Chief Love: the veteran that keeps serving
Veterans Day is commemorated to honor those who have served in the United States Armed Services. Despite retiring from the Air Force 32 years ago as a medical technician, and serving an additional 16 years of civil service, retired Chief Master Sgt. Garland “Bill” Love continues to devote his time to his country.
Love, from West Monroe, Louisiana, joined the Air Force after his half-brother died during World War II. His decision to suit up was a no-brainer.
“I joined when I was a little tyke, at the age of 17,” Love said. “There are people that say ‘They’ll never get me in uniform’ or ‘I don’t want anything to do with that’,’ but it just came natural to me. I had no desire to do anything else. I was born to wear the uniform.”
The retired chief’s active duty career took him on a worldwide journey. Almost 60 years ago, Love met a female Airman, Maria, while stationed at Ramey AFB, Puerto Rico. Shortly after, Maria was sent to Barksdale AFB, while Love was on a short separation from the AF.
“Probably the best moment was when I married that little girl over there,” Love said as he pointed to a photo of him and his wife. “It was a very small ceremony because she had just got to Barksdale and Louisiana was my home state so my sister was there, and three witnesses who were all in the military at the time too. I don’t remember being nervous but there’s a lot of things that cross your mind at that point in time.”
Approaching his 30th year in the AF, Love applied for a two-year extension during his last duty assignment at Bolling AFB, Washington D.C., working alongside chief of the Air Force Nurse Corps.
“I had the opportunity to have my input for the enlisted medical corps,” Love said. “I had three years there. It was an opportunity to hopefully do something for our enlisted medics and it turned out well.”
After retiring from his active duty service, Love began his second career in civil services eventually leading him to more locations far from home.
“I had more time overseas in civil service than I had in uniform,” Love said. “My first duty station assignment was at Reese AFB in Lubbock, Texas, and from there is where I started my almost 10 years of being overseas. I had five years at Kadena AB in Okinawa, Japan, two years in (South) Korea and then two years in Yokota AB in Japan.”
As his last overseas tour in Japan came to a close, Love began to research where he and his wife would go next.
“We decided to buy a car and started south,” Love said. “We were back visiting one of my sons in Utah and where the car stopped was in Tucson.”
Shortly after his spontaneous stop to Tucson, Ariz., the restless veteran began his ongoing assistance for the U.S. Armed Forces in the Retiree Activities Office at Davis-Monthan AFB.
“It keeps me close to the troops,” Love said. “Some people retire and want to get as far away as they can from the uniform or the military. I never felt that way.”
Love is on his 13th year of service to D-M’s RAO, where he is the deputy officer. He and his wife, Maria, still reside in Tucson and have two sons who have also served in the USAF.