As the world commemorates the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I, United Airlines’ CEO Oscar Munoz weighed in with his own thoughts.
Thanks to a FA friend for passing on this note, which reflects upon the end of World War I and how veterans play a key role at United Airlines.
One hundred years ago – on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918 – the last guns fell silent on the Western Front as the armistice brought World War I to an end.
In the century since that terrible war, which was hoped to be the end of all war, time and again our country has called upon the bravery of its people in times of need. Without fail, young Americans joined the Allied powers and answered that call to serve and sacrifice. As those troops returned home, they brought with them a range of professional skills, as well as habits of discipline and integrity, that have strengthened all aspects of our society. At United, we have been special beneficiaries of their valuable expertise and invaluable character because we make it a priority to hire service women and men from all branches of the military, recruiting hundreds of outstanding veterans every year.
From pilots to mechanics, customer service and ramp agents to logistics experts, our veterans have proven experience performing every role that exists in a major airline, doing so under the most difficult conditions.
For example, meet our colleague Lieutenant Colonel Will Baulkmon (retired). He was deployed to Kandahar, Afghanistan, in support of Operation Enduring Freedom, during which time he had the honor of flying his unit’s sole mission on 9/11/11, the 10th anniversary of the tragic events of 9/11. During their mission, they carried dozens of U.S. flags given to them by base personnel to fly on that meaningful day.
Supervisor Steve Butler is United States Air Force veteran who also spent time in Afghanistan helping to install flight simulators that trained our Afghan partners how to fly. Steve brought those decades of experience in the military and private sector to our newly opened, state-of-the-art United Flight Training Center in Denver.
First Officer Jeff O’Grady joined United, bringing with him twenty years of experience in the armed forced, including flying the RC-135 reconnaissance aircraft and working on the advance team for Air Force One.
Flight Instructor Bob Chapman served as a C-130 pilot who helped save lives around the world – from operating famine relief mission into Somalia and helping drop fire retardants to save towns in the western United States.
No one makes the case for hiring veterans better or more eloquently than our colleague, Michelle Saunders, a veteran with an incredible life story of service herself, who is spearheading our efforts to recruit veterans to United. We will feature more about Michelle and our efforts to recruit America’s veterans soon on Flying Together.
To see more of United Airlines’ proud veteran tradition, watch the inspiring upcoming episode of Big Metal Bird [below].
On behalf of the entire United family, thank you to all our colleagues who have served. We can never fully repay our debt to them, but we can recognize the skills they’ve gained and merits they bring after wearing the uniform.
It is so true that the greatest gift to U.S. airlines has been the U.S. military. This is a nice note from Munoz which recognizes the incredible sacrifice of veterans over the decades and how they bring unique insight into complex organizations like airlines.
I’ll have more thoughts on the end of World War I later today.