For the military veterans who help drive U.S. Xpress and Variant, service builds bonds that endure.
Professional truck driver Cory Sims served twice in combat zones during his career with the Army National Guard. The first time, during Desert Storm in Iraq, he was a 19-year-old fresh out of basic training, and the Vietnam veterans he served alongside acted as mentors who helped him endure that challenging year.
“I came back with a ton of knowledge, and just felt like I was more grown up than I even thought I would have been by age 20,” Cory said. “I owed a lot of that to the older guys that took me under their wing.”
More than a decade later, when he deployed again for Operation Iraqi Freedom, Cory was the more experienced soldier who provided support to young soldiers who were overseas in a combat zone for the first time.
“I was 32, so I wasn’t an old guy compared to military standards, but when you’ve got 19-year-olds and 20-year-olds that haven’t been in it before, they’re looking for knowledge, and some of them are scared to death like I was,” Cory said. “You do your job and watch each other’s back, and the main objective is to make sure everyone comes home the same way they went over there.”
Military veterans such as Cory have experiences and perspectives that make them exceptional team members in transportation and trucking, said Ramiro Carmona, manager of military and veterans recruitment for U.S. Xpress.
“There are numerous individuals performing various roles that contribute to making the U.S. military the greatest in the world,” said Ramiro, a former U.S. Army service member who was deployed to Afghanistan in 2012. “In order to accomplish their mission, the military relies on a wide range of professionals, including transportation managers, operations supervisors, logistical technicians, mechanics, and trailer technicians, as well as human resources and technology experts. Veterans possess remarkably diverse skills.”
During Military Appreciation Month in May, and particularly on Memorial Day, the sacrifices and courage of the people who serve are in the spotlight. But for Cory, the everyday awareness of what service members and veterans have experienced is always on his mind.
“As long as there are wars and there are fights, we will have the strongest military in the world, and the bravest men and women I’ve ever seen,” said Cory, who drives a military themed truck for Variant.
U.S. Xpress has strong and growing partnerships with organizations that support military members and their spouses in developing meaningful careers. These partnerships are essential to increasing the number of military veterans who work at U.S. Xpress, which is a high priority for the company, Ramiro said.
“I’m glad to be part of a company that appreciates the sacrifice of our veterans, active duty service members, and their families,” he said. “It takes special people to be willing to raise their right hand and serve.”
Cory, who spent eight years with the Arkansas Army National Guard and nine years with the Tennessee Army National Guard, said the bonds he built during his time in the military have endured.
“A lot of those guys I stayed in touch with through the years have passed on, and the rest of us stay in touch and remember them,” he said. “Service is part of your life for the rest of your life.”
Among the partnerships to support military service members at U.S. Xpress are:
- For drivers, driver managers, and diesel mechanics, U.S. Xpress offers the Post-9/11 GI Bill Apprenticeship Program. This program, which is approved by the U.S. Veterans Administration, provides veterans with competitive pay while they gain valuable work experience and training.
- U.S. Xpress also participates in the Skillbridge program through the U.S. Department of Defense. The program offers military service members the opportunity to spend the last six months of their military service working in internships for approved employers while still earning their salary from the Department of Defense.
- In a partnership that helps veterans, transitioning service members, and military spouses find meaningful employment, U.S. Xpress supports Hiring our Heroes.
- Our community service partners include organizations focused on recognizing and supporting veterans, including Warrior Freedom Service Dogs, The National Medal of Honor Heritage Center, and Wreaths Across America.
- U.S. Xpress recently became one of 600 official partners in the Military Spouse Employment Program, as well. Frequent moves can make it tough for them to get a career foothold. In a new partnership with the Military Spouse Employment Program, U.S. Xpress has committed to becoming part of the solution to that challenge.
- U.S. Xpress’s partnership with the Private Public Partnership P3O supports Army Reserve Soldiers in their civilian careers.
- For veterans who are members of the U.S. Xpress team, a Veterans Employee Resource Group provides a community of colleagues who share resources and relate to each other’s experiences and perspectives.
For six consecutive years, U.S. Xpress has earned the Military Friendly Employer designation from Viqtory, a military recruitment and networking group. In addition, the company has received the Best For Vets honor from the Military Times two years in a row. Disabled American Veterans recently recognized U.S. Xpress as a Patriot Employer this year, based on our employment policies, hiring practices, and community outreach supporting veterans.