More than a century of service

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Makensie Cooper
  • 15th Wing Public Affairs

Today is the fourth commemoration of National Vietnam Veterans Day -- a day to thank and honor our nation’s heroes.

After serving in the military, many continue to serve today including two JBPHH civilian Airmen and Vietnam-era veterans who support their fellow wingmen with 113 years of combined service.

Making a career out of it

Joel Shaw, 647th Air Base Group resource advisor, retired from the Air Force in 1989 and continues to serve to this day.

“I enlisted in 1958, never with thoughts of making a career of it,” said Shaw. “I was stationed in Germany initially, then spent the next three years in England, where I met my wife. All of the sudden, time passed and I had to make a decision to separate or reenlist and that's when I made the decision to make a career out of it, and here I am today, 63 years later.”

At the start of his career, Shaw was stationed in Udorn, Thailand, as a director of materials, now known as logistics.

“The mission was to build, build, build, and to make things better,” said Shaw. “Units at our base flew sorties out of Udorn to Vietnam, we could see it every day.”

After serving in the Pacific theater of operations during the Vietnam War, Shaw retired in 1989 from the Air Force as a chief master sergeant and pursued a career in federal service to pass along his knowledge to a younger generation.

“I really enjoy working with young airmen, I love hearing their ideas and goals, they are the future of the Air Force,” said Shaw.

Passing on the torch

Glenn Bailey, 15th Wing Plans and Programs chief, joined the Air Force in 1968 and started his career at Clark Air Base in the Philippines, a staging area for the U.S. Air Force Vietnam Operation, packing support kits of supplies and equipment.

“The kits I prepared at Clark Air Base and shipped to our sites in Thailand and Vietnam were spare kits of critical parts that were needed to maintain the ground-to-air communications equipment utilized by the forward air controllers,” said Bailey. “The 5th Road Runners forward air controllers were key in assisting our pilots to maintain and control the air space during the war.”

After retiring as a chief master sergeant with years of training, schooling, and skills, Bailey continues serving his fellow wingmen as a civil service employee.

“I made a firm decision to continue serving the Air Force when I retired in 1993 here in Hawaii as a civil service employee,” said Bailey. “I really enjoy passing on my knowledge of how the Air Force operates to both young airmen and officers.”

Bailey and Shaw continue to impart wisdom and support Airmen every day.

In 2017, President Donald Trump declared National Vietnam War Veterans Day because on this day in 1973 U.S. combat troops departed the Republic of Vietnam.