Sister Linda Brown, who has worked on both C-130 programs (H and J) for the past 38 years, and holds the oldest seniority date of any Local Lodge Member, retires from her position on Wednesday, September 15th. She has held many different positions throughout the years, but most recently has been serving as a CSA III on the JMATS program. Sister Brown was instrumental in helping start Local Lodge 463 and getting many of the positions here on the program categorized as represented. She has held several different Local Lodge Officer positions during her time on the program, most recently serving as Local Lodge Trustee.
Linda was asked to share some memories of her time on the program:
Over the 38 years that I have worked on the ATS and JMATS Programs, I’ve seen many changes. August 22, 1983 I came to work at the Little Rock AFB for GE Simulation and Systems Department out of Daytona Beach Florida as a Kelly Services Temp. After 2 months GE was able to hire me and I’ve been here ever since. At that time the Air Force was still maintaining the simulators. GE had 4 simulators with only 1 having a visual system. Over the years I saw visual systems installed in the others 3 WST’s at Little Rock. Systems were installed at Pope, Dyess, Kirtland, McChord, Clark AB in the Phillipines, Cherry Point and Ell Toro. We had six 25-pound 300MB disc packs that contained our visual databases. Now very small hard drives hold multitudes of data.
I had one of the best managers ever with GE (now part of Lockheed Martin) Richard Gentner. He was a leader, not just a manager. He motivated his simulator engineers to learn all they could by leading the way getting his own Masters degree and they went on to be the Visual Site Managers at the follow-on sites and he was promoted to Program Management in Florida. As the last person of that group, I have the picture from about 1985 of that group.
I was here when the government decided that contractors would be maintaining the simulators, writing the courseware and instructing the students. I walked down the hall to my new job in configuration management. Over the years, many different companies owned our contracts. I have a tiny Link Simulator pin that one of the current students noticed this past week. Singer-Link and Simuflite was the first of our contractors when the entire system went contractor in 1987.
Over the years I went from being the Site Managers admin to Configuration Management, Visual Engineering, TMS, and current IT positions. I spent 26 years on the ATS side with my latest office mates as a group of Navigator Instructors who made me an “Honorary Nav”. We endured many building renovations with the only entrance to our server room over an air conditioner and thru a window when asbestos was discovered during renovation. I still have my hard hat. We had a visqueen tunnel to our switch room where we had a tarp covering our swtiches and had to dump buckets of water daily because of a roof leak during our ISO Certification.
I saw the first group of Iraqi students training at Little Rock when they were flown to Tennessee so they could vote for the very first time. They all came back so proud of their thumb with black ink showing they had voted – something we take for granted. They were shocked to see a female standing on the desk to change out lamp assemblies in the overhead classroom projector, but that was part of the job.
I’ve been over on the JMATS side now for almost 12 years and have seen this program grow immensely. Several students including a Colonel who I saw as a young student on the ATS side has been surprised to see me still here, but on the JMATS Program. She stated that both she and her husband had been C-130 crew members. It was rare to see female crew members in 1983, but now a more common occurrence
I’ve had the opportunity to meet and work with a lot of interesting people over the years from here as well as many countries. I found out that I wasn’t too old to learn when the government decided we needed Security + to do our job in 2016. A surprise to all after a 3-day training camp, I passed with a really good score and would not want to have to do it again. I’ve only been in the WST a handful of times over the years, and still can’t land without crashing. I will leave with many great memories of the C-130 family.
We are extremely grateful to Sister Brown for all her years of service, not just to the program, but specifically to this Union and to her fellow Brothers and Sisters. We are excited for her as she finally “takes a break” from all this daily grind, and begins to enjoy the freedom and perks of retirement. We hope to see you around and you will be missed.
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