Succeeding As Civilians

Disabled veterans are getting help finding work in a tough job environment. Air Force veteran Mike Haynie has created a course to teach vets how to launch their own businesses

CBS All Access
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The following script is from "Succeeding As Civilians" which aired on May 12, 2013. Dr. Sanjay Gupta is the correspondent. Sumi Aggarwal, producer.

In January, Walmart pledged to hire any recent veteran who wanted a job - the company projects that could be 100,000 vets in the next five years. That's a big commitment at a time when it's needed.

There are three million Americans who have served in Iraq and Afghanistan and they face a host of problems when they come home. It's not just unemployment, nearly half have a disability because of their service. Most tragically, more soldiers killed themselves last year than died at the hands of the enemy.

One veteran turned business school professor has an innovative solution to help them succeed as civilians: give the vets a new mission -- business ownership. Funded in part by Walmart, PepsiCo and other companies, he started a small business incubator, tailor-made to help disabled vets trade in their combat boots for business suits.

Vets like Staff Sergeant Brad Lang. He learned his sharp shooting skills, courtesy of the U.S. Marine Corps.

For his deployments in Afghanistan, this young father and husband volunteered for the bomb squad unit.

Brad Lang: Every time an IED is rendered safe, you saved countless lives. I joined the Marine Corps to serve. And this is, in my opinion, the ultimate way to serve is to save your brothers' lives.

Sanjay Gupta: These are the things everyone wants to avoid. And you guys are the guys that are actually going toward those things.

Brad Lang: Yes.

In July 2011, while under fire, Lang defused two IEDs, but as he was leaving the scene, he missed one and triggered it.

Brad Lang: I remember the cloud of dust, flying through the air upside down, landing on the ground. I knew that I was in pretty rough shape.

Sanjay Gupta: When you surveyed your body, what did you see?

Brad Lang: I noticed that my left leg was gone from the knee down. My right leg was gone from halfway down my shin. So my ankle, my foot that was all gone.

He was airlifted out and weeks later when he woke up at Walter Reed, the 27-year-old and his family faced their new reality.

Brad Lang: We got over the fact that I lost my legs very quickly.

Brad Lang: 'Cause no matter what, they're not coming back. So every conversation that we had after that point was, "This is how you're going to recover. This is how you're going to continue to move forward as a productive member of society."

Sanjay Gupta: I think it would take me a long time to get to that point.

Brad Lang: Everything becomes trivial when you go through an experience like this.

Brad Lang was awarded a Purple Heart and underwent more than 20 operations. During his months in the hospital, he reconnected with a Marine he had met during training, Johnny Morris, who had also lost a leg. Knowing their job prospects were slim, they decided to start a business, building guns and also adapting them for the disabled.

Brad Lang: We both just love guns. Johnny was a gunsmith before he came in the Marine Corps. We just decided that that would be a great idea. We plan to be a retail gun store selling factory guns, but with full gunsmithing capabilities.

Sanjay Gupta: You came up with a name.

Brad Lang: We were just kinda joking around and discussing, you know, "What are we going to call this place?" And my wife looked at me, and she goes, "Stumpie's, duh. You only have one good leg between the two of you."