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Bill Mac: Over 50 years of service to LRAFB

A man looks down a bowling lane as he prepares to throw a ball at the pins at the end of the lane.

Master Sgt. (Ret.) Bill Mac, 19th Force Support Squadron bowling center mechanic, prepares to throw a bowling ball down the lane at the bowling center on Little Rock Air Force Base, Arkansas, Dec. 14, 2020. Mac retired from the Air Force in 1983 and came back to LRAFB to work at the bowling center — serving as a mechanic and manager for over 25 years. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Jayden Ford)

A man uses a tool to fix a pinsetter machine.

Master Sgt. (Ret.) Bill Mac, 19th Force Support Squadron bowling center mechanic, unscrews a bolt on a pinsetter machine at the bowling center on Little Rock Air Force Base, Arkansas, Dec. 14, 2020. Mac now works at the bowling center as a mechanic and bowls multiple times a week to stay proficient in the sport. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Jayden Ford)

A man looks down the lane of a bowling alley.

Master Sgt. (Ret.) Bill Mac, 19th Force Support Squadron bowling center mechanic, watches as a ball travels down the lane at the bowling center on Little Rock Air Force Base, Arkansas, Dec. 14, 2020. Mac joined the Air Force in 1960 and has been stationed at LRAFB three separate times during his career. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Jayden Ford)

LITTLE ROCK AIR FORCE BASE, Ark. --

Retired Master Sgt. Bill Mac, 19th Force Support Squadron bowling center mechanic, joined the Air Force in 1960 as a firefighter — completing his training at Joint Base San Antonio – Lackland, Texas. In August of 1960, Mac received his first set of orders to Little Rock Air Force Base, Arkansas to become part of the 384th Civil Engineer Squadron.

After spending the first five years of his active duty career at Little Rock AFB, he received his first overseas assignment, which took him to France then England. While in England, he received news that he would be going back to where his career began.

A pattern emerged when Mac received orders to Japan. Following Japan, Mac returned to the U.S. and was stationed at Tinker Air Force Base, Oklahoma for a brief time until he was pulled back to LRAFB yet again — where he would finish out his career and retire in 1983 after 23 years of service.

Upon his retirement in Little Rock, his passion for bowling drove Mac to take a job at the bowling center on base as a mechanic, working on the pin machines behind the lanes.

“Bowling is my hobby,” Mac said. “I started bowling from a very young age and I have been doing it ever since. I enjoy the game of bowling because it deals with people and I am what you call a people person.”

Mac worked as a mechanic for a brief period of time then was promoted to manager. He would spend the next 25 years managing the center and honing his skills — joining many leagues and playing as often as he could, which gained him a reputation as a tough opponent amongst his peers.

“When I walked in the bowling center, people would want to play against me just to say they got beat by me,” Mac said. “I never bragged, I just bowled my game and most bowlers tried to beat me, but they never could.”

At the age of 82, Mac now enjoys the slower pace of working with the machines in the back of the center and uses all of his knowledge to teach others everything he knows about bowling in order to help the sport grow — hoping the next generation will take as much pride in the game as he does, he said.

“I'm here to promote the game of bowling and get as many people involved with the game as I can,” Mac said. “It’s a very inexpensive sport. A bowling ball, bag and shoes is all you need. You can go anywhere and bowl.”

Mac’s work at the bowling center allows Team Little Rock to continue to have a place to bowl and make connections to other players.

“Mac’s positivity is infectious,” said Lt. Col. Edith Smith, 19th FSS commander. “When given the opportunity, he helps coach and develop the bowling skills for anyone that walks through the door. Almost 40 years after retiring from the Air Force, he still continues to embody our core values.”

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