Veterans Day and the Fascinating History of Logistics

Today and every day we salute our veterans—the hard-working, self-sacrificing men and women who have risked everything to serve our country. We owe them a debt of gratitude for the freedoms they’ve secured for us, today on Veterans Day and on every day. In addition, the logistics industry owes its very existence to veterans. Did you know that the supply chain industry was initially started by soldiers?

Logistics and the Military

For as long as wars have had organized military campaigns, soldiers have needed supplies. How do they get food, shelter, tools and medical supplies to the front lines? Simple: by maintaining a supply chain. Since before Roman times, the most successful armies have been led by logistics geniuses. The great Carthaginian commander, Hannibal—one of the greatest strategic minds of all time—is said to have inadvertently taught the Romans logistics during the Punic Wars, as a result of his successful campaigns against them. The word itself, “logistics” is adapted from a Latin word borrowed from the Greek “logistikos,” meaning “skilled in calculating.” And boy does it take skill in calculating to smoothly get a product from raw materials all the way down the chain to the consumer.

Veterans in our Industry Today

Even with ancient origins, it wasn’t until the World Wars that the logistics/supply chain revolution occurred. Veterans returned home from enormous military efforts with expertise to create, organize, and manage complicated supply chains. These men and women applied their skills to many industries, and some changed the field forever. Would you believe that FedEx was founded by a Vietnam War vet? Captain Frederick Smith served two tours of duty in Vietnam before becoming the CEO of Federal Express. And he’s not the only one—there are many veterans today who return from battle to build businesses, challenge the status-quo, and impact the world for the better.

Shaun Rothwell, ShipCaddie Founder and CEO, is one of those veterans. He served in the U.S. Army for 8 years before leaving to help the private sector optimize shipping and logistics while cutting costs. Under his leadership we continue to reach out to support veteran-owned businesses with their supply chain needs.

We are proud to support all our veterans and to honor them and their families for what they’ve accomplished. We’re proud of Shaun, honored to work with veteran-owned companies like Fred Smith’s FedEx, and proud of each and every serviceman and woman who has given us their all.

May God bless our veterans and patriots, and may God bless America!