Andersen machinist retires after 50 years of service

by Airman 1st Class Zachary Heal
Andersen Air Force Base

ANDERSEN AIR FORCE BASE, Guam —After 50 years of service, Oscar Cruz, a machinist at Andersen, is ready to put down his tools and pick up retirement.

Despite his expertise and skill at machining, it hasn’t always been easy for Mr. Cruz. A Guam native from humble beginnings in Barrigada, his success wasn’t written in stone.

“Growing up, my family didn’t have a lot of money,” said Cruz. “Transportation was limited and I had never even been to the south side of the island.”

Cruz took the first opportunity he could to see the south side of the island during the Career Week just before his high school graduation. He got the chance to visit the naval base to see about civilian apprenticeship opportunities, and that’s where a long career began.

His career started at the shipyard repairing propellers, but less than half of his 50 years were spent working there. He eventually encountered some difficulties with his leadership, Cruz said. While giving him exceptional training and experience, the management did not always create the most friendly work environment, and Cruz found himself wanting a more unified workplace.

“Nothing is easy. Not everything is glory and paradise,” said Cruz. “You tend to encounter ups and downs, but always stay positive, never give up.”

After 22 years of experience and training, Cruz left the shipyard for a job at Andersen, where he has been ever since.

“It’s not only the job, but the people who make the job great,” said Cruz. “That’s why I stayed at Andersen so long. Here you get recognized for the work you do.”

During his career as a machinist Cruz expanded his skillset, learning and working in electrical, carpentry, sheet metal, welding, landscaping, and HVAC.

“Some people think it’s better to master one thing,” said Cruz, “but it’s better to know a little bit about everything. Instead of hiring someone to fix something at home I fix it myself. It comes in handy to learn these skills. I built my own house, now instead of paying it off, I can use that money to travel with my wife.”

Having been married for 42 years, he credits his success to the support of his wife and their supportive and loving marriage.

“I am more proud of the 42 years of marriage than the 50 years of work,” said Cruz, with tears in his eyes. “You cannot replace that. I could never find a wife THAT good. She always tells me to never give up.”

After 50 years of grinding day in and day out, Oscar Cruz has become Andersen’s model of quiet improvement.

“Good and better is not good enough. You have to be the best,” said Cruz.

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