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Veteran Spotlight: Saif Khan

Fmr. U.S. Army Combat Engineer and Obama 12’ volunteer Saif Khan seen here on duty in Iraq (2005)

Saif Khan’s story is as uniquely American as it gets. Born near Bangalore, India, Khan was 11 when his family got the opportunity to come to the United States of America. His family wanted to pursue “better educational opportunities and the American Dream.” As he puts it, “[America] is the land of opportunity, and we wanted to be a part of it.”

Seven years later, Saif had only one career in mind when he graduated High School. He wanted to serve his country in the armed forces.

“I always wanted to wear the uniform. Watching TV in India, I would see shows that featured American soldiers. I thought they were the coolest thing ever.”

Khan signed up for the National Guard in 2003 and his unit was activated for a tour of duty in Iraq. He served on the Explosive Ordinance Team (EOD) in a support role, tasked with providing security for the EOD Team while diffusing improvised explosive devices (IEDs). As an E-4 Specialist, he participated in more than 100 missions assisting in the diffusion of hundreds of bombs and potentially saving the lives of countless American service members.

With Veteran’s day just a few days ago, Saif and others like him are at the forefront of American’s mind.

President Obama’s recent announcement that the United States Military will complete its withdrawal from Iraq by 2014 made the holiday that much more meaningful for many Americans. Folks with service members in their family who are serving in Iraq are comforted knowing that the President is bringing their loved ones home.

But for many soldiers, returning home is bittersweet. Too many veterans seeking work upon their return home have struggled to find jobs as the economy recovers. President Obama has addressed this growing issue head on with the “Returning Heroes” tax credit as part of the American Jobs Act and three Executive Orders announced this week to immediately help the veterans get back to work. Khan thinks these actions are major steps in the right direction.

In order to supplement the President’s efforts, he recently created Khanections, a company founded with the mission of getting veterans greater access to jobs.

“We are launching a job bank webpage which will create a forum in which private companies can access a database of unemployed veterans for contract work and temporary positions in their area.” The site will regulate the contractor pool to include solely veterans while allowing unrestricted passage for employers looking to hire. In this way, veterans can get a step up on the competition and have an easier time of integrating into the workforce.

Efforts like this are just the beginning for Saif. He also leads D.C. Veterans for Obama and serves as Deputy National Director for Veterans Outreach at the Democratic National Committee.

This Veteran’s Day, Khan along with Ret. Maj. General Jim Kelly will be touring Ohio speaking to service members across the state to advocate on behalf of the President’s efforts to get veterans back to work.

“I see people getting frustrated but these things take time. They need to understand that we are dealing with a split Congress which makes the going tough. But if the President is going to complete the task of delivering on his many promises to veterans he will need the next four years, and he will need our votes.”

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