VMSI loves veterans, and with Valentine’s Day right around the corner, we figured that February would be a great month to spotlight one of our awesome female veteran employees! Brittney Perry is a decorated US Air Force veteran and VMSI Acquisition Specialist, who assists our team in Mississippi with correcting and closing out contracts for prosthetics for the veteran community.
Name: Brittney “McLovin” Perry
Branch: Air Force
Years of Service: 11
Awards/Medals: Meritorious Unit Award, Air Force Outstanding Unit Award with one oak leaf cluster, Air Force Good Conduct Medal with two oak leaf clusters, National Defense Service Medal, Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, and Air Force Expeditionary Service Ribbon with Gold Border
Brittney originally joined the Air Force for education benefits after losing a full ride scholarship during her first semester in college. While she may have joined for the benefits, Brittney says that what she gained throughout her career was far more than she ever dreamed possible. Brittney was the first in her family to join the service, followed closely by her brother in 2009. Throughout her 11 years of service, Brittney met many people from all walks of life. Many coworkers became friends, and many friends became family. In fact, she met her wonderful husband while serving in Texas. In what sounds like an Air Force fairytale, he flew C-130s and she was a sucker for his flight suit and muscles. The rest, as they say, is history.
Brittney served as part of logistics squadrons while in the military, and also served as the security program manager at all of her duty stations. While stationed in New Mexico, Brittney worked at a Bare Base, learning how to set up new deployment locations, including erecting buildings for new bases in deserted locations. The best forklift driver in the area, Brittney’s Chief would routinely come find her when assets needed to be moved in a hurry. Later, she was stationed in Hawaii for a Regional Supply Squadron, validating requisitions for the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Air Expeditionary Force operations project. There Brittney supported 379 aircraft/884 engines throughout the Pacific Air Force region.
In Abilene, Texas, Brittney worked on the flight line ordering parts for the C-130 aircraft, which quickly became her favorite cargo plane. The flight line is where she picked up her radio call name “McLovin” (her maiden name was Loving, and the Superbad movie was newly released, she says). The maintainers made coming to work so much fun for Brittney. She moved sections, often cleaning up processes and making sure sections were maintaining standards. She also managed the turn-in of repairable/re-usable parts for C-130. She implemented a new system for accountability/inventory and created stock numbers for unlisted items, ensuring 100% accountability for classified and unclassified assets across two bases. She also managed and researched loss on capital assets for 161 equipment accounts. Importantly, Brittney brought in a new computer program to document control, and in less than 90 days brought accountability to all sections in supply, bringing delinquent documents from 4,000 to zero!
Additionally, Brittney supervised the training of 230 equipment custodians for 161 equipment accounts for Dyess AFB and Ft. Hood Army base and maintained the security clearance listing for signing classified assets at Dyess.
Passionate both professionally and personally, Brittney served as part of the resiliency team for her flight, providing training and guidance in physical wellness, social activities, family, peer and mentor support, and spiritual health. She was also part of the SARC (Sexual Assault Response Coordinator) team, assisting men and women who experienced sexual assault in the military to officially report the assault or seek counseling options. She also participated as a member of the Honor Guard, playing TAPS at funerals and memorial services. In 2011, Brittney was selected to be the lead trumpet player for the Air Force Tops in Blue. She traveled around the world for nine months playing her trumpet, and even got to meet the Tuskegee Airmen and hear their stories in person!
Brittney visited many amazing locations and made many memories while in the service. Once, while on tour with Tops in Blue, she was performing a show at her duty station and all of her family and friends were in attendance. In the middle of the show, Brittney was supposed to walk from a 7-foot raised platform, down a set of stairs, and onto the front of the stage. On this occasion, a metal plate and rails on the platform were not covered and tightened down so she tripped over the plate and toppled, rails, trumpet and all, seven feet to the floor below! Embarrassed and injured, she immediately jumped up and went back on set to finish the show. After the performance and finally able to go to the Emergency Room, Brittney was diagnosed with a concussion, broken wrist and injured back. Additionally, she was asked to play TAPS on her trumpet for a December 7 USS Arizona memorial service in Hawaii, which was a moving experience and one she will never forget.
Not all fun and games, Brittney realizes how lucky she is to have gone home safely to friends and family after a tour in Afghanistan. In 2011, her base was attacked from the mountains and two soldiers lost their lives. She flew back to the US on the cargo plane with those two soldier’s caskets, humbled by the sacrifice they made in service to their country.
Brittney’s transition tips for veterans are, emphatically, education, education, education! She wants all veterans to prepare for their transition from military service well in advance, both financially and with regard to the job market. She watched many people return home, only to find that jobs in the area were not what they had hoped or that resume building proved difficult. Finding a DAV representative to help with any medical disability claims is also at the top of her tips list. Equally as important: maintaining good contact with former supervisors, coworkers or anyone who can be a good reference.
Thanks, Brittney, for your service and sharing your story with the #VMSIFamily! You could be the next veteran featured in our ongoing monthly series VetSpot, so check your email for an invitation from Paige Meade, Marketing and Proposal Director, and stay tuned!