Kyle Lamon loved the Army, but it got to the point where it felt monotonous. He wanted freedom. “When you’re 26 and have to ask permission to leave for a weekend, it gets old,” he said. “I had a rodeo scholarship. At Fort Bragg, I started riding bulls at a small operation. I used to ride the Professional Rodeo Association (PRA) rodeos. I have the broken bones to show for it. When I was transitioning out, I felt like I didn’t have a lot of options. My buddy told me about the VIP welding program at Fort Campbell. I applied and got in.”
After completing the welding program at Fort Campbell, it was time for Kyle to pick where he would like to continue with his apprenticeship. He chose Plumbers and Steamfitters Local 43 in Chattanooga, TN.
“This job is very self-rewarding,” Kyle concluded, “and if I mess up, it’s my fault. When you drop the hood [welding], you have no one else to blame, and to see something that you’ve created from start to finish—now that is truly something.”
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For United Association (UA) Veterans in Piping (VIP) Program graduate and Army Specialist Tyler Simms,