Robins couple bids farewell to base after combined 78 years civil service

  • Published
  • By 1st Lt. Sequoiya Lawson
  • 78 ABW/PA
After a long and illustrious civil service career that spanned nearly 80 years combined, Walter and Jane Floyd will retire this month.

Although the jobs that originally brought them to Robins may be long gone, the couple says after working at Robins for nearly four decades each, they know that people have pretty much remained the same.

"People want to work and they want to do a good job," said Mr. Floyd, a flight deputy chief in the 402nd Electronics Maintenance Group. "Faces change and names of course, but there are really good people everywhere."

Having worked his entire 41-year career in Bldg. 640, Mr. Floyd said the two things he'll miss the most are the friendships he's made over the years and having a role in defending the country and supporting the military as a civil service employee.

"You know, people always say they'll keep in touch, but time and space gets in the way," he said. "I'll always take pride in my service because it's truly been a blessing."

Mrs. Floyd echoed the comments of her husband of more than 37 years.

"I'm definitely going to miss being here. I'm still fascinated when I see all the airplanes doing their thing," said Mrs. Floyd, reminiscing back on her more than 36 years of watching aircraft fly through Robins.

Both were born and raised in Eastman where they met and married, Mr. and Mrs. Floyd moved to Warner Robins in 1971 to be closer to the base. Mr. Floyd had been working as an avionics apprentice since 1966 after he got out of high school.

"I worked when most avionics still had vacuum tubes in them," he said. "I mainly worked on F-106 aircraft components and it was a great little airplane."

Mrs. Floyd took a job as a cashier at the commissary on base, which was located at Gate 4 then, but chuckled explaining that her first base job probably wasn't the fondest of memories.

"There were no UPC labels, no debit cards and no prices on food at all," she said. "I mean not even the green beans had labels and you had to memorize all of the prices and ring everything up by hand very fast."

Keeping up with the high tempo of the commissary was definitely what made Mrs. Floyd take a downgrade from a General Schedule 3 cashier to a GS 2 clerk typist.

"Had I not taken that downgrade I would probably still be at the commissary," she joked. But that downgrade paved the way for a better job; just six weeks later she accepted a job as a GS 4 steno secretary for the security police, which in the early 1970s was mostly civilian employees.

Mrs. Floyd then worked as a secretary in the 19th Bomb Wing in the budget office when Robins still maintained a B-52 mission.

For the last 30 years, Mrs. Floyd has been a packaging specialist and works in the 586th Combat Sustainment Group. Her function has been identified as one that will be transferred under the management of the Global Logistics Support Center.

The one thing they say that's kept them centered and happy in life is their faith and involvement in their church, Peachtree Baptist Church in Byron. Mr. Floyd is a deacon, and Mrs. Floyd played the piano for more than 10 years.

The Floyds are charter members of the constituted church and were there in the very beginning when there were less than a dozen members who began a mission in a barn across from where the modern facility stands today just past I-75 on Watson Blvd.

The Floyds have a 32-year-old son, a 5-year-old granddaughter and twin grandsons who are two and a half.

"We are looking forward to being with (our grandchildren) when we are fresh and can really have some quality time instead of working all week and squeezing things in on the weekends," said Mrs. Floyd. Other than spending time with family, the Floyds haven't made solid plans, but they do want to do something useful.

"There are a lot of great places to volunteer around here," said Mr. Floyd. Home projects, reading and sitting by the fire are on the list as well, but they both say working again is definitely not in the plan.

"Some people work at Robins for years then turn right back around after retirement and come back as a contractor," said Mrs. Floyd. "If I were going to do that, I could have just stayed in the job I have."

"I think what I'll miss the most is a sense of involvement in the Air Force mission," said Mrs. Floyd.