22nd LRS civilian celebrates 40 years at McConnell

  • Published
  • By Airman Erin McClellan
  • 22nd Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs
Most of the time, Airmen pass through duty stations quickly, only staying at each one for a few years or so. For a lot of civilians who work with the Air Force, that’s often not the case.

Bob Sommerhauser, 22nd Logistics Readiness Squadron fire truck mechanic, recently received a pin to recognize his 40 years of civil service at McConnell.

Growing up, Sommerhauser helped his father repair vehicles and machines on their farm. Later, he worked at various companies before he learned about civilian jobs in the Air Force.

“I went right down and put my application in,” said Sommerhauser. “It took about a year before they called me and asked me if I wanted an interview. I’m really fortunate to be here [considering] I’m not a veteran; if any veteran would’ve wanted to apply, they would’ve gotten the job.”

Sommerhauser was originally hired as a general purpose mechanic, which included working on regular cars and trucks as well as other machinery, but now he focuses on fire and refueling trucks.

“I always loved working on cars and trucks and machinery ever since I was little,” said Sommerhauser. “I like the challenge of working on new things. I just love working on equipment. That’s what I do day and night; I do it in my off-time too, because it’s what I do for enjoyment.”

In 40 years, Sommerhauser has seen a lot of Airmen come and go in his shops, but believes the group of people he works with now are among the best.

“We have a really good shop here,” said Sommerhauser. “This is the best place on base to work; in the 40 years I’ve been here, it’s better than it’s ever been. I like working with [Airmen]. I’ve had a lot of Airmen over the years, but it’s pretty rare to have guys like these guys who really want to be here. They don’t mind working and they like to learn– they’re just great guys.”

Over the years, his job has undergone changes. There have been some hard times, but the parts he loves have always remained. He said taking this job was one of the best decisions he’s ever made.

“There’s been good times and bad times, and there’s been some really bad times, but overall, it’s been good,” said Sommerhauser.

Even after 40 years, Sommerhauser isn’t quite ready to let go of this job yet. He plans to work another year and a half before retiring, which will allow him to dedicate more time to working on his farm.