I recently had an opportunity of a lifetime.

In the late 1980s, I left my home in Detroit for the Marine Corps Recruit Depot (MCRD) in San Diego. There I began my transformation from a civilian to a Marine. It was one of the most powerful experiences of my life, and I am always proud to say I am a U.S. Marine.

Recently, I returned to MCRD San Diego with the Marine Corps University Foundation (MCUF) and met the commanding general, Brig. Gen. Daniel D. Yoo, the first Asian American Marine Corps general. I toured the grounds, remembering my training. It was a great visit, and I thank Yoo and his team for the opportunity. Semper fi.

MCUF’s mission is to raise money to support the education of Marines. Although I have been on military bases many times, this trip made me realize more than ever that they are good places for civilians as well.

Many bases are supported by civilian workers, which makes them ideal for job-seekers.

Every military base has federal workers, Non-Appropriated Fund (NAF) employees, contractors and private-sector positions.

The jobs aren’t always listed on the government’s USAJOBS.gov Web site.

NAF positions are considered federal employment but differ from federal civil service because NAF salaries come from a different source. Civil service positions are funded by congressional appropriations. NAF money is self-generated by the businesses being run by the services, including clubs, bowling alleys, golf courses and other activities that use NAF employees.

There are several ways to find jobs on bases.

●Check the base Web site.

Once you locate a base that interests you, look for a link to “employment, jobs or civilian careers.” Seek out the base’s civilian personnel office or human resources office. Sometimes bases allow job candidates to apply in person.

●Look for NAF jobs.

There are a couple of ways to do this. The Air Force lists many of its NAF Jobs at NAFJobs.org. Another site, NAFjobs.com, also has strong listings.

For other branches, do an Internet keyword search on “Navy NAF jobs” or “Army NAF jobs,” etc.

●Look at the Morale, Welfare and Recreation (MWR) services and the base exchanges. Do a keyword search for “MWR jobs” and then search under “Air Force exchange,” “Navy exchange,” etc. The sites will have jobs listed for that base or direct you to a main job site. For example, if you wanted to apply for a job at MCRD San Diego or another Marine Corps base, you could find one with the Marine Corps Community Services by going to usmc-mccs.org/

● Look at USAJOBS.gov. The Army is starting to list its NAF and other base jobs on that Web site.

Derrick T. Dortch, president of the Diversa Group, is a career counselor who specializes in government job searches and military transition.