How A Military Forward Air Controller Built One Of America's Best Companies

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You don't become a billionaire and titan of industry by going with the flow. Those who dream big often have to do it alone. It's not that the world is against them, it's the fact that their visions are so grand the world can't wrap its collective head around what they're doing until it's accomplished.


Take the founder of FedEx.

Frederick W. Smith, president of Federal Express, in a photo from September 25, 1976. (Commercial Appeal files)FedEx

Fred Smith is the founder and CEO of FedEx. Smith's first foray into what would become FedEx, air to ground transport, was as an undergrad at Yale. He wrote an underwhelmingly received paper on overnight parcel delivery in the computer age, an out-of-the-blue concept at the time.

After his graduation in 1966, he commissioned in the United States Marine Corps and served two tours in Vietnam, one as an infantry officer and one as a forward air controller. It was in Vietnam that he personally witnessed the power of the military's logistics operations -- utilizing air to transport personnel and equipment on a massive scale. And when he left Vietnam, he took these lessons with him.

Frederick W Smith in the MarinesDept. Of Defense

In 1970, a year after his honorable discharge, including a Silver Star, Bronze Star and two Purple Heart medals, Smith purchased the controlling interest in Ark Aviation Sales and a year later had founded Federal Express, which started service to 25 cities with a small fleet of jets.

As of 2017, FedEx has an annual revenue of $60 billion dollars. It was the company that introduced the world to overnight delivery, and Fred Smith was the one who made it happen.

Frederick W Smith founder of FedExFedEx

Dustin A. Peters (Cape May County Sheriff's Office)

A former Marine arrested as he tried to enter the U.S. Coast Guard Training Center in Cape May with a modified AK-47 rifle, handgun, body armor and ammunition faces federal weapons charges, officials said Friday.

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The United Launch Alliance's Delta IV rocket launches with a Wideband Global SATCOM WGS-10 satellite from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla., Complex 37 on March 15, 2019. The satellite brings enhanced communication capability for command and control of U.S. military forces on the battlefield. (U.S. Air Force/Tech. Sgt. Andrew Satran)

Editor's Note: This article originally appeared on Business Insider.

The US military's newest service, the Space Force, is only about a month old, having been signed into law by President Donald Trump on December 20.

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(Cecil Field POW/MIA Memorial, Inc./Facebook)

Military veterans from throughout Northeast Florida came together Saturday morning to honor comrades in arms who were prisoners of war or missing in action, and remember their sacrifice.

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The remains of Army Staff Sgt. Ian McLaughlin arrived back to Fort Bragg a week after he was killed Jan. 11 by an improvised explosive device in Afghanistan. (U.S. Army)

After the plane landed, Pope Army Airfield was silent on Saturday.

A chaplain prayed and a family member sobbed.

Tarah McLaughlin's fingers traced her husband's flag-draped coffin before she pressed two fingers to her lips then pressed her fingers to the coffin.

The remains of Staff Sgt. Ian McLaughlin, 29, of Newport News, Virginia, arrived back to Fort Bragg a week after he was killed Jan. 11 by an improvised explosive device in Afghanistan.

Pfc. Miguel Angel Villalon, 21, of Joliet, Illinois, also was killed in the same incident.

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The Space Force has a name tape now

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The U.S. Space Force has a name tape for uniforms now. Get excited people.

In a tweet from its official account, the Space Force said its uniform name tapes have "touched down in the Pentagon," sharing a photo of it on the chest of Gen. John W. Raymond, the newly-minted Chief of Space Operations for the new service branch nested in the Department of the Air Force.

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