WARNER ROBINS, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) – Jewel Golphin has outlasted most of the 120 laborers who started out working with him at Robins Air Force Base in 1955.
Golphin is an army and air force veteran, who served in the Vietnam War. He says, because of his military background it was easy for him to secure a job at the air force base.
"We were Korean veterans and so if you were a veteran you could just about walk in the base and work," says Golphin. "It wasn't a hold lot of red tape to go through. You would meet up in the morning time and they would assign you different jobs."
Robins Air Force Base was built in the 1940's. He says in those days employees had to park their cars on Front Street and walk down a dirt road to get to the base.
"We didn't have any insurance so everybody walked in," says Golphin. "Really they tighten up on insurance until about 1966, 67. That's when people started getting insurance and you could drive on the base.
Golphin has worked with the 78th Civil Engineering Group, for the last 35 years, as a roofer. He has worked as a light vehicle operator, forklift operator, power saw operator, and crater.
"We built all the card board boxes, whatever it took to ship stuff out," he says. "We would build the crates for it."
He also worked as a woodworker and Pattern Maker. Most of the jobs he has held are now displayed at Robins Air Force Base Aviation Museum.
"Then, I was a pattern manager for five to six years designing packages, making sure they were packing the right stuff," he adds.
Golphin recalls working with supplies being flown around the world in C-130, C-141 and recalls working with supplies being flown around the world in C-130, C-141 and C-17 planes. He referred to the C-141 as the "back breaker." It carried cargo to Vietnam.
"Back in those days we had a machine which, you'd build a box, and build a frame for it," he says.
Golphin explained the planes are much larger now than when he started working at the base almost 59 years ago. Therefore they are capable if carrying more cargo than before. But, that is not the only change.
"It's a little different now, because all of the supplies come wrapped in foam rubber," he adds. "It's different."
Golphin has worked on mostly all of the buildings at the base.
Now, as a roofer he troubleshoots looking for the source of water leaks. His longevity at the air force base has not gone unnoticed.
"Mr. Golphin was recently honored at the 66 annual Air Force birthday celebration here at Robins Air Force Base for his 59 years of service with the air force," says Roland Leach.
Golphin will turn 81-years-old Nov. 13, and he still enjoys going to work everyday. He is looking forward to working at the base in the future.
"I'm still working," says Golphin. "I'm not going to retire. I feel like I can do a few more years. I may stay five more I don't know."