LSD civilian-Marine, Vietnam veteran retires after 30 years

30 Dec 2010 | Pamela Jackson

After three decades of serving his country through military and civil service, one civilian-Marine and Vietnam Veteran celebrated the holidays with a retirement ceremony Dec. 22.

James E. Jefferson, material handler, Direct Support Stock Control, Logistics Support Division, began his career at Marine Corps Logistics Base, Albany on Oct. 22, 1996, as a preservation packer for the Defense Logistics Agency.

Looking forward to retirement, Jefferson said he is not really sure what he will do, but more than likely some things he never got to do for the past 30 years.

“I plan to move back home to Memphis with my wife of 43 years, Yvonne. Home is where we belong because both of our families and sons are there,” he said. "We will take one day at a time and enjoy life as retirees.”

A former meat cutter and packer for several years, Jefferson started work for DLA in Memphis, Tenn., in October 1985 before being transferred here.

“In addition to working in the weapons sections preserving equipment that came in on maritime prepositioning ships, my job was to preserve the equipment and supplies that were sent back out to the warfighters,” Jefferson said, noting that weapons, supplies and other equipment would rotate in every three or four years and after they were repaired, he would re-pack them for shipment.

He then went to work for DSSC in 1998 as a hazardous material handler. Some of these materials include air dusters, oil, acid, batteries and salt used in the boiler rooms.

Reuben Duckworth, warehouse supervisor, said Jefferson is missed because he was an outstanding employee who was very soft-spoken and friendly, but one who also loved to joke around with his co-workers.

Echoing those same sentiments was fellow material handler, Billy Bryant.

“I couldn’t have asked for a better partner to work with and his core values are something to be admired,” Bryant said. “He is very dependable, honest, and loyal and will be sorely missed.”

Long before Jefferson came to work here, he served two tours of duty in the U.S. Army.

“I was drafted in 1962 right after graduation from Carver High School in Memphis, Tenn. I reported on March 3, 1963, and was sent to basic training and advanced individual training at Fort Polk, La.,” Jefferson said. “After completing jump school, I was stationed at Fort Bragg, N.C., until my tour of duty ended in early 1965.”

Jefferson said he took a short break after his first tour and re-enlisted in May 1965 because he enjoyed the military life.

“On my second tour, I was sent to the 7th Infantry unit at Stuttgart, Germany. After about 22 months there, I received a call that I was being sent to Vietnam. I was transferred with my unit to Fort Campbell, Ky., to prepare for deployment,” he said. “I arrived in Vietnam Dec. 7, 1967, and remained there until December 1968 and served during three campaigns.”

Jefferson said he returned to Fort Bragg after Vietnam and ended his career there May 2, 1969. His personal decorations include two Good Conduct Medals, National Defense Medal, Vietnam Service Medal, Vietnam campaign medal/with three major campaign stars, Combat Infantryman Badge, Army Commendation Medal and two Bronze Star Medals, one of which was for Valor.

During one of the Vietnam campaigns, he said, “while the helicopter was under fire, five or six of the soldiers with me were hit, so I went in under fire and brought them back to safety.”

Jefferson said he will miss the people he has worked with the most, but his time here was enjoyable because he was still able to be a part of those still serving in harm’s way.

Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany