41 years of service; Never-ending change and great people

  • Published
  • By Airman Bethany Feenstra
  • 911th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

After providing 45 years of service to the U.S. Military, Daniel Lucci, chief of contracting at the 911th Airlift Wing, retired April 2, 2016.

Lucci’s military service began in 1971 after a year and a half of college in his hometown of Beaver County, Pa. He and a few friends had been assigned low draft numbers and decided to enlist in the Navy together before being drafted.

“I went off to the Great Lakes in the middle of winter. I still remember trying to get off the bus and I couldn’t open the bus door because the snow was piled up so high,” said Lucci.

From Basic Training, Lucci was stationed in Memphis, Tenn. for aviation school. His first duty station with the Navy was Cherrypoint, N.C, doing aviation supply.

A highlight of Lucci’s naval career was when, in 1973, he was presented with the opportunity to join the Navy Bowling team for an inter-service bowling tournament. But to get there, he had to first qualify in the Norfolk area tournament. After three or four days of bowling, he won first place and moved on to the South Atlantic Regionals. He bowled second place there and was sent to Califoria to compete to be on the Navy team. He finished in the top five and got to compete against the other branches of service with the Navy team. Even though they didn’t win, Lucci enjoyed the experience.

“I’ve still got the trophies, I think they’re in my basement somewhere,” Lucci said while laughing.

Due to a lack of funding as the Vietnam War was winding down, Lucci Spent his entire enlistment with the Navy at Cherrypoint. After completing his enlistment in 1975, he went back home to Beaver County. There Lucci worked part-time in a bowling alley in Center Township, bowling on a team in his free time.


But Lucci wanted to find a good career path for his future. He applied to J&L Steel Mill, where his father and grandparents worked. While he waited for his application to be approved, a friend’s dad who was part owner of the bowling alley and also worked as an air reserve technician at the sheet metal shop at the 911th Airlift Wing, drove him on base to apply for a civil service job on base.

“I wouldn’t change my occupation for anything,” Lucci said smiling. “So I’m glad J&L never called me back.”


In May of 1975, Lucci started his career at the 911th. His first job here was as a civilian employee in base supply.

In late summer of 1975, at a bowling alley, Lucci met his future bride Linda. They were married in October of that year, and their family would eventually grow to include three children and two grandchildren.

In 1976, Lucci began a reservist career here. He worked many jobs on base before assuming his final contracting job in 1982, including working in a warehouse, air cargo, aircraft loading and forklift operating. In September of 1984, he became chief of the contracting office, the role he would eventually retire in. In this position he supervised a team of contract specialists who administer all of the contracts at the 911th, including base service and construction contracts.

In 1996 Lucci retired from the Air Force Reserve as a senior master sergeant. He spent 20 more years as a civilian employee before retiring in April 2016, bringing his total service to the 911th to 41 years. Lucci said he has enjoyed seeing the 911th grow as a contracting officer.

“You get to see everything that’s happening on base.” said Lucci. “That’s a good part of the job, you’re involved with everything.”


Lucci has seen the base through many changes. One change that will be memorable for him is the reconstruction of the main gate. He was responsible for the brick retaining wall that bears the base’s name. Lucci came up with the idea for the wall, which wasn’t part of the original contract.

“That was kind of my idea, so we negotiated that into the contract,” said Lucci. “Hopefully they’ll leave it there.”


Lucci said he has high hopes for the 911th. The thing he expects to miss most is the people he’s had the opportunity to work with, but has also enjoyed seeing young Airmen come and take things over.

“My advice is to always be professional, get all the education that you can, and be friendly people. Some days are going to be good. Some days are going to be not-so-good. You just need to get through it,” said Lucci.