Female veterans face complex transition, high unemployment
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Julie Puzan left Falls City, Texas, to join the Air Force in September 2003 as soon as she completed high school. Over the next six years, she was deployed to Guam twice as a weapons loader. In 2009 she left the service. That’s when things got tough. When she mustered out, she knew she needed help getting back in civilian life. She just didn’t know where to get it. Eventually she navigated the maze of assistance programs for vets and began putting her life together. Help was out there, but it was hard to find. She also realized that a flood of female vets was coming home to assistance that had been designed for men. Lots of programs dealt with problems like combat-related post-traumatic stress disorder, but few were out there to treat the aftermath of sexual assaults and other challenges faced by females. Puzan is among 2.3 million female veterans in or entering the American work force after America's recent series of wars. The economy hasn't been good at absorbing these veterans. The V.A. and other veterans organizations are beginning to reach out to female vets, but find themselves behind the curve given the fast growth of the population they serve. As long as that's true, female vets will have to look hard to find the help they need in a system designed for males.