Those of us in the trucking business are lucky to take part in an industry that serves the country as a whole, but none of us would have gotten that chance if not for the brave men and women who’ve sacrificed for us as part of our nation’s military. To say thanks, Getloaded is proud to announce our partnership with Operation Homefront, a national nonprofit that provides emergency financial and other assistance to military families and wounded warriors.
Our hope is to spotlight the many veterans who continue to serve their country in the trucking industry, so if you're a Getloaded member who's also a veteran, we'd love to hear from you. Don't worry -- you don't have to be a writer. Just contact us here and introduce yourself. For every veteran we profile, we’ll make a $250 contribution in his or her name to Operation Homefront.
To get the ball rolling, Butch Sarma – Getloaded’s very own product manager – shared his experience in the U.S. Army:
Getloaded Product Manager Butch Sarma, right,
stationed in Honduras in 1988
I enlisted into the US Army in spring 1986. I was infantry, so it meant Ft. Benning, GA, for boot camp. It was hot, and I didn’t see much of the state, considering my view was mostly six inches off the ground doing push-ups while the Drill Sergeants practiced their counting skills. Georgia and I still have a complicated relationship.
After boot camp, I was stationed in Ft. Drum (near Watertown, NY, about 90 miles north of Syracuse, NY). I served my entire enlistment at the 10th Mountain Division in Ft. Drum. According to the Army, I was an 11C, a mortar man. I worked in the Fire Direction Center (FDC) and served as a squad leader. We did mostly cold weather training and were issued white snow uniforms, skis, snowshoes and a sled. No sled dogs, however!
10th Mountain Division in Ft. Drum, NY
I attended some courses on base and at Ft. Knox. My battalion was a COHORT unit – that is, we all stayed together; no one transferred to other units after a few months, and we got very few “new” soldiers to join us. I think it was good for combat skills training, unit cohesion, and morale.
My unit was deployed several times to other US bases for training exercises and only once overseas, to Honduras. After I was honorably discharged, I was in the Virginia Army National Guard for almost two years.
Butch Sarma stationed in Honduras, 1988
How did my time in the service impact my job in the trucking industry? First of all, I learned from the NCOs the importance of taking care of your equipment. Rifle or truck, you need to rely on equipment to get the job done. Second, logistics matter to people! Whether by truck or chopper, getting supplies to the troops is critical. Lastly, all jobs are honorable – from digging your 200th mortar pit to driving a truck, hard work means something.
The two takeaways from my time in the service are leadership and communication. I am honored to lead Getloaded’s products and I enjoy chatting with members on the Getloaded message boards, trade shows and by phone every day.
--Butch Sarma, Getloaded Product Manager
I know plenty Getloaded members have similar stories, and many of you have served your country in some of the most dangerous places on the planet. We’d love to hear from you.
But mostly, thanks.
About Operation Homefront: Operation Homefront provides emergency financial and other assistance to the families of our service members and wounded warriors. A national nonprofit, Operation Homefront leads more than 2,500 volunteers across a network of field offices, and has met more than 750,000 needs since 2002. Ninety-three percent of all donations to Operation Homefront goes to its programs. For more information about Operation Homefront, please visit www.operationhomefront.net.