Veterans Day

Posted on November 01, 2021

Thank You Veterans

Roddie Thurman, MBA, Manager in Customer Service and Shipping, was kind enough to answer a few questions about his service in our Armed Forces.

Why did you join the armed forces, and what led you to choose the Army?

I played army as a kid, I went to military school in high school … my Dad and brother were in the Army. My son is in the Navy. I believe military service is an honorable profession and a great way to learn discipline and a good work ethic.

What do you remember about the first few days of your service? What was going through your mind?

I did basic training and AIT (Advanced Individual Training) at Fort Knox starting August 13, 1979. It was hot and we ran everywhere. I did not want to upset the Drill Sergeants ... they seemed like they were already upset enough.

Did you make any close friendships during your service? Do you continue any of those relationships today?

I made a lot of friends over the years. The only ones that I am still in contact with are from the National Guard (109th Evac Hospital) that I went to Desert Storm with and some from the 1st Squadron, 1st Cavalry that was in Germany. Several units have Facebook groups and that helps to keep in touch.

You served in the Army, Army National Guard, and Army Reserve as an Armor Crewman, Power Generator Operator/Repairman, and a Human Resource Specialist. Which of these roles did you most enjoy, and why?

During my time in Germany in the Regular Army, I was an Armor Crewman (tanker) on a M60A3. This was the best; being part of a tank crew and seeing how a combat unit moves when training to be prepared for war … especially an Armored Cavalry unit. Going to gunnery at Grafenwoehr Training Area was great also. I also served for a while in the Squadron Headquarters working for the personnel section. The camaraderie in the military, especially if you live in the barracks (or in a tent for a prolonged period), is special no matter what job you have or where you are.

What life lessons did you learn in the military that allowed you to become the person you are today?

If you prepare well you will perform well ... plan and prepare.

Where did you serve in the military? Was there a location that you really enjoyed or didn’t enjoy at all?

I served in Schwabach Germany (near Nuremburg) on active duty during the cold war. I got to see a lot of Germany while we were on field training exercises, on weekends going to volksmarches in different towns and going on special unit trips to historic locations. During Desert Storm I did a lot of truck driving for our hospital unit and got to see a lot of desert and sand.

Share a funny story that happened during your time in the military.

I got a jeep stuck in a snow bank one day (in Germany). I was driving too fast and hit some potholes which caused it to turn and go right into the snow bank … pretty deep. I was off the beaten path … and I was alone. I dug for hours with an entrenching tool and it seemed like I hadn’t moved any snow at all. After a long while two Germans came along on a tractor with a winch. They talked to each other in German for a few minutes, laughing a lot and pointing at me. I laughed with them, hoping they were saying something about pulling me out. Thankfully, they pulled me out and I was on my way.

Special thanks to Roddie for taking time to give us insight into his military service! We would also like to recognize and thank all of our Avanti team members who have served as a member of our Nation's armed forces!

  • Keith Wilson: Army National Guard, Specialist III, Vehicle Mechanical Specialist, 166th Engineer Company

  • Hunter Swaim: United States Marine Corps, Sergeant, Machine Gunner, 1st Battalion, 4th Marine Regiment

  • Al Leftwich: United States Army, Captain, 109th Medical Battalion

  • Roddie Thurman: United States Army, Army National Guard, and Army Reserve; Armor Crewman, Power Generator Operator/Repairman, and Human Resource Specialist

  • Kanesha Ghee: Active in the United States Air Force Reserve