RAF MILDENHALL, England --
She enters the room with her golden curls, in a dress full of vibrant blues, greens and purples that she has worn on many prior occasions, but this was a very different one. This was a day of reflection, of memories and stories and one she knew would be the hardest of them all.
She spoke with an eloquent tone, describing the sights and sounds of a career defined by ups and downs, trials and tribulations, long days and nights; a career where one woman was able to use all of her talents to help those around her and those in need.
This is how Patricia Hall, 100th Force Support Squadron Civilian Personnel Office human resource specialist supervisor, entered the room and discussed her 53-year career working with the Ministry of Defence and the U.S. Air Force.
“I have always considered my job to be my life, and it has become a part of who I am,” Hall said. “I have lived for the days of training, looking after my employees and helping people with their needs.”
Hall, who has worked in the CPO since September 1974, knew that working with the military would be a huge part of her life from an early age, and helping those in the community would be her calling.
“Working in the CPO was a great change in my career and I am so happy with the job I have been able to do for 44 years,” She explained. “I take pride in being supportive to management, whether it was in the hiring of people, having respect for all staff members and those we worked for, and making sure I always got the job done. I always tried to ensure that my team and I were accountable, took ownership of our actions and worked together.”
Accountability, ownership and teamwork were values instilled in her at a very young age, during a time when the world was at war and Hall and her brother did their part in ensuring victory. Their father served in the British Army during World War II, and Hall remembers how living the military life set the tone for rest of her life.
“My brother Brian and I would help my father on a daily basis during the war,” She remembered. “We would either be shining belts, polishing boots or gathering wood, and I would get the special duty of cleaning my father’s rifle in exchange for time with him at the firing range.”
“I have never been used to any other world and I think living during those times drove me to want to work with the military later in life.”
Fast forward 16 years, Hall started her MoD career at RAF Feltwell Bomber Command, working in the supply squadron for five years. Thereafter, she arrived at RAF Lakenheath in November 1965, where she worked for the British staff office, and later, in the contracting office until her in departure in 1974.
“With each job I have held, whether it was at Feltwell, Lakenheath or at Mildenhall, I have been successful by utilizing checklists and keeping my people trained up,” Hall said. “I only felt good when I knew my team were being put in positions to be successful, but if they happened to be falling behind, everyone would help and assist to get the job done.”
Hall’s ability to employ checklists and ensuring proper training for her team was a crucial part of her move to RAF Mildenhall in September 1974. During this time, she worked for more than 20 personnel officers in the CPO, which allowed for her to learn how to efficiently solve problems and ensure the people always came first.
“The most important thing I learned during my time is always try and solve problems at the lowest level,” Hall said. “This allowed for me to pass on proper guidance and always allowed for me to work hard and make sure the task was done right the first time.”
Just like many people who embark on different chapters of their life, there are always those they leave behind, but the many employees and clients Hall has worked with over the years could describe her as nothing less than a legend.
“The word ‘legend’ is often overused and unjustified,” said James Taylor, 100th FSS CPO human resource specialist. “However, when it comes to Pat Hall, this word represents her achievements, longevity and the respect we all have for her in the CPO.”
After 53 years of service, Hall will now begin her retirement by spending time with family and friends in Tampa, Florida. She even said she will begin to play golf again, enjoy the sunshine and reflect on the time she has spent serving her beloved England and the U.S. Air Force.
“The thing I’ll miss the most is working alongside such great people,” Hall expressed. “I have made life-long friends, did my job to the best of my ability and made sure that I never let my team or family down. As the saying goes, this isn’t goodbye, but see you later.”