Civilian Airman retires, closes 38 year federal career spanning St. Louis, Military Airlift Command, AMC and 932nd AW

  • Published
  • By Maj. Neil Samson
  • 932nd Airlift Wing Public Affairs

After nearly 38 years of civilian service, a civilian Airman here at the 932nd Airlift Wing retired and closed her career with a nod to her hometown roots, which span from her hometown in Illinois to the birth of her civil service career in St. Louis.

Rhonda Becker, a native of Beckemeyer, Ill., recently received farewells and recognition during an open house retirement breakfast and lunch attended by her fellow co-workers and friends at the 932nd AW, where she has served as the Government Schedule (GS)-12 Wing supervisory budget analyst for the past 14 years, with 26 years of combined service to the 932nd AW.

932nd AW leadership offered praise for Becker’s service and accomplishments.  Many co-workers expressed that she has made a positive impact on the Wing, but both expressed she will be missed.

“It will be big shoes to fill after Rhonda retires,” said WylLanda Smith, 932nd AW Force Management budget analyst, “There is a lot of knowledge going out the door and I hope we’ll be able to keep the standards she set. It was an honor to learn from her and she will be greatly missed.”

Prior to working at the 932nd AW as a supervisory budget analyst, her career encompassed over 22 years working in various federal budget and military finance positions across Scott AFB.

Before she would first begin her first position at Scott AFB, she began her federal service in 1984 as a GS-2 at the Office of Personnel Management in the old Post Office building in Downtown St. Louis.

“My first position as a GS-2 required eight hours of typing using a dictaphone.  I typed up the investigative reports when people were applying for jobs with the government,” Becker said.  “I had to laugh, because (before that) I wondered what person had the daunting task of typing these reports.” 

“And when you typed these reports up – you couldn’t have any errors,” she said.  “If errors were found, you had to re-type the sheet since the reports were carbon copies.  There were about 40 clerk typists and three reviewers.”

Becker quickly moved up the federal ranks from a data entry GS-2 to a GS-4 secretary, where she was transferred from St. Louis to Scott AFB in 1986 and promoted to GS-5 at Headquarters Military Airlift Command (MAC), now known as Air Mobility Command (AMC).

In mid-1988 she moved from MAC and took a down grade to GS-4 to pursue a career with the 932nd Aeromedical Airlift Group, a unit which formed the early foundations of the 932nd AW.

“When I took the downgrade to come to the 932nd, everyone at HQ MAC didn’t think it was a good idea,” Becker said.  “I guess I showed them, but this (the 932nd AW) has been the most satisfying place to work.”

In a span of six years from 1988 through 1994, Becker promoted from a GS-5 military pay technician to GS-11 budget officer. 

Unfortunately, she could not get her grade upgraded to GS-12, so she left to return to AMC, which was formerly MAC, where she was promoted to GS-12 Budget Analyst in 2000 with the AMC Transportation Working Capital Fund (TWCF).    

After seven years at HQ AMC, Becker transferred back to the 932nd AW as the supervisory budget analyst to serve under then Col. Maryanne Miller, 932nd AW commander, who would eventually rise to the rank of General, and serve as the AMC commander from 2018 to 2020.

Becker recalls some her best memories with the 932nd AW after coming back to the unit in 2007.

“I was able to fly on one of our C-40 distinguished visitor aircraft in Jun 2010 to March Air Reserve Base, California,” said Becker.  “At the time we were under 4th AF, and a group of us went there as a site visit to meet with our leadership.” 

“We had a meeting while on the aircraft, ate great food our flight attendants prepared, and they gave a tour of our aircraft and we showed them a PowerPoint slide of our mission to the Numbered Air Force (NAF).  I was even permitted to sit in the cockpit for a bit during the flight,” she said. 

As Becker closes her civilian Airman career, she also reflects on how the favorite moments of her career centered more on taking care of the wellness of both civilians and Reserve Airmen.

“I have an article that was done back in December 1996 written by Tech. Sgt. Jim Stanley, ‘The Buck Starts here,’” said Becker. “It has a picture of who all worked in 932nd AW Financial Management at the time, and about what we all did for the Reservists.” 

“Back then, FM would host a lunch that included a sloppy joe, chips, pickle spear, drink, and a homemade dessert,” added Becker.  “The money made from that (FM-hosted lunch) would get us refreshments at the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) just outside the (Scott AFB) Belleville Gate on Friday before the Unit Training Assembly (UTA). 

“All civilians and Reservists were invited, and it gave us the chance for the reservists to meet the civilians that worked at the 932nd AW,” she said

The 932nd AW vice commander echoed his accolades for Becker and highlighted her service to other Airmen.

“There is no doubt in my mind that Rhonda Becker is the best financial manager in AF Reserve Command,” said Col. Chad Biehl, 932nd AW vice commander. “The 932nd AW and the 954th Reserve Support Squadron has reaped the positive impacts of Rhonda’s years of service and steadfast commitment to upholding the core values of the Air Force – integrity, service, and excellence, each and every day. She is a shining example of what caring for Airmen looks like.”