Glenn Barbee's Story
The Civilian Years (1975-1998)
I retired from the U.S. Navy in 1975 after 22 years of service. I was 39 years old and had to think about being a civilian for the first time in my adult life. It was quite an adjustment. As a second career, I initially chose the easy route. I went to work for a Navy contractor who built military equipment I already knew well. I was a technical rep at a Navy Base and we lived near Charleston, South Carolina, for the next five years.
It was during this time that I had a chance to further my education through the programs available at the Navy Base and also at Charleston Air Force Base. I received a Master's Degree from Webster College (St. Louis) and a second Master's from Southern Illinois University (Edwardsville). My MS is in education and my MA focused on business management.
As our son was graduating from high school in 1980, I put some resumes on the street and wound up going to work for a company based on Long Island, New York. They had just been acquired by United Technologies Corp. and I ultimately wound up in UTC's Hamilton Standard Division based in Windsor Locks, Connecticut. Hamilton Standard is a famous maker of airplane propellers and is still a major player in that field. The product line today includes a wide variety of accessory components on commercial jet aircraft. Another famous, but not widely known, product of Hamilton Standard is the space suit used by astronauts for space walks.
Of the eighteen years I spent with this corporation, more than fourteen of them were spent as the customer support representative in Tokyo, Japan. My wife, Ayako, was born and raised in Japan, so this was an unplanned and unforeseen high point for her.
My work was almost totally involved with the commercial airlines in Japan. My office was at Haneda Airport near Tokyo. I represented my company and worked with the airline engineers and managers to assist them in safely maintaining the Hamilton Standard components on the airplanes. It was a job I truly enjoyed every day I did it.
Hamilton Standard has since merged with Sundstrand Corporation and the name is now UTC Aerospace Systems. It will always be Hamilton Standard to me.
In the early 1990's, we started looking for a place that would be our home in retirement. With the help of our son, who lives near Atlanta, we found our ideal spot in northeast Georgia. We bought our lakeside home in 1992.
In the summer of 1998, with my 62nd birthday coming up, we made the decision to return to the United States and retire. We came back to our home here on beautiful Lake Hartwell and it's been great. As a friend said recently, "If I had known retirement was going to be this great, I never would have started to work in the first place!"
Contact: Glenn Barbee
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