Prefer to watch the podcast in action rather than just listen? Watch Scott and Lloyd as they interview David Bellavia for SCNR Episode 251 at the Supply Chain Now Radio Studio in Atlanta, GA.
Listen as Scott and Lloyd interview Medal of Honor recipient David Bellavia in the SCNR Studio in Atlanta, Georgia.
[00:00:05] It’s time for Supply Chain Now Radio Broadcasting live Supply chain capital of the country. Atlanta, Georgia. Supply Chain Now Radio spotlights the best in all things supply chain the people. The technology’s the best practices and the critical issues of the day. And now here are your hosts.
[00:00:29] Hey, Scott Luton here live with your own Supply Chain Now Radio. Welcome back to the show. So in this episode we are continuing our Vetlanta Voice podcast series where we get to focus on the veteran community news and science challenges resources. Oftentimes with just a hint of supply chain and mostly we can get the series because we’re passionate about serving our fellow veteran community. It’s part of our give back and we hope your audience enjoys it as much as we do. So today our show is incredibly honored to be featuring Mr. David Bellavia, recipient of the Congressional Medal of Honor. Now, if you don’t if you’re familiar with this incredible honor is the rarest, most distinguished military honor in the United States. There have been only three thousand five hundred eight individuals to receive the honor since the first recipient in 1863. So you’re gonna want to stay tuned for what promises to be an inspiring and invigorating conversation with a lot of observations on leadership and effective, successful leadership. So stay tuned. Quick programing note. Like all of our series on Supply Chain Now Radio, you can find our replays on a wide variety of channels Apple podcasts, SoundCloud, YouTube, wherever else you get your podcast from. As always, we’d love to have you subscribe to, you’ll miss anything. Let’s quickly thank some of our sponsors that allow us to bring these conversations and innovative ideas to you. Our audience. Verusen. The Effective syndicate. Spend Management Experts. Talentstream. And many more. Check out our sponsors on the show notes of this episode. Horace’s welcome in my fearless co-host. Once again today, Lord Knight, director of International Airfreight LMG at U.P.S. Global Forwarding, also co-founder and president of Vetlanta Lu at Hatoon.
[00:02:07] Great Scott. It’s so wonderful to be here. We’ve just finished up our last quarter of a decade. Our summit, which is crazy to think about. And we’re really pumped to have David on today’s episode.
[00:02:20] You know, that is. I’m with you. Last night was outstanding. We had a chance to see David in action. US keynoting are at the summit. It’s great to have a sneak peek. And we’ve done a lot of you know, you go on YouTube. There’s thousands of videos featuring his story and his perspectives. And you get a sense of who he is and the sacrifices that he and his his comrades made. So we’re really honored to have him in the studio here today. So let’s welcome in Mr. David Bellavia. Welcome to Atlanta. Welcome to the Supply Chain Now Radio.
[00:02:51] Hi. Thank you for having me. I appreciate your hospitality. Vetlanta was a great experience. And I got to see you guys haven’t seen in almost 20 years there. Locally based. You know, Mike, my first squad leader was just showed up and it was really cool to be able to see such a scene again and Specialist Quim and other guy served with in Germany. And then I had my buddies from Benning come that were in with me in Fallujah. So it was it was kind of neat to not only be at Vetlanta, see all these great vets learn about Georgia and the National Guard and all the vets and all the different companies out here supporting veterans in the Atlanta area. But also guys that I’m I know and I love that are right here living in Atlanta. So pretty cool.
[00:03:38] Well, in the paint, a picture for our listening audience where they’re in a hangar, large hangar out at Dobbins Air Reserve Base. Yeah. And Clay, National Guardsman. Clayton National Guardsmen. That’s right.
[00:03:49] And as David comes on the stage, when the first things he does is recognize a bunch of your colleagues that, as you mentioned, you hadn’t seen in a long time. And it made him he made them stand up there. And it was just as a special as one of my favorite aspects of your message last night, because, you know, you seem like you’re always putting that back, putting the honor and the recognition and, you know, back on your your your teammates and your colleagues and you and your brothers and sisters in arms.
[00:04:19] That’s how we’re raised in the infantry. You know. You’re the last to eat when you get a little bit of rank, you know, and you’re always reminding people that you are nothing without, you know, the people you’re left and right there. And the reason why you’re here and and, you know, only an exquisite idiot would take that and say, hey, is it all me I like?
[00:04:41] Let’s celebrate me. Enough’s enough critical.
[00:04:46] Well, all right. So, Lloyd, we want to pose the question to David that would typically we ask a lot of folks this and yet we see so many different answers and so many different reasons. But why did you choose to join the military?
[00:04:58] I had a pretty crazy. Variants happen now. I was home from college and my mom had pretty serious next surgery, so my dad was. My dad was a dentist for 37 years and the youngest of four and he was taking care of my mom and I.
[00:05:14] These two guys broke into our house and it was a home invasion and they were just having their way ripping everything apart.
[00:05:22] And I remember I went down the basement, I grabbed a Remington eight hundred and loaded it and I had a ready and I got them right, you know, well within rights to just, you know, defend my my parents, defend our property.
[00:05:44] I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t do it. And the look on these guys faces, they they just weren’t you know, they went about their business.
[00:05:51] But but my father looked at me in a really, you know, just to a way that just made me feel like I needed to. I need to go somewhere and and become a man. And I was, you know, done with college. And I I should have already been.
[00:06:09] That was the youngest. And maybe I just was already. So I went to the University of Fort Benning, Georgia, and got a masters degree in human studies. And I just was like, hey, you know, this was ninety nine. You know, there was no war going on. Kosovo was kind of a joke deployment. And by the time September 11th came around, I was all in. And that person that was in that house that day was long gone. And I learned just from great outstanding and CEOs and officers about what my role is in this world and who I’m supposed to be. And I embraced it. I loved it. And, you know, it really changed the trajectory of my life.
[00:06:52] But, you know, we always get diverse answers. EFT is a diverse end to end where, you know, that’s pretty great. So let’s talk a little bit about transition stories, you know? An area before we went on the air, we were talking about transition stories. And again, lots of diversity. Everybody has a very unique. So let me ask you this A. You know, your your career was going really well. And A, it’s sounds like you really liked the army. Why, as a staff sergeant, did you decide to leave the army after six years and in 2005?
[00:07:28] Well, you know, my whole. So my son was born with some kidney issues. And, you know, we had Buffalo Children’s Hospital, which was a world class facility for pediatric nephrology. The army didn’t really have a whole lot of options outside of Walter Reed to handle that. So I would have had to have given up my MLS and moved to basically Walter Reed or just get out of the army. I didn’t want to do any of those things. September 11th happened. I went to serve. I went to fight. And so the army was like, you’re gonna have to go on what’s called an all others tour, which no family, no dependents. And that was three years without family. So that was really tough. And it was pretty much an ultimatum, which was, you know, you know, this this is day I was going to lose my family, you know? So I I decided to try to come home and be a father. And, you know, there’s times you look at back and you think, you know, so much of us, a soldier’s career is really dictated by what’s at home. And if you have that support, you’re blessed if you don’t have that support. You know, you’re you know, that’s one of the reasons why divorce is such a huge deal. So it’s really the biggest casualty of the war is is marriage. And, you know, people just it’s just not you know, it’s these young guys, you know, 19 years old, you got an income, right. And you’ve got money for the first time your life. You’re living away from home. You don’t have to worry about rent.
[00:09:03] You want to just hit the fast forward button on adulthood and then you go into combat. And and now there’s this artificial sense of, you know, you’re thinking a 20 year old doesn’t think about their mortality. Not at all. You know. And so now all of these things are going on and you’re thinking, I’m you know, I’ve got to get everything accomplished because I don’t know what’s going to happen in six months. Let’s get married. Let’s have a kid carnation instant life. You know, you just add water and and all of a sudden you’re like, I’m 21. I’ve got two kids. I’m married. What am I doing? You know, I mean, like, I’m not ready for any of this. So a lot of those decisions are made because of the great unknown of the combat experience. And then when you come home, you’re now back in reality. And a lot of those things just kind of implode because of that. So when when I didn’t you know, at the time that we were coming home, the rack war was super unpopular. And, you know, at. For help or asking for a job with networking, none of these things. There was no transition either. The army basically the army would such for unemployment is what they did. You know, when you got out. It’s like, here’s how you file for unemployment and good luck finding a job. There wasn’t really anything there today. Today’s army completely different now. You know, they put these guys on job interviews and internships and Fortune 500 companies are hiring folks. We’ve done a much, much better job of taking care of Joe.
[00:10:25] So, yeah, definitely and definitely here in Atlanta as well. And something Vetlanta is it’s really, you know, focused on helping veterans and their spouses with the transition. So. So take us through what do you do after the army and what have you done between the time you separated from the army until earlier this year when you found out you’re being awarded the medal?
[00:10:48] So when I got home, I literally didn’t have any idea. My my dad sat me down with a local Vietnam helicopter pilot who is a very decorated guy, and he was a politician at the time. And so I sat down with him and he’s just, you know, basically just gave me, like, you know, advice that you would give any, you know, young soldier coming home. I was super into politics. And this guy, John Murtha in Pennsylvania was running around and he was, you know, using his Bronze Star from Vietnam as his credibility, talking about my war. So I drove to Johnstown, Pennsylvania, the 12th district of Pennsylvania in my Taurus.
[00:11:34] I have three hundred dollars. I went to his office and I just want to talk to him, you know?
[00:11:40] And so I waited and I finally got, you know, maybe 10 minutes with him. And I was respectful. I just said, I don’t understand what you’re doing here, you know?
[00:11:49] And he said, you know, very he was really cool to me, but he just said, this is what I believe. If you don’t like it, go start a group and and go. You know, talk about your point of view. And I was like, sure, why not? So I went home. I wrote an op ed and Tony Snow had a radio show at the time. He read the op ed on air. Rush Limbaugh read the op ed on air. And Tony Stone became the White House communications press secretary. So all of a sudden, I went from just a guy writing an op ed to, you know, all these people that were reading this op ed. And I started meeting all these vets that were, you know, doing the same thing. And five of us got together and said, let’s start a group where we just take the politics out of warfare. Let’s see what happens within, you know, three months. We’ve got a hundred eighty five thousand active duty members. And within, you know, two years we spent more money in the presidential campaign than any other special interest group with McCain and Obama. And had the war just been the primary focus? You know, it would have been a different outcome. But of course, the economy when the tank in September of that year, but we went from just a bunch of guys that were, you know, not having, you know, couldn’t get our sideburns even.
[00:13:10] And we’re just home from the war to literally going on CNN, MSNBC, Fox News. You know, Pete Hegseth, who’s on FOX. He was a part of that group. I got him, Jim Hansen, who’s now one of the biggest military consultants on Fox News. He was part of that group, latourelle. Marcus Luttrell was a part of that. We had Chris Kyle was helping us out with a bunch of stuff. But this is before, you know, these guys had books and before they had, you know, the reputable grassroots all the way. Yeah. So we were just a bunch of guys just all getting together. And, you know, we just got on a bus and just started going from town to town saying, are we wrong? Who’s with us? And it was a huge. We we brought 500 veterans on Capitol Hill and sat down with all of our elected officials at that time in 2006. They were going to de-fund the war right now. Listen, you could be in for the war against the war, but you can’t de-fund while we’re fighting. I mean, that’s absurd. So we saw the Iraq war was a political soccer ball. And we just wanted to say take the politics out of combat.
[00:14:16] And that started. And then, of course, you know, with the the president did it, the new administration came in. Iraq was don’t talk about it. It’s the bad wars, the war of choice. It’s the war based on bad intel. So everything was Afghanistan. So Iraq vets were like, we don’t have anything. We’re just we just this was a huge mistake. And forget about it. Move on with your life. So I went in, I got a job at a milk plant and I just started working there. I did some some, you know, charity work and worked with the power grid for a while and trying to protect our power grid. But I had vets groups and other charities, and I just kind of got done with Washington. I lived out there for a couple of years and it was just like I go back. Buffalo, I want to just have a normal job, get a coffee, get a newspaper. You know, I mean, just. And I did that for 10 years. Great company. They did basically dairy aseptic, dairy manufacturing, which is like shelf stable, daring, awesome to see manufacturing. You know, it’s a cow. It’s made every single day. You know, it was like one of the coolest things in the world. And just how much is involved in that?
[00:15:25] And honestly, it brought me back to the army because no one person screws up. The line stops. The line stops. You’re losing money. This factory was working 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and it required everyone to do their job. Everyone to be an expert at what they did. And I just loved it. I thought it was a great if I could spend the rest of my life just on that floor with my hairnet on, you know, and my, you know, gloves just walking around, just seeing everyone as a team. I just thought those calls thing.
[00:15:56] Now, you know, I heard this and I don’t know if it’s a true story, but a, I hear some of your coworkers were absolutely shocked at that job that when you were nominated for a medal, they had no idea that story.
[00:16:11] Well, here’s the thing. I got a ton of attention because at the time that this happened, there was a New York, I’m sure, the Time magazine that Yasser Arafat died. And that was the cover story during Fallujah in 2004. This story that Michael Ware wrote was so powerful, it won a Pulitzer. And so they changed the cover of Time magazine to be Fallujah. So there was a tremendous amount of attention at the time. You know, on that thing, I was nominated for the Medal of Honor. I was nominated for the Distinguished Service Cross. I received the Silver Star. And our unit got a tremendous amount of well, my unit deserved the attention. They did outstanding things we all did and sort of the Marines and everyone else in Fallujah. So lacking a home, it was like it was Vets for Freedom. It was the politics of it. But then it was kind of like, you know, there’s really what you’re known for being maybe a vet. But then it became like politics and other things that people. So when the book came out, it was just kind of, you know, people forgot about it.
[00:17:15] I went back, I embedded as a reporter. I did two tours as an embedded reporter after I was in Iraq. And it never I never told anyone I served because I thought that that would be, you know, I don’t want to, you know, taint the jury pool. I mean, so I was used to just using it when I had to use it. I think a lot of people make the mistake of coming home and keeping the high and tight low crawling to work, reminding people mean you could look at someone’s car and see their deeds. 2:14, you know, I mean, like they have, you know, jump school in, you know, everything on there. When you do that is you sometimes are telling your coworkers, this is what I am and this is who I am. And so after 15 years, I just didn’t talk about it anymore and I just wanted to be a civilian. And so when that story came out, it people were like, wait, is it? How is this even possible? This guy has your name, you know, like he looks just like you.
[00:18:09] Why is this so less listless for our listeners sake? I want to back up into that story as it was a Pulitzer Prize or very well received story. So for our listeners that may not be familiar with David’s medal on our story. His actions in Fallujah were first documented in the November 22nd, 2004 Time magazine cover story into the hot zone by journalist Michael Ware, who was attached with your unit, David, during the fight, I believe. Right. Partial video capturing the event can be seen in Michael `where’s documentary, Only the Dead. I think some of that is also featured in some of the YouTube videos that that night we did our homework on and the one that played last night. So I want to quote that Time magazine article. So I think it really that the paragraph we’ve selected here really kind of paints a picture. So it reads, quote, Bellavia, a wiry 29 year old who resembles Sean Penn, is paced mystery, preparing to go back in. As bluster on the battlefield contrasts with his profane and off of the battlefield. During lulls in the fighting, he could discuss the Rennaisance and East European politics. Get off me now, he’s quoted as saying, ordering a squad to close in. There is little movement. He asks who has more ammunition to soldier to soldier stand up and join him in the street. Here we go to Charlie’s Angels. Bellavia says, You don’t move from my blank wing. You stay on my right shoulder. You stand left shoulder.
[00:19:34] Who will try and quote what? You know, when I read that 17 times now, you know, I stumbled through it. My mind processes a lot of things. Right. And you can I can just almost see it. Of course, the videos we watched really helps, but it just screams leadership. Right? And it screams leadership in a way that is not lip service leadership we’ve talked about. It is at. Oriented. And it is successful cos folks are acting right as the unit comes together. Everyone’s moving together and that’s gonna start with the leader that’s got the direction. So who taught you how to be a leader going into not just that fight but really into battle in general?
[00:20:18] I mean there’s so many too to throw out there. But I mean my sergeant major, Steven Falkenberg, he’s the first guy to lose his life in the battle of Fallujah. And he was basically leading a bunch of Iraqi intervention forces. He had no business doing that. And they were just lollygagging around. He saw them. They were taking heavy casualties. And he took it upon himself to basically say, follow me. Here’s what we’re gonna do.
[00:20:46] And he went out into the into the great unknown and was taken down. And I just. Everyone in two infantry, my unit were leaders that led from the front.
[00:20:58] My company commander, Sean Simms, was killed in a house fight. My XO is killed, a close quarter range with a rocket. We lost a scout. We lost other guys.
[00:21:08] But when your leaders are you know, people are stand that close quarter combat is so intimate. And you’re not just like, oh, you it was so rare to see the enemy. You get shot at and you get an opportunity, you get a target I.D., you take it down. Those days were so few and far between. This is the beginning of the IED and and and, you know, the the loss of life was you getting a Humvee, you’re driving around and boom, everything’s gone. This was a completely different fight. You’re making eye contact. In this case, we’re actually talking to these guys, trying to intimidate them. They’re doing the same to us. The the battle injuries that you would are accustomed to, the fragging, the bullets, the grazes, the shrapnel are replaced with, you know, literally guys, you know, trying to kill you with their hands. And it’s very personal. It’s very intimate. And you just think to those people that got you ready for that fight. You know, Doug Walter, my company commander, Sean Simms, who replaced him and lost his life, Steven Falkenberg, these were Darren Bond who one of the, you know, was almost Sarr major, the army. I mean, these these guys that all came from Fallujah went on to become incredible leaders in the army at the highest levels, because what they showed in Fallujah is that they are some of the greatest minds in our military at the time. And it just happens to be from, you know, my group. I mean, I you know, my my battalion commander went on my my brigade commander put three stars on, you know, so these guys all graduated of the highest echelons. And I got to see them in the moment in the fight and every single one of them led by example. It’s really hard not to, you know, do your part. When you when you have outstanding leaders that are doing it every day.
[00:22:52] So the first thing is it all or nothing like Sean Penn did.
[00:22:56] But you’re here much better then and now.
[00:23:00] Thank you so much. So, yeah, so take us back. So it’s it’s hitting the fan. So they take us back to your mindset when when you make the decision to go into that building.
[00:23:11] So in my life, I’ve always had whenever adversity hits, I take about 90 seconds to lose my mind. Right. So for the first 90 seconds, no one’s screaming louder than I am. No one’s going. No one’s more irrational than I am. I just, you know, I’m lost. I can’t find my keys. You know, whatever it is, I take 90 seconds to just be, you know, get it out, just let it out, let it go. And then you started to look at, you know, one of the things I learned very early is that everyone’s always watching you when you’re in charge. Everyone’s looking at you. And if you know, if something happens right now while we’re talking and and there’s 50 people up here, if one person jumps through the window, inevitably, like seven people are going to follow that just because that seems like a good idea. Someone has a plan. And to me, the only unforgivable sin is not having a plan. Not making a decision is worse than making a poor decision. I could fix a poor decision. I could fix a coward, you know? You know, I’m afraid. Well, then get out. Go away. I don’t need you. But if I don’t know if you’re a coward, if I don’t know that you can make sound decisions, the lack of decisions. That is the unforgivable sin. So when you’re you know, when you have an enemy that’s bunkered and down and you’ve got, you know, Bradleys, you can’t get a bomb. I mean, the chaotic situation of Fallujah is every single street has its own mini battle of Gettysburg going on.
[00:24:45] So the Air Force can only drop so many bombs if you get an indirect fire. There’s no fixed wing coming in because the indirect can’t, you know, impact well while planes are in the air. So everyone is on a waiting list. You’re like a. Doctor’s office and everyone gets a number. And if your firefight is still going on, when you get the number, you get the bomb. But unfortunately, a lot of times you got the number after the fight was over or after you’re pulling out. So we put in for a bomb and we were in line.
[00:25:15] And so it’s it’s gonna take to two our audience that may not or most of what court has never been a situation. We say put it in for a bomb. You’re talking, communicating back to to our.
[00:25:25] Yeah, we’re asking for fire support. We’re asking for a thousand pound JDAM, joint direct laser guided bomb to take this house out so that we don’t have to, you know, risk any more casualties. But it was just, you know, OK, we’ll get there when we get there. And that just seemed like it went on forever. So we brought in our Bradley fighting vehicles, which are basically, you know, twenty five millimeter cannon. It’s a it’s a tank that has troops in the back. And the walls were so high, the streets were so narrow that we were we were basically forcing them back in. The more we fired, they were just kind of you know, it was obvious that there were still people in there, but you don’t really have a situation. But the problem with the Bradley that’s so effective that it like destroyed all the plumbing inside. So now, you know, you’ve got water that’s pretty deep. And it and it’s you know, the population was gone for six months. So men, women, children, people that didn’t want to fight all left. Ninety nine percent of those guys were, you know, foreigners that wanted to fight Americans. But the smell of water that has been, you know, just unmolested for six months, not used. It’s horrible. It’s like fish. The worst smell in the world.
[00:26:41] And the only sense that you can really use is your sense of smell. You can’t trust your eyes. You’re tired, you’re exhausted, you’re hungry. You haven’t had, you know, sleep. And people are starting to get sick, you know, so we’re we’re starting to get guys with some infections and bacteria, whatnot. Your ears are shot because while the shooting at close quarters. So they’re really the only, though, you could do is smell and you could smell. If a guy slept in a house, you could smell his breath, you could smell his body odor, and you knew that he used that house for a restroom. I remember going into it now. We bombed the hell out of Fallujah. Right. It was just like Normandy. Everyone got a map. Everyone memorized how they were going into the city weeks ahead. And then you got to Fallujah and realized it, that that block isn’t even there anymore. The airforce and the artillery. You know, where where is this? This map is from Halloween. It’s November 7. And nothing looks the same. Everything’s gone. And these roads that they showed us, a video of an Air Force F-16, Charlie dropping a bomb. And it set off like 30 other bombs that the one bombs set off 30 IED. So it was apparent that you were not using the main roads.
[00:27:55] So the only way we were gonna take this city down was by creating our own path. And that was through buildings and, you know, blow having tanks shoot into buildings, multiple buildings and or any clearing through there, creating alternative or avenues for our vehicles to support us. And that’s a lot of stress to put on young leadership. And then you’ve got people dying and and, you know, people moving up in rank because of, you know, attrition. But I remember going into a house and just seen dust everywhere, like these families just left in the middle of the night. There’d be clothing and toys and rotting food and you’re smelling all this stuff. And the dogs had not been fed in a city the size of Tampa Bay, Florida. So these dogs were literally not to get too graphic, but the dogs were depending on us to take the enemy out. And so they could feed. And it was one of the creepiest things in the world to see feral dogs just waiting as your vehicles rolled in. And they would just kind of move behind you. You get in a firefight and then the dogs would just boom, go right into the houses and you would hear the Emmy. It was it was extremely disturbing. But going into a house with dust and debris and everything.
[00:29:10] And seemed like a pristine orange cup or a piece of cheese. Everything else is rotten and nasty. And you just focus on that orange cup and everything in your body. You become an animal. You’re now instinctual. There’s nothing about anything other than cup threat. Whereas it you know, it’s got to be behind a curtain. It’s got to be behind the couch. It’s anywhere a person can hide. That’s where I’m putting around. And you’re not making that decision. A 19 year old kids making everyone’s making the same thing. Like, what is that? Everyone’s now just spider sense. And you can do that. Your adrenaline is pumping, but it’s like every single house. And it’s impossible to keep up that adrenaline. It’s it’s exhausting. And when we walked into this house, we were. clasen because we had been going through every single back and forth, and the only cause that Michael, where unbeknownst to us, he’s videotaping everything. So what you’re watching is the actual firefight. It’s, you know, I’ve, you know, the army and there’s not a Medal of Honor that we know of a citation that is factually videotaped in real time. And Michael Ware did it. And honestly, I don’t know anything about the process because it’s super secret, but I don’t know if this is ever happening.
[00:30:30] If Michael Ware isn’t there, you know, so. So he was just some Australian guy with a video camera. I mean, he’s more than that. He’s really like the ah, Ernie Pyle of his generation. I mean, he he really he dedicated eight years of his life to Iraq. Eight years. You know, he this guy has been completely affected by that, too.
[00:30:47] And, you know, now that I get to know him as, you know, a guy, a man, he’s one of the toughest guys to remember my life. I mean, he he is just absolutely he’s opinionated. He’s strong, but he’s a decent and honorable man. He had many opportunities where he could have sold a story that would have been sexy or, you know, whatever. But he’s he’s one of the most decent people I’ve ever met. Very honest. And he risked his life to get to a story. And, you know, it it’s the reason why my guys are able to sit, tell their families what they did. It’s because of Michael. Wow. That’s that’s awesome to hear.
[00:31:28] So let’s talk more about this. Let’s talk about David. What did Michael wear and Tom get right in the article and the movie and then. Is there anything else that I mean, sounds like he really nailed the story and nailed the scene, nailed what was taking place. But anything else that is important, you think for our listeners really understand in terms of what was going on that may not have been captured?
[00:31:51] The thing about being in a firefight is that I don’t know what the story is. Zombies looking down my rifle, you know what I mean? I remember what happened. I remember what I was thinking. I remember what my guys were doing. But really, there’s only one person that could tell the story. And that’s the guy who’s looking at everything. And he was looking at everything. So I have no way to know of, you know, who said what, who did what. I know that’s what happened. Now, the videotape makes it a lot easier because it’s all there. And the audio is all there. But for the most part, there’s really nothing that I look at. And I think, well, that’s you know, it’s so wrong. It’s so that it’s so in the moment that it’s almost, you know, I wanna go back to something that you said earlier in an interview.
[00:32:41] It’s we’re talking about the scene was taking place, this notion of hand-to-hand combat. I remember Saving Private Ryan. There’s lots of scenes that really get your attention, that movie. There’s one in particular where there are some army soldiers in. I’m not sure where they were in. It was urban warfare. Right. In buildings. And a German soldier in this scene goes up and all he has is a knife and it becomes hand-to-hand. And then as as the American soldier is losing that that combat, as he’s using the knife to take his life, it becomes deeply it changes the whole world. It moves from from combat and testosterone to someone dying and someone killing. And it’s eyeball to eyeball. So when I hear it, when immediately, as you’re describing a situation where at times of what you experience and what you’re going through became hand-to-hand as first, it came as a shock that that is I think a lot of folks that are in war don’t get that, especially in the types of battles that you and your your fellow soldiers went through.
[00:33:51] You know, I never had when I think of that night, I don’t think of it as its first of it’s pitch black. And then, you know, I threw a frag. So there was a lot of smoke. The entire house is rigged to blow up. And it wasn’t a matter of, you know, why don’t you try this or why don’t you try that? It was this house is going to blow up at any minute. And I don’t know if my frag just set off a peristaltic chain of propane tanks and C4 going off. If I shoot around and it goes the wrong way, is that going to blow up the house? So it was a matter of you’ve got to find the person, you know. And most of these guys were shot repeatedly. So, you know, they’re wounded, you know, they’re suffering. And and the thing is, is that, you know, a wounded man is a dog fighting for its life. And there’s no you. It’s it’s everything. It’s instinct. And everything is, you know, just cause you’re hit doesn’t mean you’re not a threat anymore and it doesn’t mean you’re gonna see it. So it was it was fixing this enemy. And the only reason why it it devolved into that was because there was a person above us that was communicating with him.
[00:34:58] Well, I was just trying to shut up this guy from yelling to his friends so I could yell to my friends. And, you know, it just kind of always trying to pacify me any way I could. And I used literally every thing that I had. And but the weird part is, is that like, I didn’t know how many. I knew there was a two to three guys in that house. But the crazy part was that you’re engaging people and you’re thinking, am I missing? Like, I thought I shot this guy like five times. Why is he not bleeding? Why is he not hit? And you’re like, oh, my God, is that another guy? And then you’re like, wait a minute. That can’t be another guy. I mean, like, how many guys? Why are they all wearing the same thing? You know, like they all are coming through the same door. And it’s like, you know, in Hollywood, you shoot a guy falls down. He’s dead in the real world. You shoot a guy and he crawls away and tries to get better and tries to get help and tries to. And so they’re giving away my position. And, you know, you’re looking for where was the guy I just dropped here? And why is he still on his feet? And then, of course, you find the spoons and the needles and all the drugs these guys are taking, which honestly, if I was fighting against the United States Army 1st Infantry, I’d probably hide, too, you know. But these guys were just hired to Neptune. So they’re not acting like normal folks. They’re they’re they’re they’re, you know, popping themselves with whatever they could. And when you’re shooting at close proximity with our, you know, five, five, six, it’s not the best round for stopping power.
[00:36:41] It’s not the best round to, you know, drop zone in the tracks in a firefight. Six is a mile, 4.6 millimeter. That’s right. So it’s it’s a basically a twenty two, but it’s an armor piercing. So it goes super, super fast. It’s not like the Vietnam round that that tumbled. Right. This thing is made for the enemy to wear some sort of Kevlar protection, sort of pierce through that. But what if you’re not wearing that? You’re just wearing a t shirt. It’s going to basically cauterize. It’s going to soon passed you real quick. So you almost have to aim for things that are going to stop a person. Right. And that just kind of changes the fight a little bit. But my point is it’s it’s the whole fight, every close quarter battle. And my unit got into a ridiculous amount of these. This happens to be in a magazine and videotape. But it certainly wasn’t the worst day we had in Fallujah. But the reality is, is that when when that happens, the these fights can change on the littlest thing. Your confidence goes from like, I’m Thor. No one can stop. Me, too. I should have gone to dental school. This was the worst mistake ever. You know, to me, like you go from think I’ve dominated, I’m dominating this room. I’ve got this under control because there’s only two guys in here to. Oh, my God. This for all those five. They’re six. I don’t know what I’m doing. This is just a horrible idea. And you slip and fall and they have the advantage. And it’s just constant ebbs and flows of overconfidence to totally insecure. And it’s a pretty psychologically debilitating thing.
[00:38:16] Well, that brings us definitely into the next question. And the you know, I watched the video and you definitely have helped set the stage for this next question. How are you able to control both the fear and the stress, not only in yourself, but in the troops you’re leading?
[00:38:33] Well, you know, the the real point here is that, you know, their face is showing you what they’re going through. And you’re you are doing your best to not reflect that on your own face, you know. So I think you’re in a much better it’s easier to fake it when you’re the guy in charge, because all you have to do is start giving directions. This subordinate is the one that has to follow that. And, you know, it’s a really dumb idea or it’s a great idea, but it’s an idea they have to, you know, follow suit. My job is much easier than their job. But it was a matter of, you know, I I. All I could think of was just, you know, you try to amp yourself up for it and you try to get people going. Scott Lawson was a guy that went in that house with me and, you know, just showed me a tremendous amount of fidelity I built. You know, whatever you want to do, I’m with you. And I at that point, my life, I’ve never had that where a guy just said no, he based Scott Lawson told me, I’m not going to let you die alone, which a was like, well, thanks.
[00:39:42] You know, I mean, I thought we could do this.
[00:39:45] And then the second thing was Scott died in 2013 and he was a dear friend of love. To this day. But I mean, the idea that someone’s going to say, I have no doubt we’re gonna get you. We’re gonna get killed. Yeah, but I’m going to deal with you. That was enough to be like, let’s roll the dice and let’s see what happens. You know, and I’m just really blessed to have soldiers that that were willing to go with me and they did it. And, you know, again, we focus on the ammo, which we focus on the actions of one person. But there were so many things that happened that night. And five, you know, the night. The next day, the day before, these guys saved my life. They saved my life repeatedly. You know, so one day, one action and on my birthday gets all this attention. But the reality is that, you know, Fitzie and Nap, my team leader, we walked into a building with a mic drop tank. It thing was wired to blow. This thing would have blown us to Neptune. And I gave nap. I should take that house down. He’s like, absolutely not. Don’t go in there. And the house is rigged to blow. Saved our entire platoon. Had he not done, I would have brought everyone in there. That house would’ve killed us all. You know, a guy that opens a door and looks around and sees a grenade on the handle, you know, reaches around, pulls the grenade out. I mean, every one of those, you know, crushed wire, they just put two wire on a carpet. Yeah, there’s no carpet in the entire building. But one welcome mat. You put one step, one foot on that carpet, those two wires crushed together.
[00:41:19] And now you have no charge and you blow up the entire house. These guys were constantly making decisions like that that saved lives. And it just it’s what makes the award so awkward because it’s like, oh, you must be the only person that did know I was one of 50 guys that did it every day. And for whatever reason, you know, this media is not as aligned.
[00:41:43] So one of the things I really appreciated in your speech last night, you talked about how you’re now able to express your love, your fellow veterans.
[00:41:52] And I mean, that’s that’s one great thing about a Vetlanta. And you know, the look at God. I love you. Do you do it? I love you. And I mean, it’s. Yeah. So that’s really special. And I like that. That didn’t happen overnight, but that took time.
[00:42:12] You you realized that, you know, I mean, we talk about we love to hear the stories of what happens when we meet the enemy face to face. We take them out. Right. But how many do you know? Millions of Americans in Afghanistan, Iraq are stacked up and they go into a house. There’s nothing there. Well, they were prepared for something to be there. If there was a guy on the outside that door, they would have taken him out. So it’s it’s to me, it’s not the act of actually executing what you’re trying to do. It’s the willingness to want to do it. You know, it’s the willingness to be in that stack to get out and say, I’m ready to go into this house. Whenever something else said at door, I’m going to I’m going to shoot in the face. That’s takes a lot of intestinal fortitude in this. And yet all we do is we focus on the guys who actually are successful doing that. But how many people are willing to do it? And, you know, my guys came into that house thinking I was dead. And they fought their way to my body to bring my body home. They didn’t know I was alive and well, that I just I love them for the fact that they were willing to do that for me. Yeah.
[00:43:18] So we’ll ask you I won’t ask you in just a second about the Logistics of combat. But going back to one other thing you mentioned, you talk about the highs and lows of confidence swings. And I think there’s so many transferable insights you’re sharing and that are easily transferable to business situations. You know, leaders lose confidence and gain confidence like you were describing pretty regularly. Right. Whether you’re an outstanding leader or if you’re a newer leader, what have you. What advice would you have for folks in the business world that struggle with maintaining that high degree of confidence so you can go out and make things happen?
[00:43:54] Well, the first thing is that you. It’s all about communication. You’ve got a constant you constantly have to have your subordinates can never find out what’s happening before you tell them what’s happening. You certainly want to set expectations for good and bad. But nine times out of 10, it’s you know, the building block of competency is always character. If you don’t have the care, you could be the best at whatever you do. But if you’re a jerk. No. No one’s going to care to ask how good you are at something. So that that building block of being good at something or being competent always comes down to what kind of person you are. And are you going to be able to be there during the good times, be there during the bad times? Do you share the glory? Do you do you compliment people when they’re doing a good job? You know, there’s nothing wrong. One of the things that I think a lot of young leaders are afraid of is firing people. You know, you’re doing the best thing you could do for someone is to get them out of a position where they’re going to fail. Failure is not the worst thing in the world. A controlled failure is actually a great. Educational tool. But if you just know that there are people that can’t do their job, then you’re not really an effective leader because you’re you’re forcing the euro, allowing them to be set up for failure when you know for a fact that these are guys that aren’t able to shoulder the burden.
[00:45:14] So once you find your team and you believe in your team and you’re communicating with your team, you’ve got to constantly massage those personalities. You find people what they’re really good at. And nobody wants to be, you know, just a soldier. 3, you know, no one wants to be the guy in the red shirt that beams down with Captain Kirk. You know, you’re about to get that. You don’t have a purpose, right? Everyone wants to have a role. What do I do? What is my job? What is my left limit? What is my right limit? I got everything. Trust me to cover everything in this limit. And I think that when especially in the business world, trusting your subordinates, giving them the ability to make decisions on their own and then holding them accountable. But at the same time, you’re the you’re the guy you’re the person that is going to, you know, be ultimately the buck stops with you. And if you truly care about the mission and you truly care about success, you’re going to put people in the best positions you can. But you’re never going to just, you know, blame them haphazardly because things go bad. You’ve got to be accountable at all times.
[00:46:20] Awesome. Great point. Red Shirt, Captain Kirk. Of that. All right. So as as we know, the Vetlanta Voice podcast all about military veteran issues.
[00:46:30] This is again, a complete honor to have a Medal of Honor recipient. And really, you and everything you’ve done your career here. But Supply Chain Now Radio is all about. And in Supply chain Logistics transportation. Manufacturing. I loved your experiences through the then the milk plate you talked about. So any thoughts you can share around the Logistics of combat?
[00:46:55] Well, I mean, it’s such an incredible machine. You know, the American military, when they’re doing a set play like Fallujah, Ramadi, any of these in Najaf, so much is involved. You know, just take a tank and drive it down the street for seven hours. Right. You put it on a tractor trailer. You you you have to know, you know, believe it or not, it was our our transportation industry are, you know, U.P.S., FedEx that gave us our G.P.S. tracking systems, our blue force tracker that allows us to see where all of our vehicles are in real time and combat. That came from from, you know, our folks at u._p._s. So, you know, all of these things of, well, where’s my package? Well, where’s my INF.? Where’s my tankers? Where are they at? Where are we? Where are they? And, you know, it’s not just about taking out the enemy. It’s I’ve got to feed my guys. I’ve got to get fuel to my guys. I’ve got to get the sick guys out. The guys that are hurt. And I’ve got to be able to maintain our lethality over time. And so when granddad was Mike, my grandfather was D-Day plus 22. So the Normandy beaches, Omaha, Utah, juno. Sword Gold, those were the depots that he entered the fight into. So what was the place where thousands of Americans, Canadians of British, invaded into southern France, became the area that they stored all their grenades and all their bullets and everything else? And, you know, when when a truck pulls up and, you know, there’s a pallet of grenades or a pallet of C-4, it it it’s dad is what makes us the most lethal and effective, disciplined military in the world is that anything we need is they’re going to find a way to get it to you in the most, you know, asymmetrical way possible. And it’s a lot of civilians. It’s a lot of of of got you know, what made us effective in Iraq wasn’t so much the 22 year old machine gunner.
[00:48:51] It was the 64 year old truck driver that was you know, I’ll tell you, those civilian truck drivers drive totally different than our military truck drivers. You know, you’re not you’re not stop at a 65 year old man with a with a semi. He’s in a drive right through. And and a lot of those civilians fixing our equipment, teaching our guys how to do it. That’s really what what turned the tide for us in Afghanistan, right in the main.
[00:49:14] And we were talking last night at the Vetlanta summit. The maintainers never get a recognition, not just the military, but just in the private sector, too. And, you know, as much as we hear about the driver challenges and transportation industry, you know, making sure we’ve got to foot a lot of folks that keep those diesel engine engines running and all that machinery running, that’s a huge challenge. Right. And keeps the military running. It keeps the supply chain going. So appreciate your comments there. We are going to you’re going to ask about the moment he got the news, right? Yeah. Yeah.
[00:49:49] So when you got the news that the Medal of Honor was going to happen. Yeah. Were you expecting it? Was it a surprise out of that?
[00:49:58] The whole thing. Well, there’s also this happened fifteen years ago and I’m living my life of ass. Great. I never in a million years thought that this was gonna happen. So when you get a phone call from the army asking questions, you know, you you’re automatically you contact an attorney, because I thought, you know, I’m reading the newspaper. There’s people being accused of doing things they didn’t do and all this other nonsense. So I was thinking, you know, I’m not answering anything. You know, I don’t want to talk about this at all. I don’t know what your motives are. And when they assured me that it wasn’t a negative thing, I was thinking, you know, this has to be maybe it’s a distinguished service cross, which I mean, it’s incredible. And that Silver Star is incredible. I live my whole life with, you know, this. I was, you know, no one none of these guys got recognition for anything they did. So I was super lucky and fortunate just to be recognized and and am an art. You know, I didn’t need that. I was focused on other things in my life. That Army chapter was locked up and sealed. And when they said a senior member of the D.O.T., you want to talk to me, it was like in. All right. The secretary, the Army secretary to fit, you know, whatever was gonna be cool. But I didn’t think, you know, anything big. And then this person was just busy all the time. And I. And I waited on hold for days. I mean, literally like five days of. Can’t do it. Can’t do it.
[00:51:19] And I’m thinking, you know, oh, man, this let’s stick it to the army. Pretty busy. You know, I don’t know exactly what he does for a living, but he was a really busy man.
[00:51:28] And then one day I got a phone call and it was like hold for the president. I had states and I’m thinking that is a senior member of the D.O.D. chief.
[00:51:40] And I honestly, my first five minutes were like, is this just a call that is just being nice? What is the deal? And he just said, well, you know, we’re gonna give you the the Medal of Honor. And I I mean, I was totally I didn’t know what to say. You’re humbled. You’re scared. You you don’t want it. You don’t want. And then you think you’re one of the guys going to do. One of my guys gonna say, I mean, how much, you know, attention can one person get? Did the my soldiers were so selfless to just take this as theirs as well. And that’s just speaks volumes about their character. I mean, this is not like they’re not 20 anymore. Yeah, the grown men tell and they’ve got their own thing going. They sacrificed their time. They came to Washington with me. I don’t know of any. You know, I don’t know of any other president or situation that will allow my entire platoon to come on stage. You know, the president was like I say, hey, can I bring my guys up? And he’s like, how many?
[00:52:44] And I was like, all of the hell that is. But how many is that? And I was like, all of that. I don’t know the numbers. It’s like thirty two.
[00:52:53] They all came up. They all shared it with me that they they loved and supported me. And it was. It shows a tremendous amount about these men. You know, I had my interpreter there that just became a U.S. citizen. All right. I had families of my sergeant major, my company commander, you know, all these guys, all these fake gold star families, they lost their husbands or sons, and they’re up there. And, you know, it’s impossible not to feel just overwhelmingly grateful to be around such outstanding folks as Alpha Company to to first I.D. Those guys are really awesome. And I appreciate that.
[00:53:32] So clearly you’re in a world where in your schedule and your Danaher George, I think you’ve got a Monday at 8:00 AM till Friday, probably 8:00 p.m. Your book folks want to want to hear from you, right? They want to talk with you. They want to shake your hand when gleaner inside, just like we do before that. You know, we’re talking when the warm up conversation about, you know, veteran transition challenge. We heard some about you’re transitioning. If you had a couple of thoughts, a Sheer with civilian hiring managers, folks that really want to, you know, tap into the incredible talent pipeline that is veterans that are exiting. And and I think you’re talking last night about how great of a resource veterans on your team can be.
[00:54:14] What advice would you have to that hiring manager in terms of leaning in and really trying to understand and engage veterans to harm?
[00:54:21] Well, I mean, the first thing is that we don’t judge just because you’re hiring a veteran doesn’t mean you need to know what their story is. It’s really none of your business what the story is. If they want to share with you, that’s great. But that’s not a part of the job. So, you know, knowing that someone served you, there’s a whole lot you’re finding out in the in the subtext that you don’t really have to. You know, this is a person that understands what commander’s intent is. What am I supposed to do? They’re going to do it. They’re going to show up on time. They’re going to be reliable. They’re going to be accountable. But, you know, the other thing is that we do ourselves the most disservice because we feel like we have to.
[00:54:57] I remember going to my first job and everyone’s like, slow down like this and when we’re done with this job, we’re all out of work here. So there’s no reason why you need it. You know, no one’s getting overtime. But, you know, I just pump the brakes there, buddy.
[00:55:14] And and it’s true. I mean, you got to go with the flow. And you’re an individual in a team just like you were in the military and you’re not in charge. And you’ll work your way up and eventually you’ll get that responsibility. But when you come in, you know, a lot of guys are, you know, sergeant first class, their platoon sergeant, and they start and they’re basically a private and a new company. And that’s a bit of an adjustment. Not everyone’s up to your speed. Not everyone understands what you’re trying to do. So we we have to gage our own expectations. And again, nobody wants to hear this. The story of, you know, your buddy. Nobody needs to know about, you know, you. You choose the when and where and which you want to share things with people. But by and large, civilians don’t get it. They won’t understand it. You don’t. And and quite frankly, they don’t want to, you know. So why are we the ones that are, you know, instructing folks on what it’s like to do close quarter? You know, anything. Do your job. Keep that stuff out there. I mean, don’t wear your service on your on your sleeve. You know, because it really sets expectations. And honestly, it feeds to a lot of people that I prejudice that, you know, we’re knuckle draggers and we’re mouth breathers.
[00:56:27] And that somehow, you know, so. So my point is, is that if they find out on the third or fourth conversations serve great. If you get a job and they find out you’re a veteran, that’s really all you need to say, what you’re comfortable sharing. Do that on your own time. But be aware that not everyone sees combat the same. Not everyone sees service the same. And and, you know, the job is important.
[00:56:51] But that’s reality. That was reality.
[00:56:54] And to hire managers, I’m hearing it don’t feel obligated to understand every single chapter of their service.
[00:56:59] Right. I certainly don’t put your veteran in a position where just because they served you, just because they saw something that was horrible or in a bad spot, that they’re going to snap, that they’re going to be a threat. These nothing makes your organization better than veterans. Nothing makes your community better than veterans. These are people that basically said this cause and this country is more important than me. Why wouldn’t you want that in your business? You want people that go to work for the business, not to go to work for the the individual or go to work for themselves. These are people that have constantly every single day said the mission is more important than me and I’ll do whatever I can to achieve the mission. I would I would want a whole company of veteran. Oh, yeah.
[00:57:41] I can tell you from the Fortune 500 companies were we’re not hiring be veterans because it makes us feel good. That put the put on our interview report. We’re hiring veterans because it makes us better return. Yeah, definitely.
[00:57:56] All right. So busy schedule and we love it. You know, I think I love how you’re an ambassador for so many things that folks need to hear about a loved last night. Have you talked a lot about unity? And, you know, because these messages that bring folks together, we need to hear a lot more about that. You know, we can all have our differences and and have respectful debate and all that stuff. But in a day, we’ve got to come together. So tell us more about, you know, kind of the crazy schedule you’ve had this year and then give us a sneak peek into what 2020 holds.
[00:58:26] Why? I was recently in Texas where these X game bicyclists BMX is like, want to jump over my head?
[00:58:34] I thought, well, what the hell has happened here? This is now important to the army that we’re like, you know, would really help recruiting. Could you jump over that man’s head? Be awesome. You know, and. But but these guys are great.
[00:58:48] And you get you know, you throw a first pitch out at a. I did a playoff game for, you know, Nationals, Dodgers and Yankees. Mets, and you go to football to that part. You know, the sports guy. That’s cool. That’s awesome. But what’s really cool is I get to bring my guys with me. So, you know, Hardaway was catching the first pitch early, which was classical. Then I brought my guy in. I guess I’m bringing them to the Armed Forces Bowl in Dallas. I got a couple of buddies go into that. You know, my kids get to go. It’s just that stuff’s cool to be able to share that. Go into Vetlanta. Guys hang out with and stuff. But for the most part, the the awkwardness of, you know, we don’t have oh, we have one living recipient from the Iraq war. And honestly, I think it’s shameful. I mean, I you know, those guys that I’ve gotten to know from Afghanistan are literally some of the greatest Americans who’ve ever lived. Sal Janta and Leroy Petry. And, you know, all the Ryan Pitts, you know, Clint Romesha, a-, all of them. They’re all studs. Every single one of them. Flo Groberg and. My friends, now they’re my. I love these guys. And I’m so proud of who they are and I’m proud to be in their association. But I’m not going to tell you that Afghanistan is 17 times more dangerous than Iraq was. And I’m not going to tell you that some of these guys living today from the Iraq war aren’t worthy of this award.
[01:00:15] And we have to do a much better job of recognizing that valor. We have to do a much better job of putting the Iraq veteran on the same platform as the Afghanistan veteran. And it is extremely, you know, just awkward and weird to be the only guy walking around with this thing. And now, you know, every so. Not everyone wants to you don’t talk about Iraq. And a lot of times, you know, I’ll be in a at a banquet and they’ll say Medal of Honor guy. And everyone’s like, oh, you know, firecrackers. This is so great. And there’s like five gold star families right there. And those gold stars have given far more than anything than any living recipient is wearing this day. They gave their sons and their daughters wave. You see a gold star family. We should. They should be walking on our backs. They should literally be the most celebrated citizen that we have. Anyone who’s given anything of life and their children and their husbands and their futures, their tomorrows were sacrificed so we could be undisturbed from comfort. That is the most incredible citizen. It’s the most amazing gift we can be given. So as much as I’m. This is incredible. These other guys are literally walking embodiments of American patriotism. Those gold stars are 10 times greater than anything, any award you can get. And they deserve that respect. And that’s one. Well put.
[01:01:38] Well put. I wish we had you for six more hours. I hate that I won that interview down Lu. And you get some folks to thank.
[01:01:46] First of all, thank you. So the you know, your first choice to come to Vetlanta. So you probably all know that. And and I’m I’m happy you thought you were a first choice. You’re the definition of servant leader. And they if you look at Vetlanta, were ran by servant leaders. So the. So I appreciate it. A thank you to you. Thank you for your service.
[01:02:10] You’re worth your reward for them for the Great A.
[01:02:15] The talk last night at the Vetlanta. I also want to recognize your team. So they talked about them a little bit. Yeah. When I first met you, they did a great job, Rosten and Tracy and dressed him. They were pleasure to work with. Also got to think the Congressional Medal of Honor Foundation, many of you know the Vetlanta is all about collaboration. And one of our biggest supporters here is not in money because Vetlanta doesn’t take any money, but but in connections and support is there. Arthur Blank Foundation and the Arthur Blank Foundation actually gave the Congressional Medal of Honor Foundation a grant and then introduced them to Vetlanta and said, hi, hey, how can of the three of you work together to help veterans and endure it? So the. So I appreciate a great organizations and it was the end of a great year for us. Vetlanta.
[01:03:07] Absolutely. And, you know, a lot of folks have no idea of just how involved Arthur Blank and all those organizations are in supporting a wide variety of community service initiatives and veterans initiatives. So we’re lucky here in the metro area to have folks like that, leaders like that that are doing things and are taking action and writing big checks to support great calls. A big thanks for that. All right. So, Lloyd, what’s coming up for 2024 Vetlanta?
[01:03:34] Well, we we have so many good things going on. We’re adding capabilities to the organization, which we talked about last night. We’re getting involved in the veteran judicial system. So the veterans courts, we’ve added that capability, veteran arts. So we add we added a hip hop artist a to the leadership team. McDonald Really? And yes, we’re we’re looking to get involved in the arts.
[01:04:00] This the this year, more interaction with the V.A., the make the V.A. better and to help veterans better.
[01:04:11] Great summit’s coming up. We have a our first quarter summits have five serve. Second one’s going to be at KPMG. Third one is U.P.S. and the fourth one, J.P. Morgan Chase. And then finally, we have our version of TEDTalks. Yeah, we have the first one day right before Veteran’s Day. And it was a huge success. So we’re looking at repeat that. Two or three times next year.
[01:04:34] So lots of great things telling great stuff in this. This. This marks the last episode of the Vetlanta Voice series for twenty nineteen. And I can’t imagine a better guest that to finish this first season on then. David Bellavia, honored to have you really enjoyed what you shared. It comes from you can tell genuine folks. When it’s coming from the heart. Saw it last night. See it again here today. And just we admire and admire what you’ve done. So I want to thank you for your service.
[01:05:07] Although I like your response. Sophia, lessers, you may have heard what David just said. Lloyd, as Lloyd said, thank you for your service. Your calm response as you’re worth it.
[01:05:16] Well, that’s a Vietnam thing. All my wisdom comes from our Vietnam vets and everything they’ve done for us, protecting us from what they went through. But, yes, a Vietnam vet told me he’s okay because it’s a weird one. So thank you for using what you’ve posted.
[01:05:28] Hi. Yeah. Still. Yeah. This machine is not sure how to do it, but. So.
[01:05:36] Yeah. No, I mean, you’re worth it. It is a really cool way to just say this is why we do what we do. Because you you’re worth it. Our families are worth and America’s worth.
[01:05:44] It’s a cool honor to be with you here today. Thanks so much. Lloyd, we’re kinfolks. The working folks learn more about Vetlanta. Yeah.
[01:05:52] Vetlanta dork. Perfect. Check us out. Sign up for a newsletter. It’s a monthly newsletter. We’re not going to ask you for money. We’re just going to let you know how we’re helping veterans.
[01:06:01] Love it. Love it. Aren’t we part of that, too? All right. So we’re gonna wrap up the day. Our schedule isn’t nearly as busy as David’s, but we’re gonna be in a few places here as well as as we get past the holidays and get kicked in January. As always, we invite our listeners, come check us out in person. We’re gonna be at events for CSC AP Atlanta roundtable in January. The reverse Logistics Association Conference and Expo out in Vegas in February. And then, of course, Madox X, one of the largest supply chain trade shows in the Western Hemisphere, has been. Here’s what the chamber likes to say is gonna be back in Atlanta March 9th through 12th or rheumy streaming throughout those four days of that conference. And of course, Moto X is hosting our 2020 Atlanta Supply chain Awards March 10th, where we’re gonna be featuring Christian Fisher, present CEO of Georgia-Pacific as our keynote. You can learn more. You can hear learn more about any of these these events that we’re gonna be at at our events tab at Supply Chain Now Radio dot com. Modoc some particulars free to attend 35000 folks networking market into best practices keynote you name it. Moto X showed dot com and the Atlanta Supply chain Awards nominations, registration, sponsorships all open. Atlanta Supply chain Awards dot com. Big thanks once again to Medal of Honor recipient David Bellavia. Thanks so much. Safe travels headed back to Buffalo later this week. Happy holidays. Merry Christmas to you and your family. Floyd, a pleasure. Thanks. Has been a great six episodes and looking forward to what 20/20 has in store. Thank you. Appreciate your leadership. Okay. To our listeners, be sure to check out other upcoming events, replays of our interviews, other resources at Supply Chain Now Radio dot com. You can find us an Apple podcast, SoundCloud, where all the leading sites where you find your podcast. Be sure to subscribe. So you’ll see thing here on behalf of their entire team. Scott Luton wishing you a wonderful week ahead and we will see you next time on Supply Chain Now Radio. Thanks for writing.
Staff Sgt. David G. Bellavia was born, Nov. 10, 1975, in Buffalo, New York. The son of a successful dentist and the youngest of four boys, Bellavia grew up in western New York and attended Lyndonville Central High School and Houghton Academy. Following his high school graduation in 1994, Bellavia attended Franklin Pierce University in Rindge, New Hampshire, and the University at Buffalo, where he studied biology and theater before turning to the military. Bellavia enlisted in the U.S. Army as an infantryman in 1999. After One Station Unit Training, the Army assigned Bellavia to the Syracuse Recruiting Battalion; an assignment which allowed his infant son to receive the medical care he needed. In 2001, Bellavia had to choose between changing his military occupational specialty, submitting a hardship discharge, or remaining as an infantryman and leaving his family for 36 months on an unaccompanied tour to Germany. After the terror attacks on 9/11, Bellavia felt his country needed him and chose to stay and fight. That sense of duty had been ingrained in Bellavia since he was a child by his grandfather, Joseph Brunacini, who served in the Army during the Normandy Campaign in World War II and earned a Bronze Star for his valor. In the summer of 2003, Bellavia’s unit deployed to Kosovo for nine months before receiving orders to deploy directly to Iraq to support Operation Iraqi Freedom. From February 2004 to February 2005, Bellavia and the 2nd Battalion, 2nd Infantry Regiment, were stationed in the Diyala Province along the Iranian border. Throughout the year, his task force took part in the battles for Najaf, Mosul, Baqubah, Muqdadiyah and Fallujah. Bellavia left the Army in August 2005 and cofounded Vets for Freedom, a veteran advocacy organization that sought to separate politics from the warriors who fight in the field. Their membership consisted of tens of thousands of veterans who fought in Iraq and Afghanistan. Bellavia returned to Iraq as an embedded reporter in 2006 and 2008 where he covered the heavy fighting in Ramadi, Fallujah and Diyala Province. In 2007, he wrote a book, House to House, detailing his experiences in Fallujah. He also had several articles appear in national publications and made appearances as a guest on cable news networks. Bellavia currently is a successful business owner and a loyal Buffalo area sports fan. Bellavia’s awards and decorations include the Medal of Honor, Bronze Star, Army Commendation Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster, Army Achievement Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster, Army Good Conduct Medal with Bronze Clasp and two Loops, the National Defense Service Medal, Kosovo Campaign Medal with Bronze Service Star, New York State’s Conspicuous Service Cross, the Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, the Noncommissioned Officer Professional Development Ribbon with Numeral “2,” the Army Service Ribbon, Overseas Service Ribbon with Numeral “2,” the Presidential Unit Citation, Combat Infantryman Badge, Driver and Mechanics Badge and the NATO Medal. He was inducted into the New York State Veterans Hall of Fame in 2005. Staff Sgt. Bellavia currently resides in western New York. Learn more about David Bellavia here: http://www.davidbellavia.com/
Scott W. Luton is the founder & CEO of Supply Chain Now Radio. He has worked extensively in the end-to-end Supply Chain industry for more than 15 years, appearing in publications such as The Wall Street Journal, Dice and Quality Progress Magazine. Scott was named a 2019 Pro to Know in Supply Chain by Supply & Demand Executive and a 2019 “Top 15 Supply Chain & Logistics Experts to Follow” by RateLinx. He founded the 2019 Atlanta Supply Chain Awards and also served on the 2018 Georgia Logistics Summit Executive Committee. He is a certified Lean Six Sigma Green Belt and holds the APICS Certified Supply Chain Professional (CSCP) credential. A Veteran of the United States Air Force, Scott volunteers on the Business Pillar for VETLANTA and has served on the boards for APICS Atlanta and the Georgia Manufacturing Alliance. He also serves as an advisor with TalentStream, a leading recruiting & staffing firm based in the Southeast. Follow Scott Luton on Twitter at @ScottWLuton and learn more about SCNR here: https://supplychainnowradio.com/
Upcoming Events & Resources Mentioned in this Episode
Check out David’s book “House to House”: https://tinyurl.com/qwtkxy2
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