GLENDALE, Ariz. — The U.S. Air Force has wished its longest-serving civil servant a hearty good luck.
With friends and family by her side, 88-year-old Dorothy M. Rowe officially retired from the Air Force Tuesday, ending her 70-year-career. A luncheon was held in her honor where she received letters of congratulations from both President Barack Obama and Arizona Senator John McCain.
Acting Secretary of the Air Force Eric Fanning called Rowe a trailblazer.
“When she first joined the government in 1943, women just weren’t eligible for the same opportunities as men,” Fanning said. “By those standards, it would be unheard of for a woman to be the Chief of Financial Analysis, responsible for millions of dollars of base funds.”
But that’s exactly what she did.
Rowe worked at Luke Air Force base for 60 years after moving to Arizona in 1953.
Rowe said the job has kept her busy.
“I sweat those numbers every year,” she remarked.
Fanning said that Rowe has seen a lot of people come and go.
“She has served under 13 presidents,” said Fanning. “She’s seen Luke transition between four different major commands, and she has worked for over 40 different wing commanders.”
During all of that time, Rowe also accomplished something away from the base. She is a champion bowler, and her name is in the National Bowling Hall of Fame in St. Louis, Mo.
Rowe said she still has to decide what she’ll do next, but whatever it is, she said it will be “a wild adventure.”