Retiree Doyle Collier II worked at HSAAP for 39 years. Doyle began his career by joining the U.S. Air Force in 1973 prior to coming HSAAP in 1978, where he worked as a production technologist.
But Doyle’s connection to the plant goes back well before he was born and continues after his retirement.
In 1945, another Doyle Collier, Senior worked at Holston after being discharged from the U.S. Army during World War II. Doyle worked in the kettle room, and over in the nail building was Fannie Shale, a young woman with an extensive manufacturing background. On July 4, 1945, Doyle met Fannie and there were fireworks. In just six weeks, the couple married and went on to raise six children together over their nearly 50-year marriage, including Doyle Collier II.
Fast forward to today, and Doyle Collier II’s son, Eric, continues in the family tradition and works at HSAAP.
“We have had three generations of Colliers at Holston. It's been good to our family. I worked there for 39 years and made a great living. My son has been there for almost 20 years now and is doing well. I’m proud of our family service.”
During his nearly four decades at Holston, Doyle worked in a handful of different roles where he has been able to continue his dedication to our country that he started early in his career.
“There's pride in what we do and helping wherever we can to keep our warfighters safe. Working at Holston is an extension of my military service.”
Over the years, Doyle has witnessed the amazing abilities of the community when faced with obstacles, such as the September 11 tragedies. Doyle shares a sense of pride in knowing that he was able to support frontline forces during major world conflicts. And not only does Doyle take pride in how his team supported the U.S. Armed Forces, but also in how everyone works to keep the team at HSAAP safe.
“We weren’t making candy. We were making explosives. We needed to ensure that what we were doing was done safely, with good intentions and good quality material and that it’s shipped out to wherever it needs to go in the world to support the warfighters.”
In his time at the plant, Doyle made lifelong friendships with his peers and built strong relationships with those in the community. Over the years of dedication and love Doyle poured into the Holston plant, he will never forget the family he found there.
“You spend a lot of time with people, and you get really close, and you make some real good friends. We're really just one big family.”
Today, Doyle regularly meets with other BAE Systems retirees and employees at local Kingsport restaurants – staying connected to the plant he called home and the people he considers family. He also enjoys spending time with his grandson and watching the next generation of Colliers grow up.
As for being labeled a hero, Doyle shared that everyone at Holston is a hero in their own way.
“I think it's just a fact that what we did and what we continue to do is a heroic effort on its own,” Doyle said. “We are supporting the war effort, even though we're not out there in the field. We are making a difference for our warfighters.”