It’s not every day that the Secretary of the U.S. Army stops in to visit a truck show – especially when such a visit involves a squad of armed Secret Service agents and Assistant Secretary of Labor for Veterans Employment and Training to boot.
But that’s what occurred this week at the 2016 Mid America Trucking Show (MATS) as Patrick Murphy (at right), who is actually the acting Secretary of the Army (but are we REALLY going to argue over that?) stopped in to promote military veterans as big potential pool of hard working employees to the trucking industry.
Murphy is no stranger to trucking, it should be noted. He explained that his father drove a truck, with his cousin currently piloting a big rig in Eastern Tennessee.
“I even worked for Roadway and RPS for a time,” Murphy said during a press event here at the show. “We want to help this industry connect with our veterans and transitioning soldiers to give them an [employment] opportunity. For whether they’ve been in for three or 30 years, they are a community asset.”
He also said a few words at a special Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR) event at MATS as well; an organization that aims to “build bridges” with corporate America to form supportive work environments for military service members in the National Guard and Reserves.
Murphy, it should also be noted, is no stranger to the dangerous duty required of U.S. Army soldiers.
A third generation veteran, commissioned as a second lieutenant who later served in the U.S. Army Judge Advocate General’s Corps, he went overseas twice after 9/11; first to Tuzla, Bosnia, in 2002 and Baghdad, Iraq, in 2003-04 with the 82nd Airborne Division.
Yet he also strongly believes combat veterans are not “victims” here – that characterization “ticks him off” he stressed – but instead are looking for post-military careers that take full advantage of their integrity, discipline, and ability to “take the initiative.”
“They need an opportunity to take on another challenge; they will make our economy thrive,” Murphy stressed.
He also couldn’t help adding – repeatedly – that he considers the U.S. Army to be the military’s “Varsity team” for America.
“The U.S. Marines make great commercials, slaying Dragons and such, but when America dials 9-1-1, they are calling the Army,” Murphy noted.
All inter-service rivalry aside, he emphasized that the U.S. military “can’t wait” to work with trucking to help its transitioning personnel find jobs as drivers, technicians, as well as other in industry positions.
“Let’s get after it,” he stressed.