAP) is a federally-mandated series of briefings for any military member who has served at least 180 consecutive days of "Title 10" active duty. But it is much more than that.

TAP is set up solely for the benefit of the members, said Jill Meszaros, manager of the 176th Wing's Airman and Family Readiness Program (A&FRP), who oversees TAP for the Wing.

The intent is for members "to learn what they've earned by serving," Meszaros said. "They have time to really assess where they are and where they want to be."

Topics covered over the five days include hands-on resume-building, mock interviews, GI Bill benefits and other Veterans Affairs programs. The series begins with a pre-separation counseling session with the A&FRP manager and ends with a capstone briefing to ensure members got everything they needed.

All members separating or retiring from the Wing must attend pre-separation counseling, which lasts about two hours. This is to ensure he or she is armed with knowledge or desire further assistance throughout the transition process. The rest of the briefings are optional for those members.

Wing leadership sees a lot of what separating members go through.

"There's a lot of time and resources put into educating our members," said Lt. Col. Scott Coniglio, the vice commander of the 176th Wing. "If they take advantage of it earlier, they can be better prepared before they leave the military."

There are certain exceptions to the 'mandatory' rule for those who served the 180-day minimum. Members who already have full-time jobs outside the military or are enrolled in post-secondary education only have to attend the pre-separation counseling, VA briefing day and the capstone briefing.

This benefit is available to all Midnight Sun Guardians at any point in their careers. Their dependents may even join them. Members just need to call the A&FRP office (551-7649) or email Jill Meszaros ( to get signed up for the next series, held twice a month on JBER.
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