41 years, a benchmark placed

EIELSON AIR FORCE BASE, Alaska -- What can transpire in 41 seconds, or in minutes, days, weeks, months? How about in 41 years? Thinking about this in the terms of one man's service to a state and nation is what several Airmen pondered when they chose their words about Chief Master Sgt. William (Bill) Dixon with the 168th Wing here June 29 at the retirement ceremony honoring 41 years of military service.

The now retired aircraft maintenance superintendent said his final farewells to the men and women of his interior-Alaska Air Guard wing, where he served in more than eight maintenance group positions.

"He knows more about the jet than most of the people who write the technical data on them," said Master Sgt. Ray Allen, maintenance group crew chief.

Almost 200 service members, family, and friends, attended the ceremony held inside the maintenance bay, which was Dixon's home-away-from-home since 1988, when he accepted a full time position as a technical sergeant.

Taking into consideration all he had contributed, Chief Master Sgt. Phil Hunt, command chief said, "You see it in his bio [but], you don't understand what we're losing by losing Chief Dixon."

According to Dixon's biography, his knowledge of the KC-135 aerial refueling aircraft is what led to his being "hand-selected" to assist in the delivery of six aircraft to the Turkish Air Force.

In addition to that honor Dixon was a maintenance inspector with the Air National Guard Logistics Standardization Evaluation Program, and he augmented the Pacific Air Forces Inspector General Team, performing numerous operational readiness inspections.

"You and I have had a lot of hours in this plane together," said Col. Bryan White, operations group commander, referring to the KC-135 parked as a backdrop for the ceremony. "You've made this a much better organization, and we have people downrange in the fight right now flying the Alaska flag over hostile territory, and they are there as the best prepared, best qualified people in the business thanks to the legacy of people like you," said White.

Dixon thanked all of those who he had worked with and became friends with, as well as those who guided him.

Dixon presented his granddaughters, daughter and wife flowers and thanked them for their support and sacrifices, promising to not miss any more birthdays, anniversaries, or holidays.

"If I had it to do all over again, I would not change a single thing," said Dixon.