Charlie Dry didn’t come from a military family or have a military veteran in his life to encourage him to serve his country. He was just a young man from Norristown, which is just outside of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, looking for a way to get out of town. In 1994, just a short time before graduating high school, Charlie walked into the US Navy Recruiting Office; walked up to the recruiter and said “I want to get out of this town. What do I need to do to make that happen?” Five days after graduation, he was on his way to boot camp in Chicago, Illinois. Charlie finally got his ticket out of Norristown.
Charlie spent three months in boot camp, then attended school in Fort Benjamin, Indiana, to learn how to run the Naval Post Office. Upon finishing postal service school, at just 19 years old, he was sent to his first duty station in Naples, Italy, for Naval Support Activity (NSA) where he spent the next three years. Before joining the Navy, Charlie had never left the US or even his hometown, and now he was being sent to a beautiful European country.
In 1997, Charlie boarded his first ship, the USS Elrod (FFG 55) out of Norfolk, Virginia, where he was the custodian of postal effects. In this role, he managed money orders and stamp sales, as well as dispatching and organizing of the mail. Charlie was reassigned to Yokosuka, Japan, in 2000 and became the postal officer, assuming the same type of duties as his previous job in Norfolk, but overseeing operations as well. His most memorable moment here was meeting his beautiful wife Ana.
Charlie spent the next four years in Japan and then was transferred to Honolulu, Hawaii, on board the USS Port Royal (CG 73). He spent the next three years in Hawaii as the maintenance and material management system coordinator, which was his first duty station out of the realm of the postal service.
One thing Charlie was proud of while on the USS Port Royal was that he managed the materials so well he was asked to become a Fire Marshall on the ship. Charlie was the first non-engineer to fill this role, which helped him to get outside of his box and learn different skills.
After his time in Hawaii, Charlie went back to Naples, Italy, where he was the systems logistics control officer, starting his career in logistics and learning how to transport materials through air, sea and land. He managed every aspect of materials from 25 ships and where their material was going. He coordinated with foreign nationals to make sure warehousing and lodging were set up. During his second year in this role, he moved five billion pounds of cargo, mail and personnel. Charlie’s proudest moment here was the birth of their first child, a baby girl named Victoria.
In 2010, he found himself back to Norfolk on his third ship, aircraft carrier the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69). On this ship, Charlie was the quality assurance inventory auditor. His role was to make sure the other 13 inside suppliers were doing their jobs properly including paperwork, spot audits and training. During this deployment, Charlie missed the birth of his second child, a baby boy named Lincoln. Although devastated to have missed Lincoln’s arrival into the world, returning home to a new baby boy was very emotional and a joyous occasion.
After a short stint at his final duty station as a logistics support manager back in his home state of Pennsylvania, Charlie approached his wife about moving to Jacksonville, Florida. He had some retired friends that loved the area, and with 80 days of leave before retiring from the Navy, Charlie and his family packed up a 27-foot trailer and headed south with no job or a place to live. He credits his outstanding military career to his devoted and loyal wife, Ana, who has stood by him through multiple deployments and his arduous work schedule.
When arriving in Jacksonville Charlie got a job as a navy production assistant, but soon realized it wasn’t the right fit for him, so he updated his resume and sent one to CORT. Three interviews later, he was offered a job as Assistant Distribution Manager in 2015. Within a year, Charlies was promoted to Distribution/Operations Manager of the Jacksonville District, which is current position.
Throughout his military career, Charlie learned the importance of dedication and integrity. “You learn that your word is like a law-abiding contract. When you say something is going to get done, it will,” said Charlie.
At CORT, he loves the great work environment. Although he is a manager, Charlie has never been someone that sits behind a desk. His coworkers would tell you that he is a ‘roll up your sleeves’ kind of guy that will help get the work done. The military is ever-changing, and Charlie has adopted this mindset at CORT. Since joining the company close to two years ago, he has updated many processes and procedures to make things flow and function better. He puts a strong emphasis on training and has updated training materials that he reviews with his 10 employees weekly. Another reason he loves his job at CORT is that 80 percent of the employees in the Jacksonville District are Veterans and is proud to work alongside them.
During his time in the Navy, Charlie remembers his very first supervisor telling him, “There are two things I need you to do – be on time and do what you’re told.” This is something Charlie has used throughout his civilian career and tells everyone that works for him. “I tell my employees that it is very simple, and if they follow these two things, they’ll love working at CORT.”
Thank you for your service, Charlie.