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“It was scary not knowing what was going on the first night of the bombing raid.”

More than two decades have passed, but Army veteran, Brian Smith is still able to vividly recall his close encounter with death during Operation Desert Storm. 

“The building next to us got hit and everybody thought they were going to die, it was kind of crazy.”  

At the time, Brian was putting his life on the line for our country and the stakes were high since the repeated bombings showed no signs of stopping. 

“Who knows, it could have been headed towards us,” Brian said of the close strike that resulted in fatalities in the neighboring building.  

Brian described the tension intertwined with being stationed overseas for a couple of months during Operation Desert Storm.  His return home was a somber experience he said he will never forget, as one of the men on his unit had fallen during the operation. Engraved in his mind is the image of the fellow soldier’s boots and helmet returning to the U.S.    

“I have some recollections of stuff there… but it’s one of those things that I’ve tried to put a lot of it out of my mind.”

Brian’s journey in the Army began at Basic Training in Oklahoma before he was stationed at Fort Riley, Kansas, where he stayed for four years.  With an “old-school MOS” that doesn’t exist anymore, Brian was trained as a Field Artillery Surveyor, and was able to skillfully record field data and survey points for artillery. 

Brian’s technical skills transferred well outside of the military.  After being discharged, he became a mechanic, a profession he would spend 19 years mastering.  It wasn’t until the economy took a turn in 2009 that Brian had to look towards other job options.

 The Great Recession had taken a toll on Brian and he started to head down a dark path.  

His father-in-law, a Vietnam veteran, noticed he needed direction, and took him aside to show him an ad for truck driving school listed in the paper. 

Brain’s background as a mechanic gave him an advantage and he knew the skills and commitment needed for truck driving.  He followed the advice of his father-in-law and completed his eight weeks of school, got his CDL, but didn’t know which company to turn to after graduating.

That’s when CRST stepped up to the plate.  Brian had a range of choices but says the recruiter for CRST stood out the most compared to others.  

“I liked him and his attitude, so I joined CRST and been there ever since.” 

Brian found his path with CRST and continues to serve and sacrifice for his country as he completes his routes.

“A lot of what the military did was prepare me for life…it made me grow up…I had to become a man.” 

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