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One veteran's story: After service, it's "sink or swim" for many




Gavin Shaw, 5, flashes a smile as he hugs his father, Master Sergeant Adam Shaw, during a Welcome Home Ceremony for approximately 230 4th Brigade Combat Team soldiers, November 4, 2012 in Fort Carson, Colorado. The soldiers had been deployed for nine months in various regions of Afghanistan.
Gavin Shaw, 5, flashes a smile as he hugs his father, Master Sergeant Adam Shaw, during a Welcome Home Ceremony for approximately 230 4th Brigade Combat Team soldiers, November 4, 2012 in Fort Carson, Colorado. The soldiers had been deployed for nine months in various regions of Afghanistan.
Marc Piscotty/Getty Images

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To get a deeper sense of what it's like to transition from life in the military to civilian life in southern California, we're joined now by Alfonso Martinez Lopez.

He's a veteran of the Navy who served two deployments, including time in Afghanistan after September 11, 2001.

“You just kind of go out, and it's sink or swim," said Lopez of the transition to civilian life. He said he did find some assistance from government agencies and groups, but more could be done to help veterans out.

"Having guidance counselors or one-on-one with people who have transitioned recently would be very, very beneficial,” he said.