Union Pacific Employee Sees UP Values on Navy Cruise

Mark Karpf holds a UP Flag in the hangar of USS Carl Vinson | LR

Marketing and Sales Manager Mark Karpf poses with a Union Pacific flag in the hangar of the U.S.S. Carl Vinson during his Tiger Cruise from Pearl Harbor to San Diego.

In 2023, approximately 40% of Union Pacific’s freight originated or terminated outside of the United States. As America’s premier railroad focuses on “Building America,” it can be easy to forget our true global outreach.

However, with recent geopolitical tensions, the protection of those vital international trade routes we’ve all come to rely on is becoming increasingly important.

Recently, Marketing and Sales Manager Mark Karpf had an opportunity to participate in a “Tiger Cruise,” allowing civilians the chance to ride a U.S. Naval Ship for a short non-combat cruise. After the U.S.S. Carl Vinson’s 6-month deployment to Asia, including ports of call in South Korea, Singapore, the Philippines, and joint naval exercises in the Philippine Sea, Karpf rode the aircraft carrier from Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, back to San Diego as it came off its deployment.

Mark Karpf stands on deck the USS Carl Vinson, wearing a helmet | MR

Mark Karpf, Manager Marketing and Sales, stands aboard the U.S.S. Carl Vinson, which service members refer to as “100,000 tons of freedom and 4.5 acres of American sovereign territory.”

Karpf was aboard the ship for seven days, and at sea for five. While aboard, he watched as over 80 aircraft were launched from the ship within a few hours, and 5,000 service members worked in areas such as maintenance support, propulsion, weapons control, and the ship’s hospital.

“Everyone on board embodies teamwork,” said Karpf. “They all work as one so that everyone comes home safe, and they all want the mission to be successful.”

Karpf worked with UPVETS, Union Pacific’s Employee Resource Group (ERG) focused on veterans, National Guard Reserve employees and interested employees, to share the ERG’s values of Honor, Service and Commitment; including exchanging Union Pacific Challenge Coins, with those service members he met on his adventure. More than 17% of Union Pacific’s employees are veterans, with some still actively serving in the National Guard or Reserves.

“It was incredible being able to recognize the sacrifice these men and women make,” Karpf said. “Seeing it firsthand was a unique experience, and it really puts their sacrifice into perspective as we all work to Build America.”

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