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

Transition

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

(U.S. Army photo by Spc. Keion Jackson).

The U.S. military will build 'facilities' to house at least 7,500 adult migrants, the Pentagon announced on Wednesday.

Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan has approved a request from the Department of Homeland Security to construct the facilities, said Pentagon spokesman Army Maj. Chris Mitchell.

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(U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Brian M. Wilbur.)

Defense officials will brief President Donald Trump's national security team on a plan that involves sending 5,000 more troops to the Middle East to deter Iran, Task & Purpose has learned.

So far, no decisions have been made about whether to send the reinforcements to the region, unnamed U.S. officials told CNN's Barbara Starr.

"The military capabilities being discussed include sending additional ballistic missile defense systems, Tomahawk cruise missiles on submarines, and surface ships with land attack capabilities for striking at a long range," CNN reports. "Specific weapons systems and units have not been identified."

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The thousands of sailors, Coasties and Marines who descend on New York City every year for Fleet Week are an awesome sight to behold on their own, but this year's confab of U.S. service members includes a uniquely powerful homecoming as well.

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When an Air Force major called J.J. completed a solo flight in the U-2 in late August 2016 — 60 years after the high-flying aircraft was introduced — he became the 1,000th pilot to do so.

J.J., whose name was withheld by the U.S. Air Force for security reasons, earned his solo patch a few days after pilots No. 998 and No. 999. Those three pilots are in distinguished company, two fellow pilots said this month.

"We have a pretty small, elite team of folks. We're between about 60 and 70 active-duty pilots at any given time," Maj. Matt "Top" Nauman said during an Air Force event at the Intrepid Sea, Air, and Space Museum in New York City.

"We're about 1,050 [pilots] right now. So to put that in context, there are more people with Super Bowl rings than there are people with U-2 patches," Nauman added. "It's a pretty small group of people that we've hired over the last 60 to 65 years."

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(DoD/Sgt. Amber I. Smith)

In what appear to be his first public remarks on U.S. national security since his resignation as Secretary of Defense, retired Marine Gen. James Mattis offered a word of caution to President Donald Trump amid escalating tensions with Iran on Tuesday.

"The United States should buy time to keep peace and stability and allow diplomats to work diplomacy on how to keep peace for one more hour, one more day, one more week, a month or a year," Mattis said during remarks in the United Arab Emirates.

"Iran's behavior must change," Mattis added, "[but] the military must work to buy time for diplomats to work their magic."

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