The US Army began training military Pathfinders during WWII, building an elite force of airborne operators able to go behind enemy lines before missions in order to designate drop and landing zones. Before Pathfinders were added to the force, troops jumping into battle could be scattered over miles, endangering lives and the success of the mission. With extensive training in navigation, logistics, and ground-to-air techniques for guiding troops, Pathfinders filled a critical role in insertions during every major military operation since 1943. Pathfinders are assigned to long-range surveillance detachments, airborne and air assault infantry units, and special operations. Their motto -- "first in, last out" -- represents the dedication towards leading the way for the mission, and ensuring everyone who comes after them is taken care of. They are trailblazers and leaders, and above all they are helpers.
There are Pathfinders in every branch of service, using their training and experience to guide others into and through successful missions. Now we are creating another type of Pathfinder in every community, Veterans and family members who were "first in" able to anonymously share their experiences to guide others towards getting help and support from local resources and organizations.
In our community, anyone can be a Pathfinder: a Veteran, an active duty Servicemember, a Reservist or Guardsman, a family member or a friend. As a Pathfinder, you provide a needed service to others -- information straight from the source, from those who have been there -- while finding and receiving benefits yourself. Pathfinder.vet is here to help all community members to move smoothly through any stage of reintegration.Pathfinders can:
It is, and always will be, free to join the Pathfinder.vet community. Join the Community and start getting connected. We can't wait to hear from you.
Pathfinder.vet is a social and civic focused C Corporation. We chose this model to maintain impartiality, and to balance finding opportunities and resources for Veterans and families between non-profits, government benefits, school support, and corporate programs. By building products that support each of these resources in a way that improves the entire community support network, we are able to keep our focus on our mission instead of competing with the organizational network we are working on behalf of the Veteran community to improve.
Any contributions made (connect with us via our Contact page) to Pathfinder.vet will go towards advancing our analytic platform and supporting operational needs. These contributions are loved and appreciated -- check out our partners page -- but are not tax-deductible.
Military to civilian reintegration is tough, and we know from experience. Our founder, Sergeant First Class Elana Duffy, was medically retired from the Army after being injured by a roadside bomb in Iraq. She suddenly needed to find a job, housing, and Veteran benefits in New York City. Her military experience and education were little help without a local network, so she began enrolling with any Veteran services for which she was eligible.
As her network grew, so did her experience with Veteran service organizations. Some were great, providing everything from family and fitness activities and service dogs to benefits and financial assistance for Veterans. She also found some that could be improved and some services for which she did not qualify, and wished she'd known more about the organizations before spending valuable time registering. And the more she talked to the national network of Veterans and their families, the more she found shared experiences in military transition and reintegration that might have helped ease her reintegration. She met some with great stories of success, and some who would never return to certain services after a bad experience. It was clear that each experience was valuable, and every Veteran and family voice needed to be heard in order to improve community services.
In 2015, she formed a team and together they built Pathfinder.vet to start amplifying those Veteran, family, and community voices and start making changes in everything from local services to national organizations. Now we work hard to provide a secure network of information and experience to help every Veteran, family member, and Veteran community supporter - no matter what era of service or stage of transition.