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News > At end of career, senior NCO remembers its beginning
Senior NCO retirement ceremony
Marine Corps Staff Sgt. Michael E. Johnson of Air Force Mortuary Affairs Operations, Dover Air Force Base, Del., cuts a cake July 14, 2012, following a retirement ceremony for Senior Master Sgt. Randall B. Anderson (shown at rear), chief of education and training for the 512th Airlift Wing, an Air Force Reserve unit at Dover AFB. Anderson served on active-duty with the Marines before transferring to the Air Force Reserve and working as an air reserve technician at Dover for 20 years. The cake featured the Air Force coat of arms, the Marine Corps seal and a rendering of Marines raising the U.S. flag on Iwo Jima in World War II. (Courtesy photo)
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At end of career, senior NCO remembers its beginning

Posted 7/26/2012   Updated 7/26/2012 Email story   Print story


by Chief Master Sgt. Matt Proietti
512th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

7/26/2012 - DOVER AIR FORCE BASE, Del. -- Before he was an Airman, Senior Master Sgt. Randall B. Anderson was an active-duty Marine for 17 years.

The 512th Airlift Wing's longtime chief of education and training, who is retiring from his military and civil service careers this summer, was a chief warrant officer two when he left the Corps in 1992 due to downsizing.

Duty as a Marine personnel officer saw him stationed throughout the mid-Atlantic and South early in his career. He later worked in California and deployed to Saudi Arabia in 1990-1991 for Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm.

With the Air Force, though, he stayed put at Dover Air Force Base for 20 years after becoming an air reserve technician, working in personnel as a civilian weekdays and serving in the same job as a military member one weekend each month.

Anderson moved into education and training in 1997 when the wing needed someone with a bachelor's degree to run that section. Since his career started in 1975, he has seen "significant, positive changes to entitlements" for military members that made educational goals more obtainable.

"Today's enlisted force is more educated than ever before," he said. "(They) used to wait until they were nearing retirement to go to school."

Benefits today not only cover tuition, he explained. The Post 9/11 GI Bill also provides a housing allowance to help with other costs.

One reservist who appreciated Anderson's education experience is Tech Sgt. Blanchfield, a 512th Airlift Wing commander support staff member. While she was deployed overseas, she submitted an application to the practical nursing program at Polytech Adult Education in Woodside, Del., where Anderson works part time.After a casual email conversation with the sergeant about her submission, he called the program director and suggested that she be admitted to the program. She was later accepted into it and said she appreciates that "he took time out of his day to give a recommendation for me."

Anderson did his final weekend drill duty in mid-July and had a retirement ceremony at the Air Mobility Command Museum. He acknowledged his long time as a Leatherneck by inviting Marine Corps Staff Sgt. Michael E. Johnson of the Air Force Mortuary Affairs Office to serve as an escort. Anderson met him at the Dover dining facility earlier this year.
"I simply went up to this stranger and explained that I had served in the Marines and was having a retirement ceremony in the Air Force and asked if he would be an escort. He quickly replied, 'Yes, sir.'"

As a final salute to his job of the past 15 years, Anderson organized an education fair on base July 14. He'll mark the end of 37-plus years of federal service with a pizza luncheon Aug. 2.

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