The C-17 Globemaster III is the last surviving program in California from the McDonnell Douglas days. The C-17 was and is a product of McDonnell Douglas innovation, ingenuity, and engineering and the UAW Local 148 workforce. The C-17 program will be shutting down in 2015. That will effectively end any and all major aircraft manufacturing in Southern California.
It will forever be my privilege to have been associated with the two finest aircraft manufacturers in aviation history. We really did something here and I will take that pride with me into retirement. I still look with pride when I see one of our planes passing through the sky.
I began working on the DC-10, and have worked on the KC-10, the MD-80 (originally the DC-9 Super 80), and all it's various configurations and generational descendants, the MD-11 and the C-17. Immediately following the McDonnell Douglas/Boeing Merger I worked on several 737's. I have worked in different capacities and job titles; from aircraft mechanic, team leader, quality coordinator, supervisor/manager and again as a aircraft mechanic. Each move from one program to another was akin to starting a new job again, learning a new set of skills and meeting new people.
Like everyone else, I complained from time to time but I really will miss the work. Even more I will miss the people. Over the years I have met people that have become lifetime friends. many of them are gone now for one reason or another; retirement, quit or fired and death. Though it was hard to leave, for me the timing was right.
When I started it was just a job. little did I know it would be my career, my life's work. I raised my family, bought my home and had a good life, all courtesy of McDonnell Douglas and Boeing. I can honestly say I grew up at McDonnell Douglas.I am grateful for all of it.
I'm not sure yet what my plans are. Rest is a part of it but I'm not retiring from life. I'll be spending more time with my family, especially my grandchildren. My wife Jeri and I have always wanted to travel, maybe we will. It seems all my life I have done the things that needed to be done, now it's time for me to to do the things I want to do,
The two photographs are 35 years apart. The first was taken in 1979, department 513, in building 80. I was working on the DC-10 outboard ailerons. The second photograph,taken earlier this year, is on the 405-AJ, department 17C, building 54. I was working on the C-17.