WORKING OVERTIME: Nine 402nd EMXG workers earn 40-year service pin

  • Published
  • By Holly Birchfield
  • 78 ABW/PA
Some civil service employees are anxious to retire after 30 years. But, others just can't seem to call it a day.

Nine civilians from the 402nd Electronics Maintenance Group put in 40 years of federal service as of mid-August, and six were recognized during a breakfast ceremony Aug. 16.

Each employee was presented with a 40-year service pin, a 402nd EMXG coin and a certificate of service to commemorate the occasion.

Images and sounds of days gone by splashed on a screen and played softly in the background of the momentous day of recognition in the 402nd EMXG Auditorium in the Avionics Complex in Bldg. 640.

The tradition of recognizing 402nd EMXG members who have invested 40 years in their civil service careers began in 2006. It's a custom that Col. Dennis Daley, 402nd EMXG commander, hopes will continue long after he moves on.

Colonel Daley said the 40 years of service given by the select group of members reflects the dedication of all in the 402nd EMXG.

"The service of our entire EMXG workforce meeting our nation's call is symbolized by this year's 40-year members," he said. "The 402nd EMXG places great emphasis on the 40-year award ceremony not only for the 40-year members, but also the entire workforce. It is truly a celebration for the entire organization."

Richard McGhee, an electronics mechanic in the 402nd EMXG who has spent 37 years in civil service, served in an active-duty military career for three years and served 27 years in the reserves, said he appreciated the group's gratitude.

"I think it's real nice," he said. "It gives the younger people some incentive to try and stay and work in civil service and see what the reward would be after 40 years of service."

While colleagues and friends reminisced about the veteran civil servants' accomplishments and history at the base, long-time employees like Randall Parsons, a radar supervisor in the Avionics APQ-122/APS-133 Radar Shop in the 402nd EMXG, didn't understand what all of the fuss is about.

"I'm kind of a private individual," he said. "I'm dedicated, and I don't expect a lot for what I do. I just come in and do my job and do it well."

Of course, the 60-year-old Tazewell, Va., native hasn't always worked in the same job. In fact, he has had many since starting his civil service career April 19, 1971.

Mr. Parsons, who served as a military member for two years at Robins before signing on to his civil service career, started out as a radar repairman with a hourly wage of $3.70.

Since then, Mr. Parsons has touched many parts of Robins' mission.

"(There have been) numerous high points (in my career)," he said. "I've served as an electronics mechanic for 14 years in avionics, a computer specialist for four years in distribution and supply and served as a supervisor and branch chief for (distribution and supply) and the Defense Logistics Agency for 11 years, and I spent another seven years as a supervisor back in avionics."

Mr. Parsons said he has enjoyed the travel and the part he has played in important missions. "I've progressed and grown along with Robins over these years. I've become part of the fabric of this base and have come to realize how very important Robins' mission is in the free world," he said

A lot can change in four decades; just ask Charles Manning, an electronic management equipment mechanic inspector for the Precision Measurement Equipment Lab in the 402nd EMXG.

Mr. Manning came to Robins almost 37 years ago after being laid off from Brookley Air Force Base, Ala., in early 1970.

"I have enjoyed my career in service for the Navy and the Air Force for almost 42 years," he said. "I cannot believe that it has been that long. I have seen a lot of changes in that time, most for the better."

George Layfield, an electronic technician in the 402nd EMXG who has worked at Robins for 40 years in various capacities, said from the Cold War Era preparedness to regional conflicts and the war on terrorism, he has seen many changes come about in his time here.

Colonel Daley said through all of the changes that have come to pass, his group has remained faithful to its mission.

"Over their 40 years of long and dedicated service, the Class of 1967 has seen major changes in our Air Force programs, processes, and people," he said. "But one factor was constant: the sense of patriotism that the Middle Georgian workforce brings to the workplace each and every day. That is true for the Class of 1967 as well as the Class of 2007 and all of those in between."