Retirees tour Robins

  • Published
  • By Angela Woolen
  • Robins Public Affairs
As part of a Robins Air Force Base tour, 64 people from the Senior Retired Air Force Transportation Officer Reunion took two buses to see what the mission here is all about.

The group visited the 402nd Aircraft Maintenance Group's 562nd Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, C-17 Production Depot Maintenance and the Marine Aircraft Group 49, Det. A, to see the AH-1 Super Cobra and UH-1N Huey helicopters. They also received a windshield tour of the Warner Robins Air Logistics Complex flight line.  

Retired Col. Earl Boyanton and retired Maj. Gen. John Griffith were among those who were able to see the capabilities of Robins first hand.

"I was never stationed here but I knew about Robins. Today helped me learn a lot more," Boyanton said.

He had an affinity for the C-17 hangar as he had once flown in a simulator during one of his visits to Charleston Air Force Base.

Boyanton has been retired since 2008 from his civilian job at the Pentagon and said it was eye-opening to tour a base again.

"When you spend your adult life in the military, you come to appreciate all the wonderful, wonderful people in our military. Our airmen today are just what you would want to see from our military," he said.

Boyanton, who lives in Virginia, spent a little less than 28 years in the Air Force and then worked for nine years as a civilian. He was the deputy assistant to the Secretary of Defense.

He started work at the Pentagon just after 9/11.

"It was quite an emotional time. All of us viewed our job to be supporting the forces overseas," he said.

His mentor, Griffith, also worked at the Pentagon as the director of transportation at Air Force Headquarters from 1982-85. Griffith, who lives in Belleville, Ill., had a 48-year career in the Air Force.

During the Vietnam War, he was responsible for moving air munitions from the ships to the bases which included operating and maintaining 29 LCM-6 landing craft, the type which landed at Normandy Beach in World War II.

"They weren't that old, but they were old," Griffith said.

The mission "wasn't performed by the Air Force anywhere else. The Army took it over after I left," he explained.

As a non-commissioned officer, he was part of the Korean War. One of his first assignments after that conflict was as an advisor to the Royal Danish Air Force to help get its air force up and running.

His wife Bonnie Griffith said her favorite memory of being a military wife was when they came home from Denmark.

"The Danes paid to send us home. We had two small children and they put us on a really special aircraft with an elevator," she said.

John Griffith clarified it was a Pan American cruiser.

The couple was also served chateaubriand, a cut of beef from the center of beef tenderloin. 

"It was high living for a tech sergeant," he said.