From Bradleys to BAMS, It’s Been Quite A Ride For This Former Infantryman
Ask Joe Fleming about his job and his employer, and his enthusiasm is infectious. “I’ve only been with the company for a short time, but so far, Northrop Grumman has done so much for me, has made me feel really at home, and has placed me on a great team working on BAMS,” said Fleming, a software development and integration engineer for Aerospace Systems in Bethpage, N.Y.
The Greenville, N.C., native joined his state’s Army National Guard unit during his sophomore year at East Carolina University. He spent the following summer in basic training and advanced individual training (AIT), completed a short deployment in the U.S. – and was sent to Iraq for 10 months.
“I was an 11B – an infantryman – so I spent all my days on the ground with the 30th North Carolina Brigade,” he recalled. “We were attached to the First Infantry Division as well as the 25th. As a mechanized unit we used Bradley Fighting Vehicles – I spent a lot of time inside these units. “I’m six foot seven, and the Bradley is not that big,” he noted. “I was also carrying a load of material and weapons. So, I started getting a lot of back problems while I was stationed in Iraq. When I returned the problem got worse and I sought attention from the VA.”
Fleming resumed his college studies and graduated in May 2008 from East Carolina. He spent several months “working at the beach” and relocated to Colorado the following autumn. “I was interning for an organization there called the National Homeland Defense Foundation, whose president, Don Addy, gave me a plethora of great contacts with defense companies,” said Fleming. One of those contacts was to a career coach, Kimberly Hessler, who in turn referred him to Duane Hardesty, Northrop Grumman’s lead Operation Impact champion.
Hardesty encouraged Fleming to keep applying to the company Careers website. Fleming also learned that he was eligible for hire through Operation Impact. “For more than two months, before I had my morning coffee that website was the first place I went every day,” he said. “I wanted to work for Northrop Grumman because of its reputation, what they do for veterans, what they do to protect our country, and the future outlook for Northrop Grumman’s products and services. “BAMS will have amazing capabilities,” he added. “I’m thrilled to be part of this program!”