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At Atsugi Naval Air Facility, Petty Officer 1st Class Patrick McCullagh, Chief Petty Officer William Dyer, Petty Officer 1st Class Victor Frazee, Chief Petty Officer Glenda Hicks, Petty Officer 1st Gomes Acosta Jr., Petty Officer 1st Class Ricky Mango, and Chief Petty Officer Emmanuel Locsin retire in a rare ceremony together. All of them are friends and have a combined 150 years of service.

At Atsugi Naval Air Facility, Petty Officer 1st Class Patrick McCullagh, Chief Petty Officer William Dyer, Petty Officer 1st Class Victor Frazee, Chief Petty Officer Glenda Hicks, Petty Officer 1st Gomes Acosta Jr., Petty Officer 1st Class Ricky Mango, and Chief Petty Officer Emmanuel Locsin retire in a rare ceremony together. All of them are friends and have a combined 150 years of service. (Jim Schulz / S&S)

ATSUGI NAVAL AIR FACILITY, Japan — For Chief Petty Officer William Dyer, there was no choice, really. His next assignment would take him to a ship, and as the single parent of two daughters, there was no way he could spend extended periods at sea.

In less than four months, he will hang up his Navy uniform and look for a computer job in his hometown of Durham, N.C.

“It’s time to go home,” he said, a slight southern twang still intact after 20 years in the Navy.

Dyer was among three Navy chief petty officers and four petty officers first class with a combined 150 years of service who retired during a 90-minute ceremony at NAF Atsugi on Friday. The seven leave knowing they could be called back to serve their country at any time: Each was accepted into the Naval Reserve.

For Petty Officer 1st Class Victor Frazee, membership in the Reserve means he’ll receive 50 percent of his current salary for the next eight years. But, “I’m also on call for the next eight years,” he said.

Sure, it’s possible he could be recalled, he said, but Frazee, like the others, is more focused on making a new life outside the Navy.

Chief Petty Officer Glenda Hicks will be the first of the seven to depart Atsugi. An information systems technician, her last day on the job is Saturday.

“I’m so excited that I’m going home to see my husband and my baby,” Hicks exclaimed in a brief speech during the ceremony. Her husband, a Navy senior chief petty officer, and daughter, Lynsey, await in Corpus Christi, Texas.

After nearly 20 years in the Navy, Hicks wants nothing more than to be a “soccer mom.”

“She wants me to be like all the other moms,” Hicks said, referring to her daughter. “They pick their kids up from school. I can’t — I’m at work.”

The family of Petty Officer 1st Class Patrick McCullagh also is waiting — in the Philippines, where McCullagh said he bought a beach and is building a house.

“Old age is creeping up on me,” said the 50-year-old Vietnam War veteran. “It’s about time for me to drink some beer and go to a beach.”

The other three retirees were Chief Petty Officer Emmanuel Locsin, Petty Officer 1st Class Ricky Mango and Petty Officer 1st Class Gomes Acosta Jr.

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Jennifer reports on the U.S. military from Kaiserslautern, Germany, where she writes about the Air Force, Army and DODEA schools. She’s had previous assignments for Stars and Stripes in Japan, reporting from Yokota and Misawa air bases. Before Stripes, she worked for daily newspapers in Wyoming and Colorado. She’s a graduate of the College of William and Mary in Virginia.
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