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WATCH: Vets Sound Off About Jobs

'Work, altogether right now, is hard to find.' - Andrew Smith III, 29.

Maryland veterans are speaking out. They fought overseas, sometimes on multiple tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, and returned home to find sparse job opportunities.

Patch has been covering the issues of unemployed veterans in our series entitled “Maryland Vets: Jobs Wanted.”

Editors recently interviewed about a dozen veterans at a job fair in Baltimore hosted by the Maryland Department of Transportation, where people spoke about the transition from military to civilian life, and the shocking realities of the 2012 economy.

“It's been pretty nip and tuck—I’ve been supporting myself by taking draws out of my annuity fund and looking for jobs here and there when I can,” said John Richard, 55, of Dundalk, who served in the Army from 1976 to 1980.

“It’s morally wrong when you have an individual willing to serve for his country, that he or she wouldn’t be welcome back with more than open arms,” he added.

In Maryland, the 8.9 percent average unemployment rate among the 28,000 Iraq and Afghanistan veterans is higher than the state’s overall average of 7 percent.

Nationally, the unemployment rate is at 30 percent for veterans younger than the age of 25, compared to 8.3 percent overall.

“Right now is really tough. Work altogether right now is hard to find—even entry level is pretty hard to find at the moment,” said Andrew Smith III, 29, of Baltimore, who served two tours in Iraq in the Marine Corps as a field radio operator.

Weigh in below: What ideas do you have for government, non-profits or business leaders to help more veterans get jobs?

Are you a veteran looking for a job and want to tell your story? Email lisa.rossi@patch.com.

For more in this series:

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