NORFOLK, Va. —
In 2014, Logistics Specialist 2nd Class Brandi Maddox was looking for a new career.
The Detroit, Michigan native was busy raising her two children and working long hours as a temp for an office supply company. She was looking for something steady and solid, a job she could leverage into a career.
She was three classes shy of earning her associate’s degree when she was notified she had official Individual Augmentee deployment orders to Camp Lemonnier, Djibouti, Africa.
Maddox said it was a mission that would change her life.
“My first tour to Djibouti is the main reason I fell in love with logistics back in 2014,” she said. “I’ve been working in the field on the civilian side ever since. If it wasn’t for that first tour, I would’ve never found my lifetime career.”
In Djibouti, Maddox was a vital part of the seven-person CLDJ N3L Cargo Handling Unit, an around-the-clock core group of logistics specialists responsible for ensuring timely delivery of mission-critical parts and equipment to Military Sealift Command vessels for follow-on distribution to U.S. Navy ships.
The challenging, relentlessly high-tempo year-long assignment earned her the job experience to secure a new civilian career after returning home.
Maddox is now a civilian logistics and customer service representative handling logistics for materials imported from Japan, Thailand and Spain via ocean liner, and completes accounting procedures for international customers. She is also responsible for completing and verifying shipping transactions, and paying freight and import charges for international shipments.
“I'm lucky that I'm a logistics specialist in the Navy and I’m lucky to work in logistics in the civilian world as well,” she said. “Things that I learn from the civilian side can always be applied to help me on the military side, and vice versa.”
Now in her eighth year in the Reserve, Maddox is deployed again — this time as a lead fuel accountant for Expeditionary Fuels Detachment, assigned to Commander, Task Group 56.3, Navy Expeditionary Logistics Support Group Forward, Bahrain.
“It’s my daily job to maintain accountability of all the fuel that we have on hand while working as a contact point between the Defense Logistics Agency and the Navy,” she said.
While acknowledging the difficulties of a dual career, Maddox said the benefits far outweigh the challenges.
“In my eyes, those of us that are Reservists are very fortunate,” she said. “Yes, it can sometimes be difficult to balance both worlds. But when we successfully pull it off, it is the best. It's a wonderful feeling to have two careers you love and can be proud of.”