Patriotic Mutha-Truckers

Phil Briggs
May 29, 2018 - 1:34 pm

Schneider

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So you’re driving down the highway when suddenly you’re passed by a giant eagle pulling back an American flag, revealing images of soldiers, helicopters and battleships, along with the words, “Honoring all who have served” stenciled in giant type.

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What is it? The world’s biggest trick truck? An 18 Wheeler haulin’ 10 tons of whoop-ass?

No, but these mobile, military masterpieces are part of Schneider National’s “Ride of Pride” truck fleet.

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Rob Reich, Schneider National, Senior Vice President and military veteran, described how it got started, “We have what we call the ‘Ride of Pride’ program, which is a program with our partners at Daimler Trucks of North America.  Each year the members of their manufacturing center in North Carolina decorate a truck with a pro veteran theme.”

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With eye popping artwork depicting World War II, Vietnam, Iraq/Afghanistan and POW/MIA, each year their newest truck criss-crosses the country attending special events, recruiting and military events. Afterward, it joins their fleet of signature orange trucks.

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We wanted to know how somebody goes from military service to driving one of the most patriotic rigs on the road, so we asked, Army veteran and 2016 Ride of Pride Driver, Jon Ritscher (above):

CV: When and where did you serve? 

JR: I was in the US Army from October of 2002 to February of 2011. As a petroleum supply specialist 92F, (Fuel Handler), I went to basic training at Fort Knox, KY. and MOS training at Fort Lee, VA. with additional training at Fort Leonard Wood, MOI deployed to Iraq in 2003 to 2004 and again in 2006 to 2007.

CV: Do you have a favorite service story?

JR: Not so much of a story, but the things I remember most are how much those that serve in the military are a family and will always have each other's back, and that we can relate to each other in a very special way.

CV: How did you get into transport industry? 

JR: I enjoyed my time as a Fueler in the Army and I loved working with heavy equipment. And I found myself working at an airport in California after I retired out of the Army, fueling and moving aircraft. Then after my family and I moved to Ohio, a short time later, I got my CDL and I have been on the road ever since. 

CV: How many years have you been driving?

JR: 5 years in July with my CDL and about 15 years total operating heavy equipment.

CV: What do certifications do you have (CDL, Hazmat, etc.)?

JR: Class A CDL, I have the Hazmat, Tanker and Doubles/Triples endorsements.

CV: Do you have a favorite story from driving?

JR: Being able to take part in “Wreaths Across America” is something that I will never forget.

CV: How do you think your military experience has helped you as a driver?

JR: The skills and experience that I learned in my time in the military have helped me so much that I do not know where to start! Learning how to pay attention to know what is happening around you helps you develop situational awareness, which enables you to plan what you are going to do when a quick decision is needed for whatever the case may be: traffic, the ever-changing weather and road conditions or the most difficult situations. The personal responsibility that is given to us as drivers is something that I take great pride in. I am given a mission to deliver the load in the safest and most efficient way possible, so I can go on to the next load and continue to provide for my family. Just like in the military, trucking is like brotherhood. I know that we are all doing our own parts to ensure that the goods and products are delivered to those who need it. 

CV: What's your favorite part of the Ride of Pride paint job on your truck?

JR: The images on my truck representing World War II, Vietnam and Iraq/Afghanistan. I am truly amazed at how it can touch multiple generations. I get to hear people every day, talking about how they have a grandparent that served in WW2 and a parent that served in Vietnam and they served or are still currently serving in the conflicts in Middle East. I also love how the U.S. flag looks on my truck. 

For more on the Ride of Pride trucks check out @rideofpride on Facebook 

For more about Schneider National's employment opportunities for veterans click here

 

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