Air Force employee serves more than half a century

  • Published
  • By Master Sgt. Stan Parker
  • Secretary of the Air Force Public Affairs
When a 19-year-old Army recruit left New York City for Fort Dix, N.J., in 1944, he never imagined that 65 years later he would still be serving with the military.

Anthony Duno had no idea where his Army service would lead him or how long it would last, but the humbling experience of growing up during the Great Depression helped lead him to serve through adversity.

Following several years as an infantryman in Army Gen. George S. Patton's 3rd Army, he is a World War II combat veteran, having served in the Normandy campaign and the Battle of the Bulge. He also served in Europe's occupation force following the war, and was assigned to the Nuremberg Army Garrison during the Nazi trials. To this day he still has a Christmas card from General Patton hanging in his office.

Since then, Mr. Duno has been an Air Force member for almost 60 years. Most notably as U.S. Air Forces in Europe's real estate chief, making him the second longest serving Air Force civilian.

But it's not longevity that's driving Mr. Duno; it's his desire to continue to serve Airmen and their families.

"The money that we get from the sales of our leased property back to local governments, gives our Airmen an opportunity to enjoy the fruits of their labor," said Mr. Duno, who turned 84 in July. "Anything that involves assisting them and their families with a better lifestyle is what I am all about."

Mr. Duno has been personally involved in the entire Air Force post-Cold War base drawdown. He was requested by name to testify before Congress on European leasing issues in 1991. During the numerous decades as a civil servant, Mr. Duno has been a significant contributor in infrastructure projects.

He is credited with leading facility turnover and residual value negotiations with host nations for closures of Torrejon Air Base, Spain, Rhein-Main AB, Germany, and bases in Morocco, Turkey, Greece and Italy. The Comiso AB, Sicily, project alone took five years for him to negotiate with the Italian ministry of defense.

Even with nearly 60 years of Air Force service, Mr. Duno makes it no secret that he plans to work as long as the Air Force will have him.

"It's the quality of life projects that are really motivation for continuing to work," Mr. Duno said. "Life is about service. I think it's something that a great nation is entitled to."

During a recent office call, Secretary of the Air Force Michael B. Donley commended Mr. Duno for his life of service and remarked he is a shining example of its strong calling.

"It's a great honor to meet someone who has served our country this long," Secretary Donley said. "It's a remarkable career and we wish you many more years of successful service."

Slowing down doesn't seem to be in the cards for Mr. Duno, who brags about his recipe for life.

"My whole charge in life is to live with three moderations: don't eat too much, don't drink too much and most importantly, do something (physically) with your body," he said.