Dynamic duo retires after 74 years of service
By Airman 1st Class Katherine Windish , 11th Wing Public Affairs
/ Published August 28, 2009
AIR FORCE DISTRICT OF WASHINGTON -- With a combined total service in the United States government of more than74 years between them, John Sterle and Timothy Compton earned the Outstanding Civilian Career Service Awards upon their retirement Aug. 27. This was a second retirement for each of them, their first taking place upon retirement from active duty military service after 30 and 26 years of service respectively as chief master sergeants in the United States Air Force Band.
"Together they have been responsible for personally scheduling five presidential inaugurations, three state funerals, over 20,000 other funerals, white house events, memorial dedications and ceremonies for every major department in the United States government," said Chief Master Sgt. Daniel Jacobs, 11th Operations Group superintendent.
"They have labored tirelessly on behalf of the Air Force, their community and their nation," said Chaplain (Col.) Charlie Stutts, Air Force chaplaincy, during the ceremony.
Mr. Sterle's daughter, Carolyn Brubaker, spoke about her father instilling patriotism, hard work and setting the example for his four children.
The theme throughout the ceremony, from all retirement speakers was one of admiration for the pair's steadfast and fastidious service.
"They have been our constants, our bedrock throughout all these years," said Lt. Col. Raymond Powell, Honor Guard commander.
The two have seen several 11th OG commanders come and go. Although the newest commander has only worked with Mr. Sterle and Mr. Compton since July, Col. Jeffrey Swegel took notice of the dynamic duo.
"Even before I knew all the intricate workings of the group, there was never a worry in my mind that anything was in danger of going awry in their hands," he said. "Never was there a doubt in my mind that everything was on track. They are the corporate knowledge and nerve center of the 11th Ops Group and they will be sorely missed."
All speakers at their retirement agreed on many things, including that their commitment is an example to follow.
Retired Col. Theresa Mcclure, former 11th OG deputy commander, and someone who had worked with Mr. Sterle and Mr. Compton said that long ago "staying with one company for an entire career was the norm time and how times have changed for our progressive society." She commented on how staying in the same career for a lifetime was extremely rare in this mobile society, "which makes what these two gentlemen have done even more valuable," she said. "They stayed with what they loved, not for the highest pay, but because they believed in an ideal."
"The Air Force Band is the finest musical organization in the world, civilian or military," said Mr. Sterle. "To be associated with an organization like that is a one-of-a-kind job."
Both the Air Force Band and the Honor Guard have been a part of their lives for a long time.
"The Honor Guard is constantly changing with fresh, new young people coming in all the time," said Mr. Compton. "Although what I do is very much in the background, I am honored to contribute to such an outstanding organization."
"Both gentlemen have demonstrated unwavering commitment to service of our country and our wing's mission," said Col. Jon Roop, 11th Wing commander. "They are the bedrock from which we project musical and ceremonial support. This concludes two courageously selfless careers whose hallmarks are character, family and friendship. They will be missed."