Ceremony held to honor 79 years of service

  • Published
  • By Mark Wyatt
  • 66th Air Base Group Public Affairs

HANSCOM AIR FORCE BASE, Mass. – Base officials held a ceremony June 22 to honor Maria Bandouveres on surpassing 79 years of government service.

Several current and former Hanscom AFB employees were on hand to recognize her lengthy (and continuing) career, including Maj. Gen. Anthony Genatempo, program executive officer for Command, Control, Communications, Intelligence, and Networks.

“Thank you for everything you’ve done for all of us,” he said. “The day is absolutely about you.”

During the ceremony, Bandouveres was presented a citation on behalf of Massachusetts Gov. Maura Healey.

With the milestone, she has surpassed a former Naval Sea Systems Command employee who U.S. Navy officials believed at the time was “the longest serving civil servant in the history of the DOD [Department of Defense].” His federal career spanned nearly 78 years.

Bandouveres started her career in June 1944 as a clerk-typist to support the war effort.

During an interview with Hanscom AFB Public Affairs in 2015, she said girls at the time were encouraged to take the Civil Service Exam and work for the government.

"A lot of the girls were encouraged to take the test because many of the boys were going off to war," Bandouveres said. "I did well on the test and started working for the Army shortly after graduation."

She graduated from high school on June 6, 1944, D-Day.

Her civilian career began with filing purchase orders at the now-closed South Boston Army Station.

When World War II ended in the fall of 1945, she was transferred to the Navy Supply Corps School at Harvard University working in the disbursement office manually typing travel checks for Sailors.

She came to Hanscom AFB in the 1950s, and in 1961, accepted a job to be secretary to the then-Electronic Systems Division (and later Electronic Systems Center) commander.

In this position, Bandouveres worked for 17 of the 19 ESD/ESC commanders. She has also worked for all four C3I&N program executive officers since Air Force Life Cycle Management Center was activated in 2012. 

"I have been so lucky to have worked for so many terrific commanders," she said in 2015.

In the past several years, Bandouveres has been coined by Chiefs of Staff of the Air Force Generals Mark Welsh in 2013 and David Goldfein in 2017, and Air Force Materiel Command Generals Arnold Bunch in 2022 and Duke Z. Richardson earlier this year.

She was presented her 70-year pin by former Secretary of the Air Force Deborah Lee James in 2015. She received her 50-year pin from Gen. Ronald W. Yates, the first commander of Air Force Materiel Command, who served in that role from July 1992 to July 1995.

“I love working [at Hanscom AFB]. I have been very fortunate for the people I have met and worked for all these years,” Bandouveres said during closing remarks.