Hubble retires 2nd time after 33 years of service

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Chris Massey
  • 434th Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs

Most military members, for one reason or another, don’t stay in until retirement, but for one member of the Hoosier Wing, retirement came twice.

Chief Master Sgt. Carl Hubbell, 434th Logistics Readiness Squadron chief enlisted manager and superintendent, retired for the second time after 33 years of combined service.

Hubbell, a native of Centralia, Illinois, first enlisted in the U.S. Air Force February of 1980 with an open job and was selected for special vehicle mechanic, specifically working on fire trucks.

It must have been the right fit because, within 3 years, the student became the teacher. He held the title of instructor for around 12 years of his 15-year career.

“Whoever did the job selections at basic training, I owe them everything I have,” said Hubbell.  “That training parlayed into successful Air Force and civilian careers for me. I’m very fortunate for that.”

But all good things must come to an end.

During the drawdown in the 90s, Hubbell took advantage of an early-retirement option when he became eligible in March of 1995.

When the events of 9/11 occurred, he felt like he needed to do more. 

His son had also enlisted in the Army, and he wanted to serve alongside him.

The itch to return to service was there so he reached out to a recruiter.

Because of the unique situation of him having once retired, medical clearances and waivers, it was a 13-month process to re-enlist as a Reservist, before finally making it back in October of 2002.

Since he was still working with fire trucks as a civilian, he was able to get in under the indispensability policy while maintaining his skill level and came back a technical sergeant.

He came back in as a mechanic, worked as a first sergeant and then superintendent, working his way up to the highest enlisted rank of chief master sergeant.

Again, all good things must come to an end.

High year of tenure forced his hand to retire this time.

His final day has him just 6 days shy of 33-years of combined service.

His advice for maintaining his longevity was, “Be genuine. Make sure it’s right for you and understand yourself so you can help other folks.”

During his retirement ceremony, it was difficult to keep a dry eye as countless Airman, young and old, stood up to express their appreciation for his leadership and mentorship.

Hubbell was humbled by their sentiments.

“I want to thank everyone for their time and what they’ve done for me during my career, especially early on,” Hubbell said. “I hope I’ve carried it forward—the guidance that was afforded to me. I hope I paid it forward and I hope the ones I’ve helped are able to do the same”

During his next chapter, Hubbell plans to work a few more years with his civilian employer.

Hubbell has worked for Oshkosh Airport Products for 15 years in their field service division working with firefighting and snow removal equipment. His job entails operator and maintenance training, delivery training and assembly, warranty repairs and annual inspections.

“My employers have always been supportive of my time with the military, especially during inspections and exercises when I had to be [at Grissom] more than I was at work,” Hubbell said.  “It’s befitting that I’m able to continue working with them and dedicate time back to them.”

Now, with his weekends free, he’ll also be spending a little more time with his 1961 Volkswagen Beetle and hanging out in his back yard.

434th ARW is the largest KC-135R Stratotanker unit in the Air Force Reserve Command. The Citizen Airmen from the Hoosier Wing routinely deploy around the world in support of the Air Force mission.

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