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NEWS | Feb. 5, 2013

Everyone Has a Story: Logistics Soldier finds 'his calling' in the Army

By Senior Airman Jason J. Brown 633rd Air Base Wing Public Affairs

U.S. Army Pfc. Carl Gahry, a transportation management coordinator assigned to Fort Eustis' 689th Rapid Port Opening Element, 833rd Transportation Battalion, 597th Trans. Brigade, said he's fortunate to have found a career path in the U.S. Army - a calling," as he puts it.

The 24-year-old Michigan native said he loves his career, but that it took time to find his path. Gahry attended Western Michigan University prior to enlisting in 2011. While he found no difficulty attending school, he had "no idea" what he wanted to do with his life, and left school to work.

"I was spending upwards of $15,000 a year in college costs, and didn't know what I wanted to do. That wasn't working out," he said. "I tried working a full-time job, but even that wasn't sustainable."

Ever since he was a freshman in high school, Gahry said he thought about serving in the military but was nervous about the commitment. After college and the workforce left him with no better grip on his future plans, he decided to take the oath.

After inquiring about careers in the U.S. Air Force and U.S. Navy, Gahry decided to enlist in the Army, traveling to Fort Benning, Ga., for Basic Combat Training. Upon graduating, he attended Advanced Individual Training at Fort Lee, Va., before receiving orders to Fort Eustis to serve as an Army logistician.

As a transportation management Soldier, Gahry is responsible for planning, coordinating and tracking the movement of people, goods and equipment around the globe.

"We track things being moved using [radio-frequency identification] tags on items, which lets us provide in-transit visibility through the Army's RF-ITV system," he explained.

Gahry chose logistics as a career because he believes his new skills will translate successfully in the private sector and help him better prepare for a civilian career.

"Logistsics is everywhere; everything is moving all the time," he said. "There's always going to be a need for people that can keep those processes moving, keep goods and passengers in transit and keep track of them. Many shipping companies use tracking technologies nearly identical to what we use in the Army."

Gahry said he enjoys everything about his new career, including the basic tenets of being a Soldier such as Warrior Tasks and Battle Drills, and the camaraderie that comes with it.

"There's never a dull moment. I just feel like I fell in love with the principles the Army stands for," said Gahry. "I really bought into the Army values. It's like playing sports -- that brotherhood, that family mindset.

"I think I have some of the best leadership in the Army," he continued. "There are great people that have groomed me as a Soldier, taught me to become better. I'm always asking questions and seeking advice to help me move along through my career."

Sgt. 1st Class Tomekia Branch, Gahry's platoon sergeant, and Sgt. Christopher Hitchman, the assistant platoon sergeant, called Gahry "a self-motivator," admiring his drive to succeed and his desire to find work to do.

"He does normal operations without being told to do so. He takes initiative every day, and can do his job with little to no direct supervision," Hitchman said. "He backtracks, checks his work and understands very clearly what he needs to do before he does it."

"He always comes to me looking for the next step in his career," said Branch, proudly. "He hasn't even put on specialist yet, but he's already looking down the line to sergeant."

Gahry's success and satisfaction with his career has caused him to think differently about his future, shedding light on what was once mired in uncertainty.

"I enlisted to serve four years and get out, hoping to find a job outside with a better understanding of what I wanted to do," he said. "But now that I'm here, I've found my niche. Everything happens for a reason, and I feel like I've found my calling with the Army."