A match made in the Air Force

Veterans recall their years of service together
Nov. 08, 2013 @ 05:00 AM

Robin and Ann Woodbridge first met in the early 1970s at Lowry Air Force Base in Colorado, where they were both training in technical school after joining the United States Air Force.

"I had met Ann in passing one time while we were in Colorado, but we didn't meet again until we were both stationed in Florida," Robin said. "We started dating there and as they say, the rest is history."

Born and raised in Tupper Lake, N.Y., Robin joined the Air Force in 1974.

"I joined when it was still voluntary, and I joined to serve my country and because I was living in a small town without much industry or opportunity," Robin said.

Ann, a Rochester, N.Y. native, was also looking for opportunity when she joined the Air Force.

"I joined because I didn't know what I wanted to do with my life," Ann said. "I was out of high school for a year and was looking for a career."


Beginning of service

After completing his training at Lowry Air Force Base, Robin was stationed in Homestead, Fla. in 1975. Shortly after, Ann finished her schooling in Colorado and received orders to be stationed in Homestead as well.

While in the Air Force, Robin worked as a munitions specialist, training with several types of bombs, from small caliber to nuclear weapons.

He was the supervisor of the first crew in the nation to be qualified from Boeing representatives on the AGM-86B air-launched cruise missile, a long-range subsonic, 3,200-pound self-guided missile carried by a B-52 bomber at high and low altitudes.

Ann began her military service in radar mechanics and later cross-trained into administrative duties.

In 1977, Robin and Ann received joint orders to be stationed in England at Royal Air Force Station Lakenheath.

A year later they were scheduled to complete their terms of service, however, Robin re-enlisted for two additional years and Ann extended her re-enlistment by a year and a half.

"I re-enlisted because we wanted two years to get back to the United States and time to find a house and settle down," Robin said.


End of service

Upon reaching the end of their terms of service, Robin had completed eight and a half years in the Air Force and Ann completed five and a half.

"I got out of the service then because I wanted to start a family and not be traveling with small kids," Ann said.

Robin and Ann have lived in Rutherford County for 10 years, having retired from working with the state of New York. In April, Ann also retired from her position at the Rutherford County Department of Social Services.

The couple has two daughters, ages 27 and 30, and a son-in-law who medically retired from the U.S. Marines. In March 2014 Robin and Ann will celebrate 38 years of marriage.

"My most memorable time in the service was the people we met and the friends we made along the way," Ann said.

Robin echoed his wife's sentiments and said he also enjoyed traveling while in the service.

Robin and Ann continue pursuing their passion for travel, as well as volunteering weekly at the Visual Arts Center in downtown Rutherfordton where Robin has several of his woodworking pieces on display.

He has formed lamps, shelves, chandeliers, chairs and benches out of wood.

"I began woodworking in 2000 and it continues to be a hobby of mine today," Robin said.

As members of the Veterans of Foreign Wars in Tupper Lake, the couple is still actively involved in veterans affairs. Robin is also a lifetime member of the Disabled American Veterans.

"We will be attending the Veterans Day event this weekend in Rutherfordton — it is still an emotional time, and sometimes I get the chills when TAPS is played," Robin said.