By Mrs. Jennifer Bacchus (AMC)August 16, 2012
ANNISTON ARMY DEPOT, Ala. -- In 1977, the average home cost about $49,000; the Atari 2600 was released, ushering in the era of home video gaming systems; and the first Apple II computers went on sale. The World Trade Center was completed that year and at the movies Star Wars IV: A New Hope and Rocky were box office knockouts.
Also in 1977, 67 individuals who currently work at Anniston Army Depot began their federal careers.
But, if you think that is impressive, it's nothing compared to the 100 individuals who come to work here every day who were already in their second, third or fifth year of service in 1977.
As of this month, there are 167 depot employees who have given at least 35 years of service to the federal government - roughly five percent of the total workforce. They range from supervisors and directors to small arms repairers and include The Morning Show's producer, Stan Bobo.
Some began their time in service with the military, while others spent their entire career in Anniston.
No matter how their time in service began, each of them has had an impact here.
Garry Pope and Brenda Jackson are two examples. Both have worked in many different areas of the depot during their career.
Pope began his 35-year career in missile guidance and fire control in the ammunition area before transferring into vehicle maintenance.
"I've worked on a lot of different vehicles and equipment," he said.
Pope now works as a capacity planner in the Directorate of Production Management. He said he's enjoyed working at the depot because of the sense of purpose it gives him.
"When you first take a job here, you don't always understand what you do to protect Soldiers' lives. Once you realize that, though, you want to make things better," he said. "I want to give back the best way I can.
Jackson, who works as a quality assurance specialist in the Directorate of Engineering and Quality, began her career of 36 years as a parts puller.
Through the years she has worked in a variety of buildings and in a number of roles. She said some simple advice can help those just beginning their career.
"Come to work on time and love what you are doing," said Jackson.
Tim Stewart was hired in February of 1974 as a mechanic. Throughout his 36 years on the installation, he has overhauled or rebuilt a number of vehicle platforms as he moved up the ranks to the position he holds now -- division chief for the Tracked Systems Division.
Through all the roles he has had at ANAD, he is most proud of his time as supervisor of the Paladin/FAASV line in the Combat Vehicle Repair Facility.
"The reason I am so proud of this assembly line is the outstanding group of leaders, planners, parts support and personnel we had and the dedication we were able to amass as a team to be successful," said Stewart. "We were given free rein to develop our own processes, set up the assembly lines as a one-piece flow pull system and we ended up winning the Shingo silver medallion and saving the Army over 200 hours per FAASV and over 120 hours per Paladin."