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Keesler couple retires together
John Madden, 338th Training Squadron, and his wife, Judy Madden, 81st Training Squadron, retire Aug. 31, 2012, at Keesler Air Force Base, Miss., with a combined 72 years of federal service. John has devoted 46 years to the Air Force – 27 years on active duty and 19 years as a civilian. Judy has worked as a federal employee for 26 years. (U.S. Air Force photo by Kemberly Groue)
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Keesler couple retires together

Posted 9/4/2012   Updated 9/4/2012 Email story   Print story


by Susan Griggs
81st Training Wing Public Affairs

9/4/2012 - KEESLER AIR FORCE BASE, Miss. -- John and Judy Madden retired Friday from the 81st Training Group with a combined 72 years of federal service and have a ceremony scheduled for today.

John has devoted 46 years to the Air Force - 27 years on active duty and 19 years as a civilian. Judy has worked as a federal employee for 26 years.

"I think John is one of the original 'tell it like it is guys,'" said Stanley Hall, 338th Training Squadron training support flight chief. "John has been a mainstay in the 338th TRS from the day he arrived. He took his experience and knowledge as a chief master sergeant and brought that leadership into the training environment. If you need an accurate, gutsy decision that produces results, he's your guy."

John joined the Air Force in 1964 as a computer maintenance trainee. His first assignment was with the 632nd Radar Squadron, Roanoke Rapids Air Force Station, N.C. Roanoke Rapids was Judy's hometown. They met in 1967 and married the following year.

From 1969-72, John was assigned to Fort Lee AFS, Va. He served in Southeast Asia from 1972-73 and participated in Operation Linebacker 11, the last major operation of the Vietnam Conflict, as a member of the 7th Airborne Command and Control Squadron, Royal Thai Air Force Base.

The Maddens came to Keesler in 1973, where John handled various communications electronics maintenance duties. Judy worked at the main exchange and later as a bookkeeper at the base service station and an insurance clerk at a local physician's office.

In 1980, the family headed to Kapaun Air Station, Germany. As part of the U.S. Air Forces in Europe European Communications Division, John was responsible for nuclear command and control systems and the bed-down of the cruise missiles in the European theater.

The Maddens headed to Offutt AFB, Neb., in 1982. John served as chief of computer maintenance for Headquarters Strategic Air Command and Judy spent a semester at Bellevue College.

When they came back to Keesler in 1983, John was the maintenance superintendent for the 2052nd Communications Group until he retired in 1991.

In the meantime, Judy came to work at Keesler in 1986 as an instructor's aide as part of Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College's co-op program. She earned a bachelor's degree in business administration from the University of Southern Mississippi in 1988.

Judy taught the basic personnel course in the 335th TRS until 1990, when she moved to what is now the 81st TRSS as a faculty development instructor for four years. After teaching the basic communications-computer course in the 333rd TRS for a year, she was selected as an instructor in the advanced communication officer course, moving up to ACOT training specialist in 1999. She returned to the 81st TRSS in 2005 to assume her current position as training specialist for the qualification training flight.

"Judy's revision of the curriculum developers training program generated a production output increase of 55 percent," said her supervisor, Lawrence Monroe. "As an instructional systems development expert, 21 Air Force job qualification standards and qualification training packages covering 11 cyber career fields were phase developed in 50 percent of the prior time."

John spent his first two years of retirement completing his bachelor's degree in management information systems from USM. He began his civilian career at Keesler in 1993 as a precision measurement equipment laboratory technician in the 81st Logistics Squadron. He was hired in 1995 as an electronics instructor in computer maintenance in the 336th TRS.

When the course moved to the 338th TRS, he was promoted to computer maintenance instructor in 1996, training specialist in 1997, training development element chief in 2000 and his current position of training manager almost 11 years ago.

John takes great pride in working with dedicated professionals to meet two major training challenges - directing the development of training that merged the computer and crypto maintenance career fields in the 2000-2001 timeframe and his involvement in the 81st TRG's cyber workforce transformation in 2009.

"The merger resulted in a recurring $19 million annual training cost savings, and our team earned the 2001 Air Force Productivity Excellence Award," John pointed out. "In the cyber workforce transformation, we reduced our communications electronic maintenance Air Force Specialty Codes from 10 to five. My portion involved integrating skill sets from six separate AFSCs into the radio frequency transmission systems AFSC."

Judy says her favorite thing about working in a training environment has been making a difference and meeting great students.

"I've taught non-prior service Airmen, enlisted and officer instructors and comm officers - each group presented its own set of rewards and challenges," she explained. "The NPS Airmen responded to being told they were entering a new life and appreciated any help. The instructors wanted to learn their craft and do well, and the officers were smart and kept us on our toes.

"The Maddens agreed that the best thing about working at Keesler is its people.

"It would be extremely difficult to find a better group of people in one place," John insisted.

"It's the sense of integrity, the pride of a job well done and the willingness to go the extra step to make it happen," Judy added.

The Maddens will remain in Ocean Springs after they retire. In addition to spending more time with their two daughters and their grandchildren, John is looking forward to traveling, golf, fishing, shooting and other outdoor activities. Judy plans to continue her involvement with community theater and advocacy of the arts in the local area.

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