When Bob Vinson graduated from high school in his hometown of Hagerstown, Maryland, like many new graduates, he wasn’t quite sure what he wanted to do with his life. That was until he met a Marine Corps recruiter in 1971 that convinced this young 18-year-old man to join the military.
Initially, Bob thought he would serve his four years and then move on to another career. However, once he joined and went through all of the training, he decided to make a career out of it and dedicated the next 22 years to serving his country.
As the first one in his family to serve in the military, Bob did a tour in Vietnam in the Infantry and then moved on to aviation supply. When he returned to the states in 1972 he was stationed at Camp Lejeune and then New River, North Carolina, for five years, until he was transferred to Okinawa, Japan, from 1977 to 1978. In 1982, he attended recruiting school at Camp Pendleton in California. He reported for recruiting duty in Mansfield, Ohio, that same year. Bob moved back to New River, North Carolina, in 1986 where he stayed for the next three years. In 1989, he was transferred to New Orleans until 1993 when he retired from the military.
Bob’s last eight years of service were in the Marine Corps’ warehousing division as warehouse chief where he was in charge of millions of dollars of equipment.
What Bob learned most from his service in the Marine Corps was leadership and being on time. “When you are leading a team, whether in the military or in civilian life, you have to learn how to adapt to different personalities and the different work ethic among your group.” Bob also believes that no matter what role or position you are within a company, you should never put yourself above others.
Recruiting for the Marines helped bring Bob out of his shell and learn to be more comfortable with face-to-face interactions. As the production leader for CORT’s Trade Show & Events division, Bob regularly puts his leadership and interaction skills to the test. Whether it’s working closely with the sales team to pull together products for a trade show, or working with his staff to make sure they have the product the client needs, and then getting it to the customer on schedule!
Bob fondly remembers the camaraderie that military life gave him. “It truly is like a band of brothers. You look out for each other.” He stays in contact with two friends from the military that both live in Colorado. They talk two-to-three times a month and get together in person about once a year.
Back in ’71, Bob wasn’t quite sure what to do with his life, but looking back he knows he made the right choice. He is grateful for what the military taught him and for making him a better person.
Thank you for your service, Bob!