By Staff Sgt. C. Todd Lopez
WASHINGTON (March 23, 2005) -- Air Force officials recognized FedEx for the company's support to the military during the war on terror with a brief surprise ceremony at the Pentagon on March 22.
Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. John P. Jumper presented Frederick W. Smith, FedEx chief executive officer, with a certificate of appreciation and an Air Force chief of staff medallion.
The general told Mr. Smith Air Force officials recognize the company has gone beyond the call of duty in much of the support it has provided to the military.
"We have a great appreciation for all that FedEx does for us out there," General Jumper said. "We know that you do a lot of things that don't really benefit you economically, and you do it because it's for the troops."
Mr. Smith responded by crediting the many employees of FedEx, citing their pride in serving the military.
"I want you to know I accept this on behalf of the 250,000 men and women who make up the FedEx team," Mr. Smith said. "We are very proud to be a small part of the system that supports you. Our participation ... has always been a great source of pride to us."
Mr. Smith also said businesses like FedEx depend on the freedom and protection the military provides.
"Our company couldn't exist without the security that you provide the world and certainly (to) American interests," he said. "All of us in commercial business appreciate your service and the sacrifices many of you make defending us."
Air Force officials recognized the shipping company for the many efforts it made outside its contractual obligations to the Air Force.
For instance, FedEx began providing shipping services to Iraq in May 2003, even though the company had not provided service to the country before. That work was not part of an Air Force contract until October 2004.
To minimize potential terrorist threats, and outside of any contract specification, Air Force officials requested FedEx use citizens of either America or allied nations to deliver packages in high threat areas. FedEx complied with the request.
Normally, the company would hire personnel from the local population to conduct those deliveries.
Finally, to help the Air Force deliver much needed supplies for both operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom, FedEx agreed to carry what are categorized as "dangerous goods" -- items like batteries and flammables.
The company's willingness to transport such supplies freed up military transport for other uses.