News & Notes Search

Sheppard's history Doc says farewell

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Candy Miller
  • 82nd Training Wing Public Affairs
Tucked away in a corner office building in Bldg. 2130, Sheppard's Heritage Center, is a treasure trove of history about the base that people know to tap when information is needed. That history walked out of the Heritage Center May 29 when Dr. Dwight "Doc" Tuttle retired as the base historian. 

Mr. Tuttle said he intended to work at Sheppard for a couple of years and move on. But two or three years turned into 25. 

"I love it here, I wouldn't have stayed here this long if I didn't," he said. "One thing about this job is it is very research-oriented and I enjoy researching history." 

After serving in the Army for two years and serving in the Vietnam War, Mr. Tuttle received training as a diplomatic historian. He earned his Bachelor's of Science degree from the University of Utah in 1968 and earned his Master's degree in 1968 from Indiana State University. After years of work, Mr. Tuttle earned his Doctor of Philosophy degree from Washington State University in 1980. 

Mr. Tuttle worked several jobs including teaching in Illinois and working for the Office of History and Archaeology in Alaska. 

Working for the OHA was temporary and when that job was going away Mr. Tuttle said he heard the Air Force was recruiting historians. Although four bases contacted him, Doc joined Team Sheppard to be head of the history office in July 1984. 

"I'm interested in all areas of history," he said. "I used to go to the library and check out history books." 

Doc has been at Sheppard for longer than most, if not all, other Sheppard members. He is a witness to many changes Sheppard has went through including new infrastructure, advancement in training technology and the addition of new training. 

"There's so much going on at Sheppard and I try to capture that," he said. 

From doing work on a typewriter in the 80s to watching students train on computers, Mr. Tuttle said there has been a tremendous impact of technology on Sheppard. 

"Using the internet and videos has revolutionized training," he said. 

He also said he is in awe of the amount of money Sheppard has spent to carry out the mission with the best quality of buildings and equipment. 

"Sheppard spent $260 million building new training facilities and dorms," the historian said. "The base has transformed." 

Mr. Tuttle said a prominent memory over the years was seeing the building he currently works in transform into the museum that is the Heritage Center. 

"It's a first class facility," he said. "My favorite display is the World War I display." 

Every year Mr. Tuttle has been at Sheppard he wrote a history for that year. He has also written numerous studies about the base. He won an Air Force-level award for a study on physician assistance training called "Less than a doctor, more than a nurse." 

He also contributed in writing the published book "Sustaining the Wings: A Fifty-Year History of Sheppard Air Force Base."