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Army veteran continues to serve his country thanks to TCC grant

One-third of TCC’s students are military-related. This week we highlight some of them in honor of Veterans Day, Nov. 11.

When George Brockman talks about running for president one day, it’s hard not to take him seriously.

The Army veteran worked as a nuclear engineer and studied business in Germany. He worked for Northrop Grumman, and he’s studying for both the LSAT and MCAT at the same time. The cabin of his tractor-trailer provides ample space and quiet for that. Because in addition to all of that, Brockman is an operator/owner of his own trucking company.

Trucker George Brockman studies for the LSAT in the cabin of his truck.

He completed an associate degree in truck driving and paid no tuition thanks to earning a scholarship specifically for military-related students looking to transition to a trucking career. Tidewater Community College’s Center for Military and Veterans Education received a sixth consecutive federal grant this fall to help train military veterans and their spouses for careers in trucking.

Brockman chose the trucking path for the same reason he opted to join the military after graduating from Western Branch High in 1993.

“I wanted to serve my country.”

He credits truckers for keeping America moving, noting the critical role of delivering freight during the COVID-19 pandemic. When his sister, a nurse, lamented the lack of tissue and sanitizer at the hospital last spring, Brockman wanted to find a meaningful way to contribute.

“It’s the pandemic that got me into this truck,” he says, pointing to his rig parked at TCC’s Suffolk location, where students complete instruction. “If I’m moving toilet paper and hand sanitizer, I’m helping people.”

Brockman, 45, credits TCC’s trucking program for its thoroughness. “They taught me intensely,” he says. “It’s more than driving; you learn how to make safety checks. Once you learn at TCC,  you can do anything. It’s remarkable — from here, go anywhere.”

Brockman drives up to 70 hours a week and subcontracts his trucks from Advance Transportation Systems. He’s got the cabin set up for him to sleep comfortably and study at night for the LSAT. He doesn’t want to practice law, but he regards himself as a scholar. He’s completed some law course and wants to earn a juris doctor degree purely for the knowledge. Brockman intends to pursue medical school at the University of Virginia after that.

It’s unorthodox, but so is he. He dresses down and carries himself in an unassuming way.

He recommends truck driving to transitioning military members because of the service aspect and the discipline required to be successful at it.

Camaraderie, a natural part of the military mindset, also applies to trucking. Brockman gained another family from his new career. Truckers don’t hesitate to help each other on the road, he said. One anonymous trucker put a $100 bill in his hand a few months ago when he thought Brockman looked as if he needed some help.

“It’s a family inside of a family,” Brockman said. “All nationalities, all origins, male or female; there’s no discrimination. You meet a lot of great people on the road.”

Brockman’s already started his own company, and even after he becomes a doctor one day, he won’t give up trucking completely. “It’s part of who I am, part of my legacy,” he says. “If you’re in the military, it’s because you want to help your fellow citizens. This is another way to do that.”

For special support services for military-related students, visit the CMVE or call 757-822-7645. You can also email

TCC secures another federal grant aimed to help veterans transition to careers in trucking

Tidewater Community College received a sixth federal grant to help train military veterans and their spouses for careers in trucking.

The U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) recently awarded TCC a $66,555 grant, which will be administered by the college’s Center for Military and Veterans Education (CMVE).

“TCC is grateful for the Department of Transportation’s continued support,” said Batanya Gipson, interim director of the CMVE. “Now, more than ever, we understand how important truck drivers are to our communities. The ability to offer military members this grant-funded training is very rewarding.”

According to the American Trucking Association, the United States will be short 175,000 drivers by 2026. A lack of drivers continues to make goods more expensive and delays orders as freight rates are climbing.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average age of a commercial truck driver is 55 years old. A huge percentage of these drivers will retire over the next 10 years.

Thanks to the grant, Navy veteran Richard Sallin completed a Career Studies Certificate in Truck Driving in August 2019. Today, he drives the northeast corridor for Western Express, logging an average of 2,000 miles per week.

“I enjoy it,” he said. “I drive Monday through Friday, and I’m home every weekend.”

Sallin left TCC satisfied with the instruction and impressed with the reputation of TCC’s truck driving program. Coursework qualifies students to obtain their Class A CDL (commercial driver’s license) from the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles.

TCC is one of 16 educational institutions that received funds from the $2 million federal grant to help train veterans for jobs as commercial bus and truck drivers.

Since TCC received its first grant in 2015, 205 veterans and spouses have enrolled in the program.

Recipients of the grant pay nothing to complete the one-semester, 16-credit certificate. Classes are taught at the Center for Workforce Solutions on College Drive in northern Suffolk.

Contact Alesia Wroten, CMVE program coordinator, at or 757-822-7714, for information on qualifying for the grant program.