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5th Special Forces Group Soldiers from Fort Campbell expand training, innovation at General Electric Appliances

5th Special Forces GroupLouisville, KY – When 5th Special Forces Group (Airborne) Soldiers at Fort Campbell, Kentucky, are thought of by most people they think of true American grit. A long lineage of America’s finest Soldiers answering the nation’s call. This call comes with a package of physical fitness, advanced weaponry, and optics, with expanded training from some of the most unconventional means, allowing Soldiers to think “outside of the box” and provide an innovative approach to problem-solving.

However, the Special Forces do not just seek this training internally within the U.S. Department of Defense; they partner with globally connected companies and industry leaders. These companies provide an integrated training opportunity for Soldiers.

General Electric Appliances

One program is the Joint Business Exchange Training (JBET) Program offered by General Electric Appliances, Louisville, Kentucky, October 7th – 28th, 2019.

The program started 12 years ago, said Tim Vibbert, GEA plant manager, and Lt. Col. in the Army Reserves at Fort Knox. It’s designed to be a two-fold opportunity. The Soldiers come in and experience what it’s like to be a civilian leader and problem solve challenging issues in a big company. In return, they present us [GEA] with creative and unbiased solutions.

Five Soldiers from 5th Special Forces Group (Airborne) from various military occupations ranging in logistics, operations, public affairs, signal support, and military intelligence all participated in the company’s three-week program.

Soldiers were allowed to assess, refine, and propose solutions on mobile web applications, company policies, logistics improvement, and manufacturer software.

“My role here was to study factory service and consumer operations,” said 1st Lt. Tobin Cooper, from Group Support Battalion, 5th Special Forces Group (Airborne). “I conducted price analytics, establish a labor cost algorithm and identified shortfalls which impact revenue.”

GEA has personally seen successful solutions and outcomes concluded by the Soldiers.

Last year a JBET Soldier found a way to maximize space in shipping containers coming from Asia, said Vibbert. The solution presented millions of dollars in savings, and now we are saving millions.

In addition to 5th SFG (A) and GEA’s relationship, not only does it provide Soldiers with additional problem-solving skills and training from the civilian workforce, but GEA has its own Veteran’s Network—which includes many different programs for transitioning service members. The two organizations continues to ensure opportunity in its long-standing program, optimal for Soldiers leaving the military and beneficial for those with many years left in their career.


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