OG secretary retires after 29 commanders, 41 years

  • Published
  • By Capt Paula Bissonette
  • Public Affairs
In 1963 a postage stamp was four cents, John F. Kennedy was president and Donna Golliver began working for the Air Force.
Mrs. Golliver ended her 41-year career with the Air Force Thursday during a retirement ceremony at the Vance Club.
Mrs. Golliver has worked most of her 41 years as secretary to the 71st Operations Group commander. In fact, she has seen at least 29 commanders come and go during her time in the OG.
"Donna is an icon," said Lt Col Miles Crowell, deputy commander of the 71st Operations Group. "She has been the bedrock of the operations group front office for years and years and years. She's been here since the beginning of this organization as a training group."
For people who know or have worked with Mrs. Golliver, her retirement comes as somewhat of a surprise since she's overcome so much, including a heart attack and most recently, a broken kneecap, to continue working. The combination of illnesses helped Mrs. Golliver with her decision to retire.
"It's been getting more difficult to get around and with winter coming I knew it was only going to get worse, so I decided this would be a good time to retire," she said.
Mrs. Golliver plans to stay in Enid after retirement. She and her family come from a true pioneer background and have lived in Oklahoma for generations. Her father came to Perry, Okla., in a covered wagon after the Cherokee Strip opened and bought land there. Mrs. Golliver, along with her six brothers and sisters, was born and raised in Perry. She raised her children here in Enid. She has two daughters, Kim and Tamara, and four grandchildren, Kayla 17, Mathew 12, Stephanie 13 and Michael 8 all residing in Oklahoma City, which is where she began her illustrious career with the Air Force at Tinker AFB.
After a brief stay at Tinker AFB, Mrs. Golliver began working at Vance AFB in the publications and forms office and then went on to work contract surveillance, education, secretary for chief of personnel, reporting stenographer for operations group and then finally moved into her current position in 1967.
During her four decades at Vance AFB she has seen a lot of change and progress.
"The biggest change I've seen is when they first started letting women into the pilot training program, I couldn't believe the girls were so brave to go through all that," Mrs. Golliver said. "After that the biggest change has been the computer; I had to learn how to do my job on them since I had only worked on manual and then electric typewriters."
Mrs. Golliver embraced all the changes brought about by the years with the skill and grace that have made her name synonymous with the operations group.
"Every commander will bring his own personality to the group, but Donna's the one who keeps the transitions a little bit smoother," Colonel Crowell said. "Donna's just a very kind woman. She kind of looks out for everybody. It's going to be a big change."
Mrs. Golliver doesn't leave the base without fond memories of all the men and women she's worked with over the past 41 years.
"My fondest memory will be the people that I worked for, I have memories of all of them, and I have no really bad memories, they always treated me very well and I enjoyed all of them," she said.
Even though her feelings on retirement are mixed, Mrs. Golliver's plans include relaxing, traveling and spending more time with her grandchildren.
"I'm sad about this, it makes me sad that I've reached a point where I should retire, it's kind of hard mainly because I won't be associated with all the younger people that I've worked with, I think they keep you young and I'll miss that."