Written by Sgt. Neysa Canfield
101st Sustainment Brigade, 101st Airborne Division (AA) Public Affairs
Fort Campbell, KY – Logistics officers and senior noncommissioned officers from the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) Sustainment Brigade, 101st Abn. Div., attended the FedEx Hub Express Experience, July 17th-19th, 2017 in Memphis, Tennessee.
The purpose of the trip, according to Capt. Alex J. Tompkins, was for logistics leaders to learn how a global logistics company operates and take the best practices back to their respective units.
“We had a pretty diverse representation of leadership present during the trip,” said Tompkins, a Cumberland, Maryland native and the distribution integration operations officer for the 101st Abn. Div. Sust. Bde. “Seeing the aspect of how a private sector operates and what they value, versus what we as military value, I believe is very beneficial for these leaders.”
Leaders visited the FedEx supply chain, the Global Operations Center, received an overview of the Memphis World Hub, and received classes that emphasized leadership and management skills.
“The really neat part for me, personally, was that we got to receive a form of [leader professional development] from [retired Command Sgt. Maj.] Marvin Hill,” said Tompkins. “He is a former Eagle 7, so it was neat getting to meet him and hear him talk about the importance of good leadership.”
Like Tompkins, Sgt. 1st Class Fontella Keese, acting first sergeant for 227th Composite Supply Company, 129th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, 101st Abn. Div. Sust. Bde., said she also gained some leadership skills.
“I got an opportunity to not only see logistics operations, but to also develop myself as a leader,” said the Clarksville, Tennessee native. “They really emphasized that although you may be in charge of a mission or task, the Soldiers, or in their case civilians, are what make you successful, you just have to trust that they will and can do their job.”
As an automated logistical NCO, Keese said this was a great way to develop herself as a logistician and be able to develop the Soldiers who work at her company’s Supply Support Activity warehouse.
“It was great to see the different equipment they use, how they stock their items differently than we do and be able to learn from it,” said Keese. “I would recommend any logistics leader, NCO or officer, to attend the tour.”
Tompkins, who helped set up the leader professional development trip, said he received great feedback from the leaders who attended, and hopes to continue the partnership with FedEx.