Maxwell shows appreciation for retirees
Bottom left, retired Lt. Col. Jerry Casper enjoys his return visit to a C-130 as Lt. Col. Jerry Lobb, 908th Airlift Wing public affairs officer, gave the tour, sharing history and engineer information. Nancy Dasinger sits in the copilot's chair on her first visit aboard the C-130 cargo aircraft. (Air Force photo by Rebecca Burylo)
Maxwell shows appreciation for retirees

by Rebecca Burylo
Air University Public Affairs

11/16/2012 - MAXWELL AIR FORCE BASE, Ala. -- Military retirees were recognized for their service and sacrifice during the three-day Retiree Appreciation Days leading up to the Veterans Day weekend.

Activities kicked off with speaker retired Navy Rear Adm. Clyde Marsh Nov 7, who explained the benefits the Alabama Department of Veterans Affairs can provide and the satisfaction he gets from helping veterans as commissioner of the ADVA.

"If you see a veteran, thank them for their service and also feel free to pat your own self on the back for your service to our country," he said. "I am certainly so proud of you who are currently wearing our nation's cloth and carrying on for me and those of us who have completed our time."

Hosted annually by the 42nd Air Base Wing as a one-day event, Retiree Appreciation Days was a new way Maxwell honored its retiree population of more than 15,000, according to Col. Trent Edwards, commander of the 42nd Air Base Wing.

"This year we had three days of events to say thank you to our retirees for their service, their sacrifice and their commitment to this great nation," said Edwards.

Retirees such as retired Col. Joseph L'Abbe and retired Army Staff Sgt. Marvin Lucero were recognized at the kick-off for their service. L'Abbe was a bombardier navigator during Vietnam and flew cargo all over the world. His last four years were spent here at Maxwell, assigned to the Civil Air Patrol.

Lucero served as chief of aviation maintenance during his tours in Vietnam and Korea. Before retiring in 2008, he served in the Alabama National Guard. Throughout his years in service, he grew to know many people.

"The people I met are the best part of the military. They are all friendly people, and we all became like brothers and watched out for each other," he said.

For others, the C-130 tour, walking through one of the most versatile cargo aircrafts, was a fascinating experience. They had a chance to sit in the cockpit and learn about its history.

The last time retired Lt. Col. Jerry Casper flew aboard a C-130 was over Mt. St. Helen, en route to a non-disclosed location for one of his missions as an intelligence officer assigned to assess the weaknesses of other countries' air forces.

Retired Senior Master Sgt. Gil Cook and his wife, Joyce, took advantage of the medical clinic's health fair, catching up on their influenza shots and blood pressure tests. They and other guests also were given health information from low sodium recipes, to resources on depression, stress, weight control and diabetes.

One highlight of the week for retired Tech. Sgt. James Spivey and his wife was the military working dog demonstration, as German shepherds sniffed out "bombs" in suitcases and attacked a potential shooter.

Spivey said he spent part of his 20-year career in Washington, D.C., working with the CIA on special assignments, one of which brought him to several NATO meetings in Paris. He said he later worked for the secretary of the Air Force until retirement.

During the event, retirees also enjoyed free bingo games, seminars on retirement income, legal assistance and advice, tips on care giving, greenhouse tours and a golf scramble.