Wednesday, November 21, 2007

A New White Rhino Report Feature: Spotlighting a Veteran in Transition – Michael Aldred

On this day before Thanksgiving, I cannot thank of a better way to say “Thank you” to the men and women who serve in our armed forces than by helping them to find appropriate work when they return from defending our nation as soldiers, sailors, airmen or Marines. Therefore, with this posting, I am launching a new feature that will periodically highlight a man or woman who has recently served and who is looking for an opportunity to deploy their skills and experience in a private sector job.

I am delighted to lead off this series with Michael Aldred of Franklin, Massachusetts. Michael has just concluded a 20-year career with the United States Marine Corps, where he most recently served as a Chief Warrant Officer-3. His areas of specialization included Project Management, Personnel Management, Logistics and Transportation. He has earned a B.S. in Management from the University of Maryland, where he consistently appeared on the Dean’s List.

I asked Michael to share with me a story from his days as a leader among Marines. I am pleased to share that story with you.

After checking into my new unit as a new Warrant Officer my boss assigned me as the senior Embarkation Officer for a war game training exercise with our Korean counterparts. After 6 weeks of living in the isolated, rural, barren camp in the Korean city of Pohang, a relatively short distance from North Korea, we anxiously awaited our departure to home cooking and warm showers. A nice soft bed was a scant memory at this point. It had become crystal clear why my bosses were conveniently unable to attend, making me the senior Transportation Officer in country, as a brand new Warrant Officer. It’s funny, but looking back they never missed our Hawaii and Hong Kong exercises!

Two days before our departure our global tracking system showed our departure flights home being cancelled. Something about President Bush’s unscheduled trip diverting Air Force planes away from us. This was not good news…not the type of scenario I had dreamed up for my initial briefing to the Commanding General. The last thing my budding career prospects needed was being the bearer of bad news, so I went to the grizzled, hard-lined, steely-eyed Commanding General’s living quarters and prepared the joyful news of the unexpected delay, especially since the training operation with our Korean counterparts had ended. I went in there with apprehension and left with a clear, concise mission statement, “Get my unit home!”

We immediately went to work and contacted any available flying units in the area; I spoke to a Navy Commander in Guam, an Air Force Major in Japan, and any and all Marine squadrons. We finally reached an Air Force liaison officer who related to the pain of being stuck in Korea. Within 24 hours, at the expense of a tremendous amount of paper work and coordination, we had a commitment from the Air Force to fly four small airplanes round-robin to get all 2,000 people home. Our return home was on tactical noisy cramped airplanes that could only take fifty passengers at a time.

A huge difference from the large comfortable civilian contracted planes we had arrived in. We then prioritized every single passenger and over the next several days we flew everybody home, I become the most popular travel agent on that first flight out of town…Oh yea, that intimating General stopped by my tent with his entourage on the way out and gave me a nod of approval. He said nothing, but did not have to. I felt a huge sense of satisfaction with the work my team had accomplished.

Michael Aldred is clearly someone who knows how to take responsibility and find a way to get the job done. He is currently in the midst of a job search in the Boston area. He is looking for a chance to serve his next employer as loyally and as faithfully as he served the USMC. If you know of a company that could use someone with Michael’s experience, skills, initiative and character, please contact me and I will be happy to put you in touch with him.

Michael, thank you for your service to our nation.

Happy Thanksgiving!


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