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NEWS | July 22, 2015

Naval Weapons Station civilian retires after 35 years of service

By Trisha Gallaway Joint Base Charleston Public Affairs

A 628th Security Forces Squadron, Joint Base Charleston Weapons Station police officer and member of the Harbor Patrol Unit has decided it's time to remove his badge, hang up his handcuffs and retire.

After 35 years of combined federal and military service, William (or Bill as he's known to his co-workers) Stevens Jr., will officially retire from the 628th SFS July 27, 2015.

Following five years in the Navy as  a Boatswain's Mate, and assignments that took him from California, into the Pacific and over to Europe, Stevens spent time working in industrial construction and raising his family. On March 28, 1985, he returned to the military but this time as a civil servant.   

"Bill joined the Naval Weapons Station Security Forces first as a guard and then later as a police officer," said William Scheer, 628th SFS Weapons Station Operations manager.

One of the more memorable moments in Stevens' long career was Sept. 22, 1989 when he was sent into the housing area at the Weapons Station as the eye of Hurricane Hugo was passing over the area. 

"It was an experience beyond words," said Stevens.

Stevens had been dispatched to the housing area to rescue a pregnant woman who hadn't  evacuated her residence prior to the storm.

"There was too much work to be done to be scared during the storm," said Stevens. "That night it was about helping the military families and getting them to safety." 

Following Hurricane Hugo, Stevens was lauded for his service during the early morning hours of the storm.

"Bill was recognized for his service to military families and tenant commands during Hurricane Hugo by protecting the families of military members who did not evacuate their homes on base," said Scheer. "He later helped them to relocate to safe shelter during and after the storm. He also helped to secure the installation immediately after the storm, which had been heavily damaged and had no electricity or water."

Currently, Stevens spends his time as a member of the JB Charleston Harbor Patrol Unit where he was a member of the inaugural boat crew and has trained hundreds of boat crew personnel.

"Coming from a Navy background and boats being part of his skill set, in 2001, Stevens was asked if he wanted to serve on the Cooper River guarding the Nuclear Power Training Unit Submarines," said Scheer. "He said he would and he's been on patrol out there ever since."

As Stevens prepares for his retirement, co-worker Sherrell Lawson, 628th SFS Reports and Analysis manager at the Weapons Station said she will miss working alongside him. 

"I've known Bill for 27 years," said Lawson. "He has dedicated his life to serving others and has been responsible, reliable and devoted. He has a great sense of humor and would do anything for close friends and family."

Following his retirement ceremony, Stevens has plans to travel and visit family and quite possibly move to a cooler locale.