Closing up shop: Grissom bids farewell to CMSgt Richard Scully

  • Published
  • By Tech Sgt. Courtney Dotson-Essett
  • 434th Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs

You don’t have to be a maintainer to know Chief Master Sgt. Richard Scully. His white hair is unmistakable, his smile warm, and he’s quick with a kind word.

He’s been a part of Grissom Air Reserve base for more than 35 years. Chances are, he’s crossed paths with most Airmen here.

The Maintenance Superintendent with the 434th Air Refueling Wing’s Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, has now left the docks for the last time, retiring after more than 35 years of service.

Scully has loved his time in the Air Force. However, he didn’t grow up dreaming of aircraft and dress blues. His mother and father were both in the Navy and he and his family moved frequently. He considers Virginia his home and it was there, that he enlisted in the Air Force.

“Coming out of high school, I just wasn’t sure what I wanted to do,” said Scully.  “I knew I didn’t want to be on a ship for six months, as I had seen my dad do and the Army wasn’t appealing to me.”

“The Air Force became my choice. The Air Force has given me tremendous opportunity and it was one of the better decisions I’ve ever made,” he said.

His graduation from technical school landed him at Grissom in 1985 and he’s been here ever since.

It’s no wonder Scully has a deep-seated affection for the 434th ARW.

Scully enlisted as open electronics, and became an avionics instrument specialist, now known as guidance and control. In 1994, he spent some time in the military personnel flight, working in customer service, before becoming a quality assurance inspector in AMXS.

Scully soared through the ranks, mentoring Airmen along the way while in his private life caring for his wife, a daughter and a son who would later follow in his footsteps and join the Air Force.

He’s deployed in support of conflicts in Panama, the Gulf War and the attacks of September 11, 2001.

Even though he’s spent his entire 35 plus years at the same duty station, he still appreciates every day he drove through the front gate and every experience he’s had at Grissom.

“I have a great fondness for this place,” said Scully. “I’ve seen it change over the years from a full-fledged strategic air command base, down to 16 aircraft and a reserve unit.”

“Sometimes, I wonder what could have been if I had gone somewhere else and worked a different air frame, but I really do appreciate the KC-135,” he continued.  “We’re similar- me and the aircraft. Even though it’s been around the Air Force a little longer, we’ve changed over the years but we’ve kind of grown together. I’ve spent a large chunk of time working on it and I have a fondness for the aircraft.”

He loves the aircraft but he said it’s the people he’ll miss the most.

“The amazing thing about the reserves is that we all come together on the weekend and there’s such a diversity of thought and lifestyles,” said Scully. “On the weekends, you have the opportunity to sit down with someone from the inner city or a farmer or doctor. You don’t get to do that in too many walks of life.”

For the Airmen who continue to serve after him, he has a few words of departing wisdom.

“My one biggest piece of advice is to listen. When you’re having a conversation with someone, tune out everything else and be present and listen,” said Scully.  “You’re either going to find out something you didn’t know and learn something or hear something that will allow you to provide assistance to that person. Really listening and paying attention in those conversations is beneficial.”

Scully attended his last commander’s call and the January Unit Training Assembly was his last.  He’s looking forward to spending time with his wife, children and four grandchildren.

“I think when we’re done with our service, we owe that time back to our families, “he said. “That’s something that I’m really excited to do. Who knows what else is on the horizon? There’s always opportunities and things to do.”