Female Veteran Struggles to Find Work After Returning Home

A SoCal woman said she has been homeless and unable to find work for the last three years after returning home from Iraq, where she served two tours of duty

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Local veteran Mendi Martinez is among the 8 percent of female vets who can’t find a job after returning home from war. She served two tours as an army medic in Iraq, and said after getting out, it was difficult to even apply for a job. Angie Crouch reports from Redondo Beach for the NBC4 News at 5 p.m. on Oct. 11, 2013. (Published Monday, Nov 11, 2013)

    A Southern California woman is struggling to find work after returning home from two tours of duty as an Army Medic in Iraq.

    Mendi Martinez said post-traumatic stress disorder has left her unable to bond with her family.

    "I was having anger management problems and that was affecting the family and I had to leave," Martinez said.

    Martinez said she has spent most of the last three years homeless and unable to find work.

    "I could do all that stuff in the military, but once I got out it was difficult for me to even apply for a job because they were asking ‘do you have this certification?’ or ‘this qualification?’" Martinez said. "I’ve just got experience."

    At a Veterans memorial ceremony in Redondo Beach Monday, former Army Nurse Leslie Evans explained why so many women vets have trouble readjusting to civilian life.

    "I think traditionally female vets have been quiet and not very assertive in understanding they have the same rights and privileges as the male vets do," Evans said.

    One of the people calling for better services for women veterans is 102-year-old Bea Cohen, the oldest known female veteran in California and one of the original Rosie the Riveters.

    "To give them a little dignity and prestige and honor," Cohen said. "That’s what we’re here for."

    The Department of Veterans Affairs is reaching out to women like Martinez with a new hotline and website for women veteran's benefits and services, and also increasing job training programs.

    Martinez recently got certified as a massage therapist, and with the help of the Wounded Heroes of America program, she’s living in her own apartment.

    "Things are getting easier," Martinez said. "But I always strive for better."

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