Misawa member completes 50 years of service

  • Published
  • By Jay Woods
  • U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Japan Engineer District
June 2009 will mark a major career milestone for a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers employee here.

Cecil Hahn, a service support specialist at the Misawa Resident Office, will complete 50 years of federal service -- 40 of them at this key airbase positioned less than 800 miles from North Korea.

Mr. Hahn, who grew up in the small East Texas town of Alto, enlisted in the U.S. Air Force in 1958 and spent his first ten years in various security service (intelligence) billets around the world, including tours of duty in Hokkaido, Japan, Alaska, Germany and Misawa. After attending school in Florida in 1974, Mr. Hahn returned to Misawa in April 1975 and continued serving there until he retired as a senior master sergeant in 1986.

"I really liked my job, especially at Misawa," Mr. Hahn said reflecting on his career in the Air Force. "I was pretty good at it, too," he added understatedly.

When Mr. Hahn retired from the Air Force in 1986 he already decided he wanted to remain in Japan. Since he did not have a job waiting for him when he retired, he went back to the states for a couple of months to get his visa. He then returned to Misawa to look for a job. He did not have much success with the job search until May 1987 when he was hired as a GS3 by U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Japan Engineer District to deliver outage notices.

In July 1988, Mr. Hahn was promoted to a GS6 and became the office manager for the Corps' Misawa Area Office. At the time, the workload was large and there were approximately 35 employees assigned to the office. The Misawa AO had just finished working on the bed-down projects for the newly arrived F-16s, as well as military construction projects such as hanger construction and fuel tank farms.

During his 28 years in the Air Force, Mr. Hahn spent 18 years in Misawa.

"I didn't see me exceeding that with the Army, but May of this year will be 22 years at Misawa with the Army," he said.

Mr. Hahn has helped coach, mentor, train and support many resident engineers, project engineers and a dedicated master labor contract staff of Japanese employees. The work in the Misawa Resident Office has evolved over many years, from the construction boom times during the Cold War in the 1980s through the growth in host nation construction, to a steady workload of U.S. funded and host nation construction for the Air Force supported commanders and customers.

This Air Force veteran has helped shape the minds and careers of many young people who have progressed in their own careers to become chief of construction, chief of engineering and construction, deputy for programs and project management, and senior executive service staff leaders in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

Right now, Mr. Hahn does not know when he will call it quits.

"My ID card expires in July 2010, so I may hang around until then," he said.

Until he does decide to retire, the Japan Engineer District will continue to value him as a great teammate and mentor.