Former Marine’s Career Takes an Unexpected Turn; All the Way to Wall Street

By Richard Castellino,
Money & Investing Writer

Any American patriot understands the honor, commitment, and bravery it takes to enlist in the United States service.

Once enlisted, these courageous men and women are taken away from their homeland, to place of uncertainty where at every corner holds the possibility of tragedy.  When these devoted men and women return home from duty, many are finding themselves with an entirely different battle at hand…Employment.

According the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the United States the current unemployment rate is currently estimated at being around 6 percent for the general population.

The figure is a striking improvement from the 2010 rate, which according to Bureau of Labor Statistics hovered around 10 percent.

In a poor economy, finding employment for anyone can be burdensome, especially for a returning GI with a disability.  Gary Laughlin, a United States Marine found himself in such a situation.

Gary Laughlin enlisted in the Marines after the September 11 attacks.  Over his successful decade of service, he served two tours of duty in Iraq. Laughlin’s military career was brought to an end when he was injured in Fallujah, a major Iraqi city.  The injury resulted in permanent nerve damage, which ultimately forced Laughlin to retire from his military career.

Finding a job after a decade of committed military service is no easy manner, especially after sustaining a serious injury..

According to CNN Money, Laughlin was able to find a job in the investing sector of Wall Street, which was made possible through the “Wall Street Warfighters,” a nonprofit organization that operates to place veterans in financial jobs around the country.

Currently Laughlin holds position as a sales associate at “Franklin Square Capital Partners,” which is an investment firm located in Philadelphia.

Laughlin is enjoying his new life claiming that, “The financial world is fast paced…and chaotic at times. It’s similar to warfare.

It’s constantly changing.  You have to make decisions – sometimes on the fly – with limited information,” he said in an interview with CNN.

Wall Street Warfighters has currently helped 50 veterans, whom have all successfully graduated the organization’s outlined pathway to finance associated employment.

The program places vets on an integrated learning pathway, in which training from federal regulators is provided.  Additional phases of the program include course at the University of Pennsylvania’s renowned Wharton school of business.

The final phase includes the appropriate sponsorship for graduating vets to sit for the series 7 exam, which is a key requirement to working in trading.

Laughlin highly values the opportunity that Wall Street Warfighters has given him.

He stated in a CNN report, “I was very fortunate.  It’s very challenging leaving the military.”

Laughlin continued by addressing the transition from warfare to the civilian life.  “The military does a great job preparing you to fight the nation’s battles, but they aren’t experts in civilian employment.”

Wall Street Warfighters is continuing to help this great cause.  Recently JP Morgan has given the foundation a donation of $25,000 for its cause.

As time goes on and the organization continues to grow, its mission is becoming stronger. Wall Street War Fighters’ seek to, “identify, develop, and place disabled veterans in careers in the financial services industry.”

A version of this article appeared in the Tuesday, November 18th print edition.

Contact Richard at

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