Growing up in Washington D.C. during the late 1980s and early 1990s had some significant challenges for a young person without any formal training or college education to find a career. Phil started his career search with The Friends of the National Zoo in 1992 after graduating high school with hopes that would lead to a career with the Smithsonian Institute. 

But, after three years, that opportunity never materialized. At this point he turned to his family’s history with the military and decided to join the Air Force, following in the footsteps of his father and a cousin, and his uncles in the Navy. He completed his initial training at Lackland Air Force Base (AFB) near San Antonio, Texas, with job-specific training at Lowry Air Force Base near Denver, Colorado, where he learned the skills required to fulfill his duties as a supply management specialist.

Phil’s Air Force Assignment: From Journeyman to Master Sergeant

Phil’s initial assignment was at Dover AFB in Dover, Delaware, with the 436th Supply Squadron in support of the 436th Air Wing. Here, he honed the skills of his career field and left there as a journeyman supply management specialist in 1996 bound for Aviano Air Base in Italy. Phil was assigned to the 510th Tactical Fighter Squadron as a flight-line support specialist where he would handle all the ordering, documenting, and transferring of parts from the supply warehouse to the F16 fighter Squadron. After three years with the 510th, Phil was pulled up to the 31st Fighter Wing’s Logistic Readiness Squadron until he transitioned back to the United States in summer 2000.

He was assigned to the 27th Fighter Air Wing Cannon AFB just outside of Clovis, New Mexico—quite a change from Northern Italy at the foothills of the Southern Carnic Alps. About 18 months into his time at Cannon, Phil was considering transitioning into the Air National Guard—then September 11 happened. Almost immediately the military put “stop-loss” in place, putting a hold on all separation and retirements. Phil was first was sent to the Nevada Test and Training Range to support units preparing for war and then a follow-on deployment to Incirlik Air Base, Turkey, in support of Operation Northern Watch. Phil returned to the Cannon AFB in summer 2002 and on September 3, 2002, was sworn into the Delaware Air National Guard (ANG). Phil would serve for another 13 years as part of the Delaware ANG 166th Airlift Wing in New Castle, Delaware, until his retirement in 2015. Phil’s service time totaled 23 years—not bad for someone who thought they would do four years and then separate.

Phil shared that making master sergeant was one of the most memorable moments of his career. He had reached his goal—proving to himself that the hard work he’d put into it through all the years paid off.

Transitionable Skills: Military to Professional Truck Driver

“I am most grateful to the military for family,” said Phil. “The support we received from the military allowed us to have and grow our own family. It also prepared us for a future beyond the military when that day comes.”

Furthermore, he states that his time in the military provided him with operational skills that translated well to his driving career at Dot, such as dealing with customers and handling the time-sensitive situations that are found in 24-hour operations.

Phil’s Dot Journey

Phil started looking for another driving job in early 2019 and throughout his research, he said, “the name Dot Foods kept coming up.” He liked the idea of it being a family-owned business that was stable and established with a very impressive portfolio. He even asked other drivers about Dot Foods, and everything was positive. Phil was hired in the spring of 2019. He said the potential for growth within the company was probably the biggest draw for him. After two and a half years, he now finds himself as the recognized in-house driver trainer for Dot Foods Delaware.

Phil and Maria, his wife of 25 years, live in Dover, Delaware, and have three grown children.

From Dot/DTI – Thank you to all our great veterans for your service to our country!

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