With more than 44 years of federal service, assignments at more than a dozen duty stations and a plethora of awards, promotions and accolades, Karen Bandera has decided it is time hang up her lanyard and retire.Since beginning her career as a GS-3 clerk typist in the motor pool at Fort Huachuca, Arizona, Bandera has seen a great many technological advancements, personnel changes and a wide variety of scenery.“Back in the ‘Dark Ages’ we actually used typewriters because there was no such thing as computers or even word processors,” said Bandera. “It has been a fascinating career with [Department of the Army], Missile Defense Agency, Defense Logistics Agency and the Office of Personnel Management at 13 different duty stations.”Col. Rich Martin, U.S. Aviation and Missile Command chief of staff, said Bandera will be missed and praised her hard work, servant leadership and the personal touch she brought to her work.“I want to thank Ms. Bandera for her incredible service to our nation,” said Martin. “For more than 40 years, she built a legacy that will endure for future generations of civil servants. She is leaving an indelible mark on AMCOM and [Army Materiel Command] that will ensure we carry on our ‘Tradition of Excellence’ and I wish her well in the next chapter of her life.”Over the course of more than four decades of public service, Bandera spent 42 years in human resources and focused on areas such as hiring, pay, leadership development and establishing processes and guidance to make it all work fairly.Bandera said there are many things she will miss about being an Army civilian, and helping people is at the top of that list.“As I think back over my career, what stands out the most are the times I was able to make a difference for an employee or their family,” said Bandera. “Helping with a question, easing the pain of a family loss, finding employees a position during a reduction-in-force or being involved with the Warriors Walk at Fort Stewart [Georgia] are just a few of the highlights.”Bandera has served as the U.S. Army Aviation and Missile Command G-1 director for the past 10 years – her longest assignment – and expressed gratitude to the leaders that have mentored her throughout her career, with special thanks to AMCOM leadership.Bandera said she is incredibly proud of the experiences she had and the people she met along the way and that it’s been an honor to work with such a devoted and passionate group of people.“To the leadership of [American Federation of Government Employees] Local 1858, thank you for reaching across the table to partner in helping employees,” said Bandera. “For my staff, both current and former members, thank you from the bottom of my heart for all that you have done, for your patience with me, your honest input, and your ability to persevere even in difficult times. You are all amazing and I will miss you.”Although sadness often accompanies the end of a distinguished career like Bandera’s, she is looking forward and excited at the prospect of spending more time focusing on her family history and the potential for world travel.“My family has an interesting history,” said Bandera. “Two of my ancestors were Italian revolutionaries in the 1800s. I’m excited to learn more about them and may even have to make a trip to Italy!”From the AMCOM family, we want to say “Ti auguriamo buona fortuna!” (We wish you good fortune.)