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SCTL Scholarship Awarded to Caitlin Myers

SCTL Scholarship Awarded to Caitlin Myers
SCTL Scholarship Awarded to Caitlin Myers
20220425   //   

April 25, 2022 — The Master of Supply Chain Transportation & Logistics program (MSCTL) has named incoming student and U.S. Air Force Executive Officer Caitlin Myers as the recipient of the $10,000 2022 SCTL Scholarship, selected from this year’s pool of applicants for admission.

Caitlin currently serves in the U.S. Air Force as as an executive officer for 317th Maintenance Group, where she leads multi-functional teams to respond to higher headquarter inquiries, participates in strategic maintenance planning, and manages evaluations, quarterly awards, and promotion packages for 760 Air Force service members. She previously served as aircraft maintenance officer-in-charge for the 75th Expeditionary Airlift Squadron, and both assistant officer-in-charge and flight commander for the 317th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron (AMXS), out of Dyess Air Force Base in Texas.

Caitlin’s work in the Horn of Africa managing the maintenance team, logistics, and repair of deployed C-130J fleet in support of U.S. military operations earned her the General Lew Allen Officer of the Year 2021 Award, an Air Mobility Command (AMC) level annual award that recognizes the accomplishments of base-level officers and senior NCOs (non-commissioned officers) directly involved in sortie generation. Her home unit was nominated for the AMC David C. Shilling Award in 2021.

Myers graduated from the United States Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colorado, with a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Political Science with a focus on International Relations.

We connected with Myers to discuss her background, the award, and enrolling in the MSCTL program.

SCTL: What were the past two years like for you?

Myers: When I arrived at my first duty station, I was not prepared for the world I was entering into, and about 6 months later, our supply chains were drastically affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. While I watched the entire world shut down from this, the C-130J aircraft mission only increased in demand. We had to find ways to transport COVID patients safely without endangering the health of our crews and maintaining our normal missions. The aircraft I manage lands into austere environments, making it effective in humanitarian missions. From natural disaster relief to the transportation of Afghan refugees, our planes are the reason countries without prepared runways can receive doctors, vaccines, food, water, and a multitude of other lifesaving items. The military had to find a way to combat COVID not just in our personal health but also in the supply chain constraints because without our mission success, people across the globe suffer.

Less than a year after the COVID pandemic began, I was tasked with a deployment to Africa with the primary mission of Lifesaving Casualty Evacuations, while also providing the only airlift for troop and cargo delivery into our forward operating bases. Due to the constant need to fly personnel and cargo both in and out of theater, our planes need to be mission ready at all times; unfortunately, when you fly them every day for long durations of time, planes begin to break more frequently. While Camp Lemonnier, Djibouti, maintains its own supply shop with some C-130J assets in theater, you cannot predict the nature in which an aircraft will break and what parts will be required to return the aircraft to mission capable.

Getting parts into Africa takes an immense amount of coordination, and our mission cannot afford to have one aircraft grounded until parts arrive. Prior to COVID, transporting parts and equipment was difficult, considering Africa is the second-largest continent — but when you add a global pandemic to the mix, it makes the logistics behind a supply chain much more complex. Due to the demands we had to meet in Africa, we could not wait on assets to assign from DLA in the standard operating procedure. We communicated to U.S. Air Force’s Europe to get entities pulled from kits already in Europe and flown into Africa on normal resupply missions, reducing the Estimated Delivery Date (EDD) from a month to either days or a week as well as decreasing the overall footprint to get parts in-country. This drastically decreased our Non-Mission Capable Time and ensured we could fulfill Joint Military Operations throughout the Horn of Africa.

SCTL: Who influenced your career path?

Myers: During my deployment, I had the privilege of working with a Marine unit in Djibouti, Africa. Chief Warrant Officer Marlon, who was in charge of the Marine maintenance unit, spent a lot of time mentoring me. He shared his experiences and his love for the industry as well as teaching me how to be an effective leader, and actually shifted my mindset and made me realize I wanted to continue in the industry. He encouraged me to get my Master’s and to always find ways to advance my education.

SCTL: What do you enjoy about working in the global logistics industry?

Myers: I think the Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) is such a great way to begin a career in the SCTL industry because everything we do has to operate in a global capacity. This industry within the military has an incredible network of people. I’ve found the best mentors to advance my career to the next level as well as spending time on the flightline, hanging out with the maintainers and getting to meet people from all over our country that have come from different walks of life. It has been an incredible experience and I feel that my career is so unique compared to my peers who are in different professions, but it has also been met with challenges that not many people understand.

SCTL: What made you decide to pursue a Master’s degree?

Myers: As stated above, Chief Warrant Officer Marlon was a huge influence in my education and after deploying December 2020 – May 2021, I came back and went to work as an Executive Officer for my Group Commander. When we did our initial feedback, he encouraged me to pursue more education and the longer I waited, the more difficult it would be to get back into an academic setting. I began searching and came across the University of Washington’s Master of Supply Chain Transportation & Logistics program and knew I wanted to apply to the program.

SCTL: What first drew you to the University of Washington Supply Chain Transportation & Logistics Master’s degree program in particular?

Myers: Graduating college, I had no grasp on how in-depth supply chain logistics goes and the global impacts. I want to expand my knowledge past the Defense Logistics Agency and into the wholesale competitive market as well as gain a broader scope of the different approaches past the military market to consumer markets.

I researched countless programs across the country for supply chain logistics. I probably spent two months of continual research and going through each program’s curriculum. I found the University of Washington Master’s degree in Supply Chain Transportation & Logistics program later in my research, but instantly became intrigued. The other programs seemed to have an introductory approach and I liked that this one had a STEM approach which was lacking in other programs. I want to be challenged and felt the University of Washington’s SCTL program would exceed my expectations. Since applying to the program, my many positive interactions with the faculty and their continual support of military students reaffirmed my excitement to be part of this program.​

SCTL: Who influenced your career path?

Myers: This is 100% a true story… I used a magic 8-ball to choose my career for me. Most of my role models and mentors came from other career fields so I cannot say I had someone influencing me to become a Maintenance Officer. At the Air Force Academy, most cadets dream of becoming a pilot (I imagine everyone reading this is super shocked). When you submit your job “dream sheet,” certain jobs are categorized as “rated” career fields, pilots being one of those careers. Rated careers will automatically move into your number 1 position if selected. My list was: 1. Maintenance Officer (Non-Rated) 2. Intelligence Officer (Non-Rated) 3. Pilot (Rated).

Unfortunately, we have a pilot shortage, so as long as you were medically cleared, you got a pilot position (this changes year-to-year based on demand). So there I was, in a predicament on whether I should put pilot in my list knowing I would likely get the job and it was the final day to submit preferences. I had spent the month praying and seeking advice from close friends but just to validate my thoughts, I shook the Magic 8-Ball and asked it if I should put pilot in my dream sheet and it came back with “My Sources Say No.” I took that as God’s sign and never looked back.

SCTL: What are you looking forward to over the next two years in the program?

Myers: I am excited to meet new people and expand my network within the industry as well as hear their experiences within SCTL. Over the next two years, I am excited to apply the experiences and knowledge I gain in the program to my current job and use it to help me transition to a new job outside of the Department of Defense.

SCTL: What do you hope to do after you graduate?

Myers: My fiancée separated from Active Duty Air Force to fly for Delta Airlines. We are relocating to the Salt Lake area and I will be stationed at Hill Air Force Base. I hope to apply what I learn throughout the Master’s program to my line of work in the Air Force. When my contract with the Air Force is complete, I would like to work as a project manager in Park City or work with Northrup Grumman in the Salt Lake City area.

Learn more:
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About the Master of Supply Chain Transportation & Logistics degree program: A work-compatible hybrid online program, the Master of Supply Chain Transportation & Logistics (MSCTL) degree is designed to enable early- and mid-career professionals to advance in their careers. Our innovative curriculum provides students with a 360-degree view of all aspects of supply chain and logistics — facility design, inventory management, data analysis, risk, IT systems, business strategy, freight transport, and performance management — so students graduate ready to make evidence-based decisions and navigate complex real-world problems.