Military Times Foundation Names Veteran Marine Corps Captain Frederick W. Smith as 2024 “Veteran of the Year”

After four years of service in the Marines, including two tours of duty in Vietnam, Capt. Smith founded FedEx. Smith has supported memorials and museums that recognize the service and sacrifice of our armed forces, while providing scholarships to service families and employment opportunities for veterans.

ARLINGTON, VA., February 22, 2024 – Military Times and the Military Times Foundation and have selected veteran Marine Captain Frederick W.  Smith as their 2024 “Veteran of the Year.”  Founded in 2001, the Military Times’ Service Member of the Year program honors outstanding military members from each branch of service who have demonstrated exemplary military service going beyond the call of duty.

Frederick W. Smith, Founder and Executive Chairman of FedEx Corporation, embodies a legacy steeped in service, leadership, and a commitment to excellence. Born in Mississippi and raised in Memphis, Tennessee, Smith entered Yale to pursue a degree in economics in 1962. After graduating from Yale in 1966, he served four years in the U.S. Marine Corps, which included two tours of duty in Vietnam. Smith’s valor and dedication shone brightly during this time in the Marine Corps, where he served as a rifle platoon leader, a company commander and aerial observer/tactical air controller in the OV-10A.

A few years after completing his military service in 1970, he launched the original air-ground Federal Express network to serve the rapidly growing high-tech, high-value-added sectors of the economy. From a tiny startup in 1973 with just 14 airplanes which delivered 186 packages its first night, FedEx has since grown into a $90 billion global enterprise that serves more than 220 countries and territories.

In Smith’s words: “What I learned in the Marines has stuck with me for all these years. When people ask what principles have guided me since I started FedEx, my answer is the leadership tenets I learned in the Marine Corps during my service in Vietnam.”

Throughout its 50-year history, Smith has ensured FedEx supports nonprofit organizations that help our men and women transitioning from the military and their families to find meaningful careers, continue their education, or start their own businesses. Additionally, Smith and FedEx have supported the memorials and museums nationally that recognize and remember the service and sacrifice of our armed forces. He served as co-chairman of both the U.S. World War II Memorial project and the campaign for the National Museum of the Marine Corps.

Months after stepping down as FedEx’s President and CEO in 2022, Smith gifted a record-breaking $65 million to the Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation, the largest donation in the Foundations’ 60-year history. The gift has the potential to make a life-changing difference for hundreds of Marine and Navy families by providing scholarships, related to STEM and healthcare, for children attending post-high school, undergraduate, and career and technical education programs in all 50 states.

“Frederick W. Smith is our distinguished ‘Veteran of the Year’ for 2024,” said Michael Reinstein, Chairman of Military Times Foundation.  “Smith’s remarkable legacy, from his courageous service in the Marine Corps to the groundbreaking founding of FedEx, is a testament to his unwavering dedication to service and leadership. Decorated with the Silver Star, Bronze Star and two Purple Hearts, Smith’s philanthropy, including a record-breaking $65 million donation to the Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation, underscores his ongoing commitment to supporting veterans. This is a heartfelt recognition of Frederick W. Smith’s enduring impact on both the business and veteran communities.”

The Military Times Foundation is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) established to recognize, salute and highlight the exemplary service of active-duty personnel serving in each branch of the U.S. Armed Services.

The annual Military Times Service Members of the Year Award has grown into a much-anticipated event. The awards ceremony has become one of Washington D.C.’s A-list events attended by congressional, military and community leaders.  Since 2019 Military Times and the Military Times Foundation have donated over $20 million in cash and media value to support over 150 military and veteran service organizations, such as Fisher House, Children of Fallen Patriots, TAPS, Objective Zero and others.

Sponsors of the event include Fisher House Foundation, Veteran Benefits Guide, Leonardo DRS, IHG Army Hotels, The Nationals and Delta. For more information on the selection process, history of the award, past winners, and other details, visit:



About Military Times

Service members and their families rely on as a trusted, independent source for news and information on the most important issues affecting their careers and personal lives including, branch updates, financial services, pay and benefits, healthcare, education, transition resources, and more. is a part of the Sightline Media Group who also owns Army Times, Marine Corps Times, Navy Times, Air Force Times, Federal Times, Defense News, and C4ISRNET.


Kelly Facer
Military Times Foundation

# # #

Copyright © 2024 Military Times Foundation. All rights reserved.