F.E. WARREN AIR FORCE BASE – The 90th Missile Wing bid farewell to a local legend at a ceremony Jan. 29, inside the base museum on F.E. Warren Air Force Base, Wyoming. Museum Director Paula Taylor leaves the museum after dedicating 29 years to F. E. Warren in the role that only she has ever held.
Taylor’s departure will be the end of an era on F.E. Warren, as there were many whom she personally affected over her tenure at the museum.
“What Paula has been able to do, one person at a time, one artifact at a time, across two facilities and the considerable community outreach is truly amazing,” said Col. Deane Konowicz, 90th Missile Wing vice commander. “I know that will not end here today as I think we will see you in the near future at opportunities that will let you reconnect with F.E. Warren.”
One of her many responsibilities was to provide tours of the museum to first term Airmen recently stationed on F.E. Warren, to provide them a sense of past and purpose to their daily mission.
“I remember her infectious enthusiasm for the base and the local history when I went through FTAC,” Senior Airman Braydon Williams said. “I appreciated how much she loved what she was teaching us and how she helped us realize why we were here and the shoes we were trying to fill.”
Taylor’s efforts at the wing and the marks she left on others were not limited to the purely professional, however.
“Immediately after arriving in Wyoming, Paula provided me with all the knowledge I could ask for about the local community and the Might Ninety,” said Kyle Brislan, the historian for the 90th Missile Wing. “She treated my wife and I as family members and truly welcomed us to the community, easing our recent move across the country, plus being able to draw from her 29 years of experience allowed me to hit the ground running as the historian.”
In her 29 years at F.E. Warren, she educated an estimated 10 million visitors, maintained 2,500 historical artifacts, and founded the base open house – D.A. Russell Days – managing it for 25 years. She also had an operational effect, a feat not common for someone managing a museum.
“Paula’s actions as the museum director went far beyond the norm, as her preservation expertise eventually aided Air Force ICBM operations after the service reclaimed certain historical artifacts,” said Brislan. “It’s an achievement that few people within the Air Force’s museum’s program can say they have accomplished.”
The Wyoming native says that she is excited to retire, but there is a bittersweetness to leaving.
“It’s been an incredible experience to teach generations of Airmen and visitors about the 90th Missile Wing and the ICBM mission,” Taylor said. “I love how many people I’ve been able to meet and work with, the things I’ve been a part of, and I feel proud of my time here.”
Though she is retiring, she is hopeful to keep a role within the museum as a volunteer or a board member, but she does plan to make the most of her retirement.
“I plan to enjoy my family and work on my hobbies of stained glass, quilting, making jewelry,” said Taylor. “Plus, I will be traveling with my husband in our RV throughout our wonderful nation.”
Taylor cites the relationships she built over nearly three decades as an inspiration to do what she did for the museum and that base community.
“It’s hard to pick a single favorite thing about working here, but I would have to say that meeting the wonderful Airmen and their families who have dedicated their lives to protecting this nation would be at the top of the list,” said Taylor. “learning about the rich heritage and history of F.E. Warren is second.”
Taylor leaned on her close ties to the area and her deep love and appreciation for local history as she served as the museum director through the leadership of 17 wing commanders and four different major commands – Strategic Air Command, Air Combat Command, Air Force Space Command and Air Force Global Strike Command.