Moody's top secretary retires after serving in five decades

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Eric Schloeffel
  • 23rd Wing Public Affairs
The woman who served as the main go-between for the base populace and Moody's wing commander for more than a decade will retire and enter a new chapter of life. 

Virginia Conner, 23rd Wing commander secretary, has served Moody for five decades, working in a wide variety of secretarial positions. Her legacy began in 1961 after accepting a job at the comptroller squadron. 

"When I first started working at Moody, the base was much smaller and most of the buildings have since been torn down," said Ms. Conner, known to many as "Miss Virginia." "The local area has also grown tremendously; there were no shopping centers around or anything like that. But the Valdosta area grew on me and I stayed. 

After working at comptroller for nearly one year, Ms. Conner decided to switch jobs and become a closed microphone reporter at the safety office. In 1965, Ms. Conner left civil service to spend time with her newborn daughter. Nearly 15 years later, she returned to the safety office before receiving a job as a secretary at the operations group. 

"I guess they thought I was doing something right, because I received the opportunity to work at the group level," said Ms. Conner. 

Ms. Conner received the opportunity to work as the wing commander's secretary in 1994. Since then, she has worked for nine Moody commanders in what has been the most rewarding position of her career, she said. 

"It's been hard to see all the commanders come and go, because once you get used to them they are already gone," said Ms. Conner, native of Roanoke, Va. "But I've had some really fantastic guys to work for, and it's been a pleasure to work up here and come in contact with all kinds of people. Moody is like my second family, and I've been very fortunate to have such great bosses." 

She has also seen the base transition to a wide variety of missions, some of which have recently found their way back to Moody. 

"The type of aircraft at Moody has changed many times over; we've had F-4s. F-16s, A-10s, training aircraft and now rescue," she said. "In the past, we were what was known as an Air Training Command base, which is now Air Education and Training Command. But everything turns around, and the T-38s have left and now the A-10s are back. It's interesting to see how it all evolves." 

Ms. Conner's retirement plans include enjoying an increased amount of free time and frequent visits to family in different areas of the country. 

"I told somebody the other day, 'I will do whatever I feel like doing,'" said Ms. Conner. "I don't have any set plans yet, but I hope to do some more volunteer work and see my grandchildren more often in San Diego. I'm planning to stay right here in Valdosta for awhile; they won't be getting rid of me anytime soon." 

While she looks forward to retiring, Ms. Conner admits feeling that she will be leaving a great era of her life behind. 

"It's been an exciting career, and I really enjoyed meeting such fine people," said Ms. Conner. "I think military people are the greatest, and I enjoy meeting people from different states and areas to hear about the places they have been. I think some of them feel they have reached the end of the world when they arrive, but Valdosta grows on many of them and they end up loving it too." 

Ms. Conner's experience combined with her pleasant southern charm will leave some big shoes to fill and her co-workers in the command section believe the void will remain long after her last day, said Col. Kenneth Todorov, 23rd Wing commander. 

"Ms. Virginia has had an enormous impact at Moody, and we like to say she has trained all the wing commanders she's worked for; in many ways it's true," the colonel said. "She's taught me a lot about the potential pitfalls of the job, and she's seen many good leaders in action. I know I'm a better wing commander because of her. 

"All of us will miss Ms. Virginia and what she brings to the entire wing," Colonel Todorov added. "For more than 32 years she's been the epitome of style and grace, and she's represented what is truly good about Moody and South Georgia - warm, caring and patriotic people who care about our military and nation. We wish her all the best, but she will be sorely missed."