Hello Combined Arms Family & Supporters,
I’m Mike Hutchings and I recently joined Combined Arms as the Chief Development Officer. My role here is to promote and enable sustainable funding for Combined Arms, so that we can continue to support our member organizations, and connect veterans to the resources they need. I am honored and humbled to be working alongside such talented team members and outstanding member organizations, this truly is a phenomenal place to work.
I grew up in a military family and had the wonderful experience of living at various military bases across the world. To me, serving was just something you did in my family, I honestly never gave much thought to anything else. I attended VMI on a football scholarship, and commissioned into the U.S. Army as an Infantry Officer. After completing various military schools, I settled into my new unit at the 82nd Airborne Division. Almost as soon as I got there, we started preparing for deployment to Afghanistan. Afghanistan was an eye-opening experience, and one that I will always hold close to my heart. After a lovely year of conducting ground combat operations in between the grape rows, poppy fields, and mud homes in the spiritual birthplace and founder of the Taliban’s home, Zhari District- it was time to return home. A few more years of jumping out of planes and increased leadership positions bode well with me, but my family was not in agreement.
I decided to transition out as a Captain to provide a more stable lifestyle, and immediately went to work for General Electric. I learned a tremendous amount about business during my 4 years there, and had some amazing mentors and life experiences. Feeling the call to continue serving was always nagging me, and since the option of fighting overseas was now closed, I chose to resign from GE and fight for supporting veterans here as best as I could.
At Combined Arms, I want the success story of our veterans to be heard and amplified on a daily basis. We need to reframe the broken veteran narrative, and focus on veterans being tremendous assets in our communities. Therein lies the beauty of Combined Arms. This collaboration of 60 member organizations that together provide over 420 resources to transitioning veterans is rife with success stories. Our model is the picturesque roadmap for what can be achieved when you provide wrap around services to a transitioning veteran. These individuals and family units thrive, they succeed, they integrate with their communities, and they provide positive economic impact. These are the stories we need to be talking about in America, and these are the stories that need to be amplified.
For my fellow veterans, and soon to be veterans- don’t take your transition lightly. There are tremendous gaps in coverage as you transition out, and if you don’t research and prepare for it like you used to prepare for every field training exercise, live fire, or deployment, the failure is on you. You are responsible for your destiny, and are responsible for everything you do, and fail to do. You are no different from everyone else walking down the street, and are entitled to nothing more. Simply put, you chose a different occupation than a majority of people, and now you’re changing career paths. Any change or transition is stressful, so prepare in advance and plan this out. At Combined Arms, we’re here to help with that transition, and if you reach out to us we will take care of you and your family. But you need to be the one to take the first step.
To learn more about Combined Arms visit combinedarms.us