OMAHA, Neb. – As thousands of American soldiers return to the civilian workforce after service in Iraq or Afghanistan, many are finding jobs on the nation's rail lines.
More than 25 percent of all U.S. railroad workers have served in the military.
Veterans have a long history of railroad work. Civil War veterans, for example, helped complete the transcontinental railroad in the 1860s. Railroad opportunities are especially welcome now because the unemployment rate for recent veterans remains higher than for the rest of the nation.
Mark Major once led soldiers in Iraq. Now he helps manage intermodal freight trains in Oakland, Calif. He sought out a rail job because of the challenges and independence it offered and because he had known other soldiers who went to work for a railroad and liked it.