LOMPOC -- Lt. Col. Alfredo Laboy II, 30th Logistics Readiness Squadron commander, along with squadron leadership and booster club members met with Dirk Starbuck, 30th LRS honorary commander on Feb. 1.
The 30th LRS Airmen met Starbuck to discuss opportunities as part of an initiative to increase support in the local community. Starbuck, a member of the Lompoc city council, gave the Airmen a tour of his muffler shop as he expressed his delight in once again being a helpful hand to the U.S. military.
"That's me," said Starbuck, pointing to a portrait of himself in an aged military yearbook. "I'm a retired Navy chief warrant officer. I know what it means to help people."
As the tour progressed into the muffler shop, Starbuck explained its history.
"My grandfather built this place for my father,” said Starbuck. “I do work with mufflers, but I've got a lot of little things here."
The shop is overflowed with whatever objects can fit inside. It seems that everything in the shop has a story behind it, from a 1960s Japanese domestic scooter to a strand of barbed wire warped inside a tree stump.
"That's an old Schwinn!" Exclaimed Master Sgt. Jose Galarza, 30th LRS superintendent, as he points to a bicycle partially obscured by lawn signs with the words 'ELECT STARBUCK FOR CITY COUNCIL' emblazoned.
After the tour, Starbuck led the Airmen to the Lompoc Memorial Veterans Building, where lunch was prepared courtesy of the Lompoc Chapter of the Veterans of Foreign Wars.
“This is amazing,” said Senior Airman Patrick Wilson, 30th LRS vehicle operator, standing in the ballroom of the veterans building. “I’ve driven past here dozens of times and had no idea what was inside.”
Mel Gatson, a retired Air Force air traffic controller, assisted Starbuck in showing the Airmen all that the facility had to offer.
“People don’t really know about this place, it doesn’t get as much traffic as it used to,” said Gatson. “During World War II, Civil Defense used it as an observation outpost to look out for Japanese airplanes, and we’ve tried to keep that heritage alive. We like to rent this place out for parties and events. It’s got a lot of space and is pretty popular with the Vandenberg guys.”
The visit resonated well with Keith Madison, 30th LRS logistics manager and retired Air Force senior master sergeant.
“It was very humbling to see how those who paved the road for future military members,” said Madison. “They took time away from their schedule to continue to proudly support a family they were and are still a part of. The honorary commander not only gives us an opportunity to reach out to our local community, but also serves as a conduit for that community to reach into our military community.”
As the tour came to a close, Laboy and Starbuck exchanged parting words and promises to continue the connection.
“I really appreciate the opportunity to socialize and continue building a rapport,” said Laboy. “We are always looking for new ways to incorporate volunteerism for all squadron personnel. I have no doubts that Airmen will gladly donate their time to support their fellow veterans.”
For Starbuck, the feeling was mutual.
“I’m absolutely honored that the Airmen came out to meet with me--truly,” said Starbuck.