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The Telegram
  • After 55 years of service, Booth retires from Air Force

  • Edwin Booth has dedicated his life to service in the U. S. Air Force — as a military and civilian employee.

    Now after totaling over 55 years of service, Booth has retired.

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  • Edwin Booth has dedicated his life to service in the U. S. Air Force — as a military and civilian employee.
    Now after totaling over 55 years of service, Booth has retired.
    On Monday, his first full day as a retiree, he said it was going pretty slow.
    “I’m getting used to not driving,” said the Ilion resident, who has been commuting to Fort Drum in Watertown since 1998.
    Booth first joined the Air Force in 1955 when he was 18 years old. Though he was originally from Ilion, he was living in Phoenix in Oswego County when he graduated from high school. From there, he went to basic training at Sampson Air Force Base, south of Geneva in Ontario County.
    Booth spent 20 years in the Air Force after training in a special weapons school where he learned about bombers, tankers and fighters. He served in Vietnam, Congo, Lebanon and Cuba, and spent a number of years in Europe.
    “I love to fly,” he said. “I didn’t end up flying as much. It’s just something I wanted to do.”
    Booth said his step-father was in the Army Air Corps in World War II, which developed his love for airplanes. He started making model airplanes at eight-years-old.
    After 20 years in the military, he retired as a master sergeant. He then continued to serve the Air Force as a civilian at the former Griffiss Air Force Base in Rome where he was an assistant air field manager. He worked there from 1978 to July 1998, when the base closed.
    When Griffiss closed, he started working at Fort Drum.
    Now, after turning 75 on Sept. 18 — which is also the same birthday of the Air Force — he decided it was time to retire.
    “I haven’t really absorbed the fact that I no longer have to get up and go to work,” he said last Thursday.
    A retirement breakfast was held for him on Friday at Fort Drum.
    He said his total time of service to the Air Force as a military and civilian employee totals 55 years, six months and 16 days.
    Booth said he didn’t have any big plans for retirement, but his wife has a “hell of a long list for me to do,” he said with a laugh.
    Booth has lived in Ilion since he and his wife, Christine, moved there in 1975. They had three children together.
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