Gen. Andrew Busch, Ogden Air Logistics Center commander, got the rare privilege of presenting a 50-year pin to a member of Team Hill at the 75th Logistics Readiness Center on June 14.
Jimmie Higgins, a War Reserve Materiel officer and logistics management specialist, started his career as a member of the Air Force, working for one year as a dog handler in Korea, and for three years as a C-124 Globemaster II aircraft loadmaster at Hill Air Force Base from Jan. 1955 to November 1958.
In his 50-year tenure he took approximately two years off during which time he worked for other organizations -- the Department of the Interior and Department of Justice.
At the ceremony, Gen. Busch observed just how rare was the honor that was being given to Higgins.
"Mr. (Mark) Johnson, (OO-ALC, executive director) and I were talking on the way up from our building about the fact that he does the 30- and 40-year pins. I get to do the 50-year pins, and this is the first one that I've done in this job. I think I did one or two at the Defense Logistics Agency in my last job, and I don't think (there's) one until I go all the way back to when I was at Oklahoma City in 2000-2002," Busch said. "So this is a really rare occurrence."
"I won't point out that I was three years old when he started. I won't say either that Capt. (Steve) Trnka said, 'Hey, he's been a master sergeant twice as long as I've been in the Air Force,'aN" Busch said with a smile at his executive aide's remarks.
"It's really neat that you could dedicate your life to the service of your country. It's not something that all of us, everyone in America, have the privilege to do ... both as a civilian and as a member of the military," he pointed out.
When Busch asked him if his initial stint as a dog handler in Korea gave him enough of a taste of that career that he decided to change career paths, Higgins replied that his goal had been to go into law enforcement. That's something that Higgins' employment history includes -- he worked as a Clearfield Police officer and as a security officer with the military.
At the ceremony, Higgins received three letters of congratulations - one from the Secretary of the Air Force Michael B. Donley, one from the Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Norton A. Schwartz, and one from Gen. Donald J. Hoffman, commander of Air Force Materiel Command.
Higgins accepted the honors with just a few gracious comments, saying, "I'm grateful and honored to be up here, and I've enjoyed all my jobs. I've had some great bosses on both the military and civilian side of the house. Thank you very much."
Asked afterward if anything stuck out in his mind during the 50 years he served, he acknowledged that the experience he thinks affected him the most, as well as the rest of the country, was Desert Shield and Desert Storm.
"I got reactivated for that," he said.
Higgins served as the Hill Air Terminal Superintendent for the 67th Aerial Port Squadron from Jan. 1991 to May 1991. In May of 1991 he was promoted to Squadron Operations superintendent where his work continued until March of 1993.
He rejoined Team Hill in 1995 on the civilian side of things as a contingency war planner, augmentee program manager and Mobility Air Cargo Terminal manager.
Higgins has continued serving in various capacities since then.
"It's always been a joy for me," he said. "I don't even feel it's an obligation. I feel privileged to do it," he said.
Two career sympols somewhat dear to his heart will remain at the base when he eventually decides to retire: a C-124 Globemaster II and a C-119 Flying Boxcar, both located at the Hill Aerospace Museum.
The C-119 has his name painted on the side of it because Maj. Gen. Rex A. Hadley, a former member of the museum board, ordered it. Among many other positions, Hadley had served as group commander of the 945th Military Airlift Group at Hill AFB.
And the C-124?
"That's my plane. It went to the Guard and then we brought it back here."