We love that our employees get to work for a bigger cause and be a part of something greater than themselves—both in regards to the supply chain and the charitable actions Dot carries out in our communities.
In honor of Veterans Day and celebrating the service and sacrifice of veterans everywhere, we wanted to share some Dot veteran stories with you—starting with out veteran founder Robert Tracy (RT).
Dot Founder Robert Tracy
Dot’s co-founder, Robert Tracy (RT), honorably served our country during World War II. He enlisted in the Marine Corps on December 7, 1942. Writer ________ of Dot’s newest history book, Of Small Towns and Big Dreams, said it best:
RT was eventually ordered to the Navy’s V-12 College Training Program in South Bend, Indiana. The program’s goal was to produce officers, but RT didn’t care about that; he wanted to fight. RT became a regular presence in his captain’s office, asking for a transfer to active duty. Finally, in 1944, he was on his way to sea aboard the transport ship USS General Omar Bundy.
Joining the Marines was “my ticket to travel around the world,” said RT, in his uniform. RT was initiated into the Navy’s Sons of Neptune after his first crossing of the equator on the USS General Omar Bundy. The GI Bill helped pay for RT’s degree from the University of Illinois-Champaign.
Thanks to RT’s legacy service—both in the Marines and in business—and his dedication to honoring veterans, we continue to diligently honor military veterans and have increased our veteran hiring tenfold in the last 10 years.
In 1984 during his junior year of high school, Terry joined the Oklahoma National Guard as a motor transport operator. He joined the Army Guard hoping to find a career and to help with funding college later. That following summer, before his senior year, Terry left for Fort Dix in New Jersey where he spent 10 weeks going through Basic Combat Training.
Upon graduation from high school, he went to Fort Dix to complete seven weeks of Advanced Individual Training.
Terry shares that he is grateful for his time in the service.
“It instilled in me a sense of discipline and the initiative to try—you can achieve whatever you set your mind to,” said Terry.
Terry explained that his time of service developed other skills like attention to detail, patience, and punctuality. It also provided him with specialized skills and training in everything from land navigation to marksmanship to specialized vehicle driving.
Terry first deployed with the Oklahoma National Guard to Exercise Campaign Reforger (from return of forces to Germany) Reforger 86 – “Certain Sentinel.” It was an annual exercise and campaign conducted during the Cold War by the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). The task was intended to ensure that NATO could quickly deploy forces to West Germany in the event of a conflict with the Warsaw Pact. It was after this experience that Terry decided to transition into the active-duty Army and, in the summer of 1986, was reassigned to Ferris Barracks as part of the First Armored Division in Erlangen, Germany.
Terry & Trucking
While in Germany, Terry learned the art of transporting heavy equipment. He was challenged by the terrain in that part of the world, as he had to utilize tank trails and one-lane gravel roads through mountains and small villages throughout the German countryside. This unique experience helped him develop outstanding defensive driving skills that flowed naturally into his CDL training, driver safety training, and Smith Systems defensive driving.
In 1989, Terry was reassigned to the 8th Ordinance 82nd Airborne Division in Fayetteville, North Carolina, and then transitioned out of the Army in 1990. Terry went immediately to truck driving and, over the next 16 years, served as a truck driver in many capacities. He was an owner-operator, company driver, and the director of training of the Ardmore Truck Driving School before he joined Dot Transportation, Inc. (DTI).
In June of 2006, Terry joined the Dot family as a Customer Delivery Specialist at Dot Foods Oklahoma. It didn’t take long for Terry to get acquainted with Dot, and in just a couple years, Terry became a driver trainer.
Piece of History
Terry’s most memorable time in the service was when he was exploring Germany and visiting most of its regions. He also was in Germany when the Berlin Wall fell—this was significant for him since he had visited it not too long before it fell.
Warren Freeman was raised in Springfield, Massachusetts. In his own words, Freeman describes Springfield as the “birthplace of basketball.” After high school, Freeman worked miscellaneous jobs. Then, in his early twenties, he decided that he wanted to do something different. He wanted to serve his country, to be part of something and to see the world.
Freeman joined the Army in the spring of 1992 as an infantryman. He reported to Ft. Benning, Georgia, near Columbus, Georgia, for Basic Training and his Infantry Advanced Individual Training where he learned the skills required to fulfill his duties as an infantryman for the Army.
Upon completion of his training, Freeman took leave while in route to his next assignment to go back to Springfield where he was getting married to his wife, Sonia. After two short weeks with his new bride, Freeman had to report to one of the most austere locations in the military. He was assigned to Alpha Company, 4th Battalion of the 27th Infantry Division the “WolfHounds” in Schofield Barracks in Oahu, Hawaii.
As a light infantryman, Freeman was asked about going to Air Assault School, but he turned it down because he was afraid of heights. It was at that moment that he realized he couldn’t turn it down—he was going. Freeman reported to Air Assault School on Schofield Barracks, where he was instructed to conduct airmobile and air assault helicopter operations while including aircraft orientation, sling load operations, proper rappelling techniques, and fast-rope techniques.
The course is known as the 10 toughest days in the Army, and the dropout rate is around 50 percent. Approximately 15 percent of the class does not make it through the challenging first “Zero” day. The school also requires students to complete a 12-mile march with a 35-pound rucksack in under three hours on the morning of graduation. Warren describes his graduation from the Air Assault Course and presentation of the coveted Wings as one of his proudest and most rewarding moments.
In January 1996, Warren was retrained as a military police officer with a specialty in corrections. He was sent to Ft. McClellan near Anniston, Alabama, where he would learn the finer details of daily operations of a correctional facility. After school Warren was assigned to the United States Disciplinary Barracks in Ft. Leavenworth, Kansas. During his tenure there, he would go from team member to team leader and eventually become the watch commander at the facility. During that same time, he would do four separate year-long stints overseas. Twice he served at the U.S. Army Correctional Activity-Korea in Camp Humphries, South Korea. In addition, he served twice with the 189th Military Police Company of the 525th Military Police Battalion in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
Freeman retired from the Army after 26 years of service in March of 2018 and looks back on his time with pride. He said he is most grateful for the opportunity it provided him to have served his country and to provide for his family.
Turning to Truck Driving
Once Freeman retired, he found himself looking for a second career, and he turned to truck driving. He joined the DTI family in April 2018. Freeman relates how the military prepared him for truck driving by instilling a sense of initiative.
He described it as, “If you see something that needs to be done—you just do it. You don’t wait for someone to tell you to.”
He feels that DTI has the same expectation for their truck drivers.
“Dispatch provides the driver with the basic instruction and lets them figure out how to execute. It’s up to the driver to figure out how to skin that cat—so to speak,” Freeman said.
Like a lot of young people Robby’s age during the early 2000s, he was profoundly affected by the events of September 11, 2001. Robby decided to join the Army in January 2003 and went through Basic Training where he learned how to be a soldier. He then progressed to Advanced Individual Training where he learned the finer skills of being a Combat Engineer at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri.
Robby described the job in the modern military as “providing mobility, counter mobility, and survivability.”
“Soldiers with this specialty have many different experiences,” said Robby. “For me it meant conducting route clearance. Route clearance is clearing a roadway or path of suspected explosives or hazards (commonly known as IEDs) for friendly troops or civilians so that they can maneuver freely. We were provided with equipment and vehicles to detect these hazards, but the best tool we had was our eyes. If we weren’t on foot, we traveled in Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) type vehicles with V-shaped armored hulls to protect us from explosions.”
After graduation, Robby was assigned to six different locations over the next 14 years.
Robby deployed with each of his assigned units and conducted operations in numerous Middle Eastern locations. His deployment of 2009 was especially memorable, as his unit did an in-theater transfer—meaning all unit personnel and equipment transferred from one area in the combat zone to another within the same theater of operations. The mere act of this transfer adds countless logistical challenges as it stretches assets even though they are already at maximum capacity. But the need outweighed the challenges due to the increased threat and demand for troops at the different location at that time.
Robby’s Time as a Drill Sergeant
Robby describes the time he served as a drill sergeant from 2010 to 2012 at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri, as his most memorable time in the service.
“At the time, it seemed like the worst days of my life,” explained Robby. “Between balancing a maximum of 4 hours of sleep a night, losing your voice weekly, and having loaded weapons pointed in your general direction by fellow soldiers who have never held a firearm in their life, it was a wild ride. In hindsight, it taught me 90 percent of what I know as an adult and was the best time of my life.”
Dot’s Values & Camaraderie
When asked how Dot relates to his military time, Robby replied, “The Core Values from the Army are loyalty, duty, respect, selfless service, honor, integrity, and personal courage. In my eyes, all of these have a relation to how Dot operates every single day. Also, like the military, Dot employees care for one another. I feel this builds camaraderie and makes it possible for us to work together as a team, and in result, our company to be successful.”
Robby explained how being put in adverse environments taught him resiliency and how that prepared him for his career at Dot. He went on to say that when he’s faced with tough decisions or thinks he’s having a rough day, he remembers how easy it is to bounce back from them and appreciate the little things that most often are taken for granted. Robby declared that it was the military that instilled a high sense of discipline in him, and credits them for shaping and developing him into the person he is today.
Overall, we value our veterans and the skills you bring to the table. As the President of Dot Transportation, Inc. (DTI) Paul Mugerditchian says, “Dot Foods and DTI are fortunate to employ veterans in all areas of our business. We want to recognize their service and sacrifice—and that of all members of the military everywhere.”
Are you a current Dot employee who is a proud veteran or proud of the support Dot provides veterans?
How to Get Dot Veteran Apparel
- Visit www.DotFoods.com/dotlogoshop
- Enter your employee number as the username
- Enter dotfoods as the password
- Visit the veteran category on the left
- Place an order and wear it proudly!