Here at Atlas, we are honored to support the brave men and women of the U.S. Armed Forces as the largest provider of their passenger and cargo airlift and are proud to work alongside many team members who have served or are serving. Today, we shine a spotlight on a few of our veteran colleagues and their contributions.
Vivian Cordero, 737 First Officer
With a grandfather who served in Vietnam and Korea while in the Army, and a stepfather, aunt and uncle who were all in the Navy, Vivian’s family’s ties to the military are strong.
“My stepfather was actually a Navy pilot and he was the one who took me to see the movie, Top Gun, which had a great impact on me,” said Vivian. “Growing up in a family that was mostly military inspired me to serve, while doing what I was passionate about (aviation).”
Vivian enlisted in the Navy in September of 1998. She was commissioned in November of 2009 and began Navy Flight School. After completing her P-3C Orion training, Vivian was deployed to the Middle East. Atlas Air flew her out for that first deployment.
Throughout her 14-year career in the Navy, Vivian served as a Patrol Plane Commander (PPC) and rose to the rank of Lieutenant while also holding Branch Officer positions for Paraloft and Airframers.
“The interesting thing about pilots in the Navy, is that we also have ground jobs and take on leadership roles,” explained Vivian. “I believe that’s the beauty of the Navy – you have a unique opportunity to expand your network beyond the Officers and not only make connections with those who enlist, but also counsel them and play a role in their career development. It’s one of the reasons I selected P-3s instead of jets. My P-3 crew as a mixture of Officers and enlisted.”
One of Vivian’s proudest moments in her Navy career was when her P-3 crew won Crew of the Year in 2014.
“We were a very cohesive crew after being together for two deployments,” she recalled. “This crew went above and beyond every single time. We won because we had the highest rate of mission completion.”
After separating from the Navy, Vivian found her way to Atlas, just as she set out to do, after seeing the aircraft in various locations while serving.
“It was my goal to one day work for Atlas and I’m so proud to work here,” said Vivian. “We do important work. As former military, I take great pride that we are part of CRAF and that we step up and support communities in times of disaster and need.”
Carl Pitts, Manager of Operations Communications
It was Carl’s grandfather’s military service that inspired him to join the military.
“Watching my grandfather serve in the Coast Guard, showed me that I had a greater purpose – even as a young child. Since then, I’ve always wanted to give back and do something bigger than myself,” said Carl.
Carl joined the U.S. Army in November 2012, serving as a short-range air defender in an infantry unit at Fort Carson, Colorado. In this role, he was responsible for providing the team with a radar view of the sky during convoy operations. He continued to move into a variety of roles before he was accepted into Officer Candidate School (OCS), a 12-week program that prepares recruits for becoming a commissioned officer in the Army, where he graduated first in his class.
After graduation, Carl became a platoon leader at Fort Bliss, Texas in El Paso. He then moved on to become an Executive Officer in the same unit, as part of the 11th Air Defense Artillery Brigade.
In February 2018, Carl separated from the U.S. Army before joining Atlas as a Ground Operations Safety Auditor. He spent five years on the Safety team, before moving to the Corporate Communications department in 2022.
“The transition back to civilian life can be challenging for veterans. Atlas has provided invaluable support to those of us who have served as we begin the next chapter of our careers,” said Carl.
Michael Slifer, Loadmaster Supervisor
Just two days after graduating high school, Michael joined the U.S. Marine Corps, where he served as a KC-130 Loadmaster. His interest in enlisting stemmed from his desire to be challenged and travel the world.
“I wanted a challenge and I wanted to get out of my hometown and see the world,” said Michael. “For someone like me, fresh out high school, joining the Marine Corps met that criteria by allowing me to travel the world and learn a number of valuable skills while doing it.”
During his five-year enlistment, which ended in 2017, Michael had the opportunity to travel to a number of locations across Europe and Africa. It was during those deployments when he was first introduced to Atlas.
“I had seen Atlas planes all over the world when I was in the military,” said Michael. “I remember seeing Atlas cargo and passenger planes on the ramp when I was deployed in Italy and Africa. It made me curious about what the Company did. I started doing some research and eventually found myself applying for a job.”
He continued, “So much of the work that I did in the military translates to the work that I do now at Atlas. I enjoyed my time in the Marine Corps and always felt like if I could transfer those skills into a job on the outside, I’d do it forever.”
Michael notes that seeing the work that the Atlas team performs for the U.S. military up close during his own enlistment has made his time at the Company that much more meaningful.
“Many of the locations that I’ve been to with Atlas are the same places I traveled to when I was deployed as a Marine. Everything from the equipment we fly to the troops we transport – I experienced that firsthand when I was deployed. I’m proud to be a part of the team that provides that support on the other side now.”