Transport America recently selected 20-year trucker and Army veteran Russ Cox as the driver of its first Armed Forces Fleet truck.
Cox said he was proud to be selected to drive the truck, which has a custom, Army-themed truck wrap. Cox served for 11 years and was a tank crew member on an M1A1 tank.
Cox, from Cincinnati, Ohio, was also recognized for reaching two million accident-free miles.
“They snuck in the two million mile award at the same time, and I was pretty proud of getting that too,” Cox said. “That was a decent milestone. That wasn’t easy to get.”
Transport America’s Armed Forces Fleet will include five or more trucks, with each truck representing a different branch of the U.S. military. Laura Rahier, Transport America’s director of driver relations, said the goal of the Armed Forces Fleet is to provide recognition for the military and veterans in the trucking industry. Each Armed Forces fleet truck will be assigned to veteran drivers who served in the military branches that those trucks commemorate.
“We want them to feel proud and still feel that sense of connection to the military but yet succeeding in a driver career,” Rahier said.
Cox will drive the Army-wrapped truck as part of Wreaths Across America, helping deliver wreaths to cemeteries where they will be placed on veterans’ graves. This will be Transport America’s second year participating in Wreaths Across America, which relies on the trucking industry to succeed in its mission to deliver holiday wreaths to veterans’ graves across the country and abroad. This will be Cox’s first time delivering a Wreaths Across America load.
“I’m just glad to honor my brothers, no matter what branch they were. I’m just glad I can do something to honor them,” Cox said.
With two million accident-free driving miles and 20 years of experience under his belt, Cox offers some advice for other drivers who are trying to reach their own million-mile milestone – always leave plenty of space.
“Leave yourself space and leave yourself time. That’s a big part of it. Even in a car, if you have enough room in front of you to stop then you’re not going to hit anything,” Cox said.
Cox said he thinks veterans are a good fit for the trucking industry because of the problem-solving and independence they learn through serving.
“It’s results driven. You have you get from here to here, you’ve got this many days to do it, and how you do it is on you. Sometimes things go sideways out there and you’ve got to be able to think your way out of a problem,” he said. “You kind of learn that in the military. You learn to be self-sufficient at times, too.”
The Armed Forces Fleet and Wreaths Across America are the latest examples of Transport America’s initiatives supporting veterans and the military. The fleet is also involved with Beyond The Yellow Ribbon and Troops Into Transportation.