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Opinion | What the world can learn from “Unconquered” veterans

We have and will continue to go out of our way to help and honor veterans, current service members, and military families.

Veteran teammates talk with Boeing Commercial Airplanes President and CEO Stan Deal in the 787 Final Assembly area at the Boeing South Carolina site. Contributed

After training Navy pilots to fly in war zones following World War II and during Vietnam, my uncle started a business that changed my life forever. I was fascinated by planes as a kid watching them fly over our family farm in Illinois. And in high school, my uncle fueled my fascination further by teaching me how to manage planes at his crop-dusting company. Aerospace became my passion.

Veterans still inspire me. I am proud to be at a company with more than 20,000 veteran teammates globally. It is my honor to work with our company’s ’s employee-led veteran engagement teams to create a workplace for veterans to pursue their next mission at Boeing. We want veterans to join our ranks because we respect and appreciate the committed, mission-based spirit they bring to everything they do.

It’s in this spirit that we, at Boeing, support the Invictus Games in Dusseldorf. In September, the world will see the unyielding determination, selflessness, and courage of those who defend our nations. We will join in cheering on the 500-plus wounded, injured, and sick service members and veterans from more than 20 countries participating in this international adaptive sporting event because we are committed to supporting the recovery of those who give everything in service to their countries. It is our privilege to sponsor these Games as a presenting partner to broaden the awareness of how warfighters who have and continue to serve their armed forces inspire others by meeting every challenge with strength and valor.

“Invictus” means “Unconquered” in Latin. This word describes the tenaciousness of those who serve in our armed forces. It is one reason we seek to hire veterans after they leave the military, even if they may lack hard skills in business. And we are not alone. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the veteran unemployment rate was lower than that for nonveterans in 2022. 

Transitioning service members and veterans often bring out the best in others. A high proportion of veterans in a workplace can create a sense of belonging, leading to greater organizational commitment and work engagement, according to studies. Most veterans have professional training in leadership, teamwork, team building, critical thinking, and stress management.

While those who have served in the military now account for only 7 percent of Americans, about 15 percent of our U.S.-based workforce at Boeing are self-identified veterans. We aim to continue hiring and training more veterans through key partnerships with the Department of Defense SkillBridge program, the U.S. Army Partnership for Your Success Programs, the Virginia Tech ROTC Corps of Cadets, Embry Riddle ROTC programs, and more.

We have and will continue to go out of our way to help and honor veterans, current service members, and military families because we are forever grateful and indebted for the sacrifices veterans and their families make for their nations. At our company, we have also personally experienced how veterans can change lives and contribute to a better world. 

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Just as my uncle emboldened me to pursue my dream career in aerospace, veterans in our workforce encourage others. There is a lot that the world can learn from how the “unconquered” people who defend our nations overcome the visible and invisible wounds of the past on their way to building bright futures.

Stanley A. Deal is president and chief executive officer of Boeing Commercial Airplanes and executive champion of the Boeing Veterans Engagement Team.

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