A few weeks ago, I learned that today, March 29, marks the national commemoration of the Vietnam War. Do you remember where you were in November 1955 when the Vietnam War began? How about in April of 1975 when the Vietnam War came to an end? Were you called upon to serve? Do you remember parents or grandparents coming home from Vietnam? Were you even born at the time?
I wasn’t born until after the Vietnam War came to a close, but I remember learning about it and the sacrifices our service members made through history books while growing up. I learned about it through stories told by my parents, through other family members, and through close friends of the family. Most importantly, I learned to show gratitude for our Vietnam War veterans. What I didn’t know then was that these vets would be part of my workforce years later.
Joe Rodrigues, TSA Federal Security Director (FSD) for San Jose International Airport (SJC), enlisted in the U.S. Navy in 1969. He served as a Radioman both in the continental U.S. and overseas before volunteering for naval sea duty in 1972. He was assigned to the USS Flint, AE32, a newly commissioned ammunition ship that was deployed to Vietnam. The ship would load its supplies in the Philippines and then sail to Vietnam to conduct underway replenishments with other naval vessels in and around the Gulf of Tonkin, Vietnam. After being honorably discharged in 1972 and having served one tour in Southeast Asia, he again found himself deployed and serving his country 18 years later – this time in Southwest Asia during Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm as a commissioned officer in the U.S. Army, Military Police Corps. FSD Rodrigues retired from the military in 2002 and is now 18 years into his career with TSA.
Philip Cody, an instructor at Indianapolis International Airport (IND), has also been with TSA for 18 years now. He enlisted in the U.S. Army and served overseas in Vietnam from 1971-1973. “The most rewarding part of my job today is continuing to protect my country. Also, as an instructor, I love helping my team learn.”
Elbert Fann, a Supervisory Transportation Security Officer at Dallas/Ft. Worth International Airport (DFW) and TSA employee since 2002, was stationed in Vietnam in 1968 and 1969. Enlisted in the U.S. Air Force, he was a member of the Weapons Load Crew. When asked how his military service helped steer his purpose in his career after the military, he said “In the military, I learned how to adapt to an ever changing environment. This is similar to the environment at our security checkpoints today.” He continued, “I enjoy working with people. Working with passengers and giving them a positive experience is my goal and my team’s goal.”
Today, all of us at TSA want to recognize, honor and highlight TSA employees who served in the Vietnam War. We’re forever thankful for the sacrifices made by you and your families.
Every day, TSA is proud to connect with, support and hire veterans. We’re truly fortunate to have nearly 20 percent of our workforce made up of veterans or those proudly serving. If you’re a veteran and want to find a career where you can continue your service and dedication to the safety and security of our country, we encourage you to apply for a position with TSA. Visit our website for a list of positions currently available near you.
By Kris Murnane – TSA Social Media