MARINE CORPS AIR STATION YUMA, Ariz. --
MARINE CORPS AIR STATION YUMA, Ariz. (Oct. 23, 2017) – It’s been a long 32 years for Environmental Specialist William “Bill” Shepherd. Shepherd started serving the U.S. government at MCAS Yuma in 1985 and recently retired Oct. 19, 2017. Thirty-two years of loyal service was more than just a job to Bill Shepherd, it was an opportunity to meet great people and create lasting memories.
The 65-year-old Yuma native began his career at the Yuma Desalting Test Facility at the age of 19 and was hired at MCAS Yuma shortly after as a Water Plant Operator. Eventually, Shepherd wanted to get more experience doing different things so he advanced to the environmental department and served faithfully there for 14 years.
On a daily basis, Shepherd’s job included a variety of tasks like sampling the water to make sure it was safe for Marines, Sailors, and their families to drink. Other times, he may have received phone calls about big spills or plane crashes. Shepherd’s eyes widened as he described how he enjoyed his profession.
“It’s been a pretty good career choice,” said Shepherd.
He also loved serving service members and working alongside his coworkers. Shepherd never served in the military, but appreciated the sacrifices service members made and was glad he could help in any way possible.
“The comradery that’s in the Marine Corps, I got to share a lot of that,” explained Shepherd. “Meeting different people from all over the country is kind of cool to see.”
Shepherd said he was fortunate enough to work with a lot of good people, whether they were military service members or his civilian coworkers. Shepherd and his coworkers believed in having a little fun at work so they would joke around and prank each other from time to time. One time he filled up cups with water, and placed them all over his boss’s desk so he could not move anything without dumping one cup into another.
Shepherd’s smile brightened as he said, “It’s always cool to lighten things up and have a little fun in the office because everything can be so serious in environmental.”
After his retirement, Shepherd and his wife plan on moving to the Phoenix area to be with his children and 10 grandchildren. Shepherd said he is glad to have had this opportunity to work for the government and meet so many amazing people.
Shepherd’s last advice to his fellow coworkers and Marines was, “find what you really love to do and then try and make a living in it, if you possibly can.”
Thanks to Shepherd’s 32 years of faithful service at MCAS Yuma, not only does everyone on station have safe drinking water for the desert heat but overall, it is environmentally safe for Marines, Sailors, and their families.