Engineer retires after nearly half century in civil service, praised for efforts Published Jan. 29, 2010 By Wayne Crenshaw 78th Air Base Wing Public Affairs ROBINS AIR FORCE BASE, Ga. -- A lot has changed at Robins since Ulysses Bernard came here in 1965 and he had something to do with making many of those changes happen. Bernard, 73, retired Jan. 2 after 49 years in civil service. He spent most of that time as a civil engineer at Robins. His last position was chief of planning and programming for the 778th Civil Engineer Squadron, which had a role in many of the construction projects on base while he was here. His co-workers held a retirement ceremony for him Tuesday at the Museum of Aviation's Eagle Building. Col. Carl Buhler, commander of the 78th Air Base Wing, officiated the ceremony. "During his long and distinguished career, Mr. Bernard demonstrated exceptional performance by leading, being involved, and by being dedicated," Buhler said. "While doing this, he also made major contributions to our base facilities and base infrastructure." Bernard said he stayed at the job so long because he enjoyed it. "You get a chance to come up with new ideas and new ways of doing things," he said in an interview prior to the ceremony. "You get full management support. It lets you operate beyond your potential." He graduated from Tuskegee University in Alabama in 1963 with a degree in mechanical engineering. He came to Middle Georgia right afterwards to take a job with the Naval Ordinance Plant in Macon. When the plant closed two years later, he came to work at Robins. He said the atmosphere here also played a role in him staying on the job for so long. "From a people standpoint, you won't find an organization on base that takes care of the people like civil engineering," he said. "They go the extra mile." Bernard handed out gifts to several of his co-workers at the ceremony. Buhler presented Bernard with the Outstanding Civilian Career Service Award, along with other awards. "Mr. Bernard is an institution," Buhler said at the ceremony. "He dedicated his entire career to getting things done, and you can see the results across our base and across the Air Force." Bernard said he now plans to do some traveling with his wife, starting with a trip to Seattle where they will drive the Pacific coastline.