The military life of Rodney Downs Tyrone
By Dan Ellis | AFRH-G Resident
Rodney Downs Tyrone was born on June 24, 1947 to Maxine and Sgt. Thad Tyrone, Sr. at Maxwell AFB, AL. He and his older brother, Thad, Jr., were brought up as normal military children who followed parents through a series of Air Force bases.
Rodney matriculated through his elementary schooling at a series of locations that included Port Huyeneme, a one-room school house at Mt. Laguna, CA, and finally at Kisarazu Air Force Base, Japan.
Following his high school graduation at Wetumpka, AL in 1965, Rodney enlisted in the Air Force for a four-year term and was sent to Lackland AFB, San Antonio, TX for basic training.
Having experienced his dad’s and older brother’s experiences, Rodney chose administrative duties for his career endeavor, which made him eligible to worldwide travel.
His first assignments were at Hunter AFB Savannah, GA and Charleston AFB, SC as an administration clerk and ended his first tour in Thailand at (NKP) Nakhon Phanom. "The City of Hills" was affectionately known as "Naked Fanny" or NKP by the Americans and referred to as the "End of the line at the edge of the world." As Rodney reminisced, he stated, “I separated for a year until my beer money ran out!”
Then, wearing buck sergeant stripes, he reenlisted for four years and was given a month’s pay advance and a 30-day leave before being sent to March Air Force Base in Riverside, CA with duties as an office administrator.
He was then transferred to Osan Air Base, Korea for one year which was followed by a tour of Torrejón Air Base near Madrid, Spain.
In 1969, Rodney was promoted to staff sergeant before being sent to Hurlburt Field, FL, then to Craig AFB at Selma, AL, and later to West Ruislip AB England with duties at London’s Heathrow Airport Postal Office.
After another year’s separation, he reenlisted, and was stationed at Keesler AFB, MS as chief clerk for the Communications Center Squadron. He was then sent to March Air Force Base in Riverside, CA. In 1987 he was discharged while at Maxwell AFB, AL while serving with the headquarters unit.
Following his retirement, Rodney settled in his hometown and purchased a house. Following the death of his father, and being unmarried, he moved his mother into his home until she passed away. He then moved to AFRH-Washington for eight months and in June 2017, Rodney moved to AFRH-Gulfport and is living very happily!