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Spotlight: Former airman still on duty

  • Published
  • By Angela Woolen
  • Robins Public Affairs

During the early 1960s, the Civil Rights movement was getting started, John F. Kennedy was president, Elvis was still king and the Beatles made their first album.

It was in that era John Mattocks enlisted in the Air Force. He would stay on active duty for 26 years before he took off the uniform and retired in 1989.

But that wasn’t the end of his service to his country. In 1998, Mattocks began working at Robins as a civilian and has been working here ever since.

“My first 16 years I was in recreation,” said the 72-year-old New Bern, North Carolina, native.

In the physical conditioning unit, he administered physical conditioning tests and conducted survival drills.

He’s currently a desktop publisher technician at the Defense Logistics Agency Document Automation and Production Service office.

His first duty station was Bergstrom Air Force Base in Austin, Texas. During his two decades of military service, he served in England, Germany, Korea, Saudi Arabia and various bases around the U.S.

Mattocks played football as a left half back for RAF Lakenheath in England, competing against bases from around Europe.

Although he has had a tracheotomy and survived colon cancer, Mattocks still exercises and bench presses 200 pounds.

“I’m not as strong as I used to be,” he said with a grin.

Before he was transferred to Robins in 1967, he called the four-year period a dark time in his life. When he got to Warner Robins, he had put in paperwork to retrain to instrument repair when he met Franklin Manley.

“He changed my life in the military,” Mattocks admitted.

The one-stripe airman soon learned that supervisors could be fair, and he spent the next four years in recreation.

“He set me on the right path,” said Mattocks of his former supervisor.

This is his third stint at Robins and where he hopes to stay when he retires one day, although that won’t come soon. He arrived here in 1998.

“I enjoy what I do,” he said