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How One Veteran Found A Great Career In The Trucking Industry
Editor’s Note: The following story highlights a veteran who works at Roehl Transport. Committed to filling its ranks with talented members of the military community, Roehl Transport is a Hirepurpose client. Learn more here.
Soon after leaving the military, 24-year-old Jesse Delph found himself in a difficult position — unemployed with $300 to his name. But all of that changed as soon as Delph met Jake Howey, a U.S. Army veteran and Honor Program specialist with Roehl Transport, an award-winning trucking company headquartered in Wisconsin. Within an hour and a half, they completed the necessary paperwork for Delph to join a two-year apprenticeship program allowing him to receive G.I. Bill benefits from the Department of Veterans Affairs, in addition to a steady paycheck from Roehl.
“It’s just a really great company to go through for the simple fact that they actually care about you and they’re willing to work with you,” said Delph, now halfway through his apprenticeship. Delph served as an active-duty Marine from 2008 to 2012, where he worked as a diesel technician tending to the largest hauling trucks with the 1st Marine Division. With a lifelong interest in big rigs, Delph decided to follow in the footsteps of his father, grandfather, and uncle who had driven trucks before him.
The best companies for veterans are those with training programs specifically catered to the needs and skills of former service members. Delph chose a career with Roehl Transport after researching various truck driving companies and the programs they offered. “Roehl stood at the top in pretty much every category that I was looking at,” said Delph, who lives in Wisconsin when he isn’t on the road.
Veterans like Delph have found lasting careers in the trucking industry, where drivers are in high demand amid a growing nationwide shortage of 30,000 truck drivers.
While it’s true that truck driving doesn’t have a reputation as the most glamorous and high-paying career, it remains an attractive occupation to many Americans and is even growing in popularity among women. Currently comprising just over 5% of the trucking workforce, the share of female drivers is growing as they become more accepted in the industry than ever before. "Why trucking? Because I've been looking for a job where I can get good benefits, actually good pay,” said Judy Sanchez, a trainee at the Dootson School of Trucking in California, in an interview with NPR.
Roehl apprentices who are veterans can use their G.I. Bill benefits toward the program’s schooling even while earning a respectable truck-driving salary. In nine months, apprentices will be on their way to earning $50,000 or more per year. Throughout the apprenticeship, they’ll receive on-the-job training experience and become Department of Labor-certified, heavy-duty truck drivers.
The apprenticeship program is available to all Roehl teammates and is closely connected with a program for honorably discharged veterans, reservists, and National Guard members. The Roehl Honor Program allows veteran employees to receive recognition and perks for their service, such as special truck decals.
Roehl founder Everett Roehl in his U.S. Army uniform in 1961.
Roehl will even pay recruits to earn their commercial driver’s licenses before beginning on-the-job training. Roehl’s support for veterans stretches back to the company’s founder, Everett Roehl, who used his skills driving trucks with the U.S. Army to start his own trucking service in 1962.
Delph, who’s been with Roehl since May 2014, enjoys the flexibility of his classroom coursework schedule combined with his solo time on the road. Apprentices typically spend up to two weeks driving with a Roehl trainer before taking a driving test to determine if they are ready to begin driving solo, Delph explained.
Delph often chooses to stay on the road for stretches as long as a month and a half, followed by a week at home, but some Roehl employees choose stretches as short as a week, followed by a week off at home. Delph likes the fact that drivers have that freedom to choose between various work schedules, depending on how often they want to be at home and how much distance they want to traverse.
Roehl’s innovative “Your Choice” Pay Plan rewards the best-performing workers. “Here, if you want to work more you get paid more. You want to work less, you get paid less,” Delph explained. “It’s all based on an individual basis. That’s the one thing that I love about trucking.”
Another aspect Delph likes most about truck driving is being able to travel and see new places, which inspires a joy similar to how he felt during a seven-month deployment on a U.S. Navy ship. Like other veterans, he’s accustomed to being away from home for much longer than his time on the road with Roehl. “It gives me a chance to see the country that I said I’d be willing to give my life for,” said Delph about his apprenticeship.
Three U.S. service members received non-life-threatening injuries after being fired on Monday by an Afghan police officer, a U.S. official confirmed.
The troops were part of a convoy in Kandahar province that came under attack by a member of the Afghan Civil Order Police, a spokesperson for Operation Resolute Support said on Monday.
Marine Maj. Jose J. Anzaldua Jr. spent more than three years during the height of the Vietnam War. Now, more than 45 years after his release, Sig Sauer is paying tribute to his service with a special gift.
Sig Sauer on Friday unveiled a unique 1911 pistol engraved with Anzaldua's name, the details of his imprisonment in Vietnam, and the phrase "You Are Not Forgotten" accompanied by the POW-MIA flag on the grip to commemorate POW-MIA Recognition Day.
The gunmaker also released a short documentary entitled "Once A Marine, Always A Marine" — a fitting title given Anzaldua's courageous actions in the line of duty
Born in Texas in 1950, Anzaldua enlisted in the Marine Corps in 1968 and deployed to Vietnam as an intelligence scout assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division.
On Jan. 23, 1970, he was captured during a foot patrol and spent 1,160 days in captivity in various locations across North Vietnam — including he infamous Hỏa Lò Prison known among American POWs as the "Hanoi Hilton" — before he was freed during Operation Homecoming on March 27, 1973.
Anzaldua may have been a prisoner, but he never stopped fighting. After his release, he received two Bronze Stars with combat "V" valor devices and a Prisoner of War Medal for displaying "extraordinary leadership and devotion to his companions" during his time in captivity. From one of his Bronze Star citations:
Using his knowledge of the Vietnamese language, he was diligent, resourceful, and invaluable as a collector of intelligence information for the senior officer interned in the prison camp.
In addition, while performing as interpreter for other United States prisoners making known their needs to their captors, [Anzaldua] regularly, at the grave risk of sever retaliation to himself, delivered and received messages for the senior officer.
On one occasion, when detected, he refused to implicate any of his fellow prisoners, even though severe punitive action was expected.
Anzaldua also received a Navy and Marine Corps Medal for his heroism in December 1969, when he entered the flaming wreckage of a U.S. helicopter that crashed nearr his battalion command post in the country's Quang Nam Province and rescued the crew chief and a Vietnamese civilian "although painfully burned himself," according to his citation.
After a brief stay at Camp Pendleton following his 1973 release, Anzaldua attended Officer Candidate School at MCB Quantico, Virginia, earning his commission in 1974. He retired from the Corps in 1992 after 24 years of service.
- 1911 Pistol: the 1911 pistol was carried by U.S. forces throughout the Vietnam War, and by Major Anzaldua throughout his service. The commemorative 1911 POW pistol features a high-polish DLC finish on both the frame and slide, and is chambered in.45 AUTO with an SAO trigger. All pistol engravings are done in 24k gold;
- Right Slide Engraving: the Prisoner of War ribbon inset, with USMC Eagle Globe and Anchor and "Major Jose Anzaldua" engravings;
- Top Slide Engraving: engraved oak leaf insignia representing the Major's rank at the time of retirement and a pair of dog tags inscribed with the date, latitude and longitude of the location where Major Anzaldua was taken as a prisoner, and the phrase "You Are Not Forgotten" taken from the POW-MIA flag;
- Left Side Engraving: the Vietnam War service ribbon inset, with USMC Eagle Globe and Anchor engraving;
- Pistol Grips: anodized aluminum grips with POW-MIA flag.
The top leaders of a Japan-based Marine Corps F/A-18D Hornet squadron were fired after an investigation into a deadly mid-air collision last December found that poor training and an "unprofessional command climate" contributed to the crash that left six Marines dead, officials announced on Monday.
Five Marines aboard a KC-130J Super Hercules and one Marine onboard an F/A-18D Hornet were killed in the Dec. 6, 2018 collision that took place about 200 miles off the Japanese coast. Another Marine aviator who was in the Hornet survived.
The Department of Veterans Affairs released an alarming report Friday showing that at least 60,000 veterans died by suicide between 2008 and 2017, with little sign that the crisis is abating despite suicide prevention being the VA's top priority.
Although the total population of veterans declined by 18% during that span of years, more than 6,000 veterans died by suicide annually, according to the VA's 2019 National Veteran Suicide Prevention Annual Report.