May 23, 2023

Honoring Those Who Served: John Hall

May is National Military Appreciation Month in the United States. MSCI has been celebrating by featuring member company employees — our MSCI Metals Veterans — who have served their country in uniform. Click here to find our past features.

Name: John Hall
Company: Bralco Metals
City and State: Seattle, Wash.
Current Position/Job Title: Outside sales
Military Branch: U.S. Army
Years of Service: 1985-1989
Job/MOS in the military: 98G-Voice Interceptor/Arabic language
Unit and where you were stationed: Fort Campbell, Ky.

I came from a military family where both my parents are Vietnam combat veterans in the U.S. Air Force. They did not hold it against me for choosing the U.S. Army.

While in the U.S. Army, I spent most of my time deployed or in the field and some of the highlights included transitioning from Huey helicopters to the first Blackhawks (lots of bloody noses), putting together our first Humvee from a large crate of parts and rough C-130 landings in the dark.

When I joined the military, it was a time of transition for us as kids to adults and also for the military as a whole. The Vietnam War had ended less than a decade before and defense funding, interest in the military, and recruiting was at a low. My generation of soldiers was redefining what it was to be a professional service member.

We had volunteered for many different personal reasons, but once we were taught to work together as a unit we were definitely greater than the sum of our parts. My squad had literally been together since day one of basic training and it is difficult even 30 years later to find a tighter group of people I could count on — but I have come pretty close at Bralco Metals.

I have been in metals distribution since 1999 and in that time I have been fortunate to work with exemplary people and those who were not. The former category had many of the team-oriented, good-natured professionalism that reminded me of my time in the Army.

What has made working at Bralco seem familiar to my service past was how well we worked together during difficult times. During our careers we have worked through the devastating economic and societal effects of 9/11, the Great Recession, and a worldwide pandemic. Each essentially reset the aerospace industry we serve and required us to rethink how to do business here in Washington State. What makes a good teammate during tough times is resilience, self-confidence, and trust that we can try new methods and find new markets for our products with the support of our co-workers.

I have worked with people with different backgrounds, but once you enter the aerospace industry in any capacity the joke/truism is that you will never leave. I find that comforting, but it also can be a barrier for some people to ever find a career path in metals distribution. The advocacy of MSCI in DEI initiatives is very important for us to find future employees and open up what could be a “closed” industry for non-manufacturing minded young people to see themselves in our offices and warehouses.

Thank you for your service, John! Remember to share these stories on social media using #MSCIMetalVets and to join the Military Appreciation Month conversation on MSCI’s Community Forum.

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