George ‘Big Man’ Price celebrates 90 years of life

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Valerie Seelye
  • 52nd Fighter Wing Public Affairs

He is known as “Big Man,” and the Powerhaus Fitness Center gymnasium here is named after him.

George Price, 52nd Force Support Squadron special events coordinator, celebrated his 90th birthday January 4, 2019, here.

“I feel very good. I’m glad I’m still around. A lot of people my age have already hit the dust, and I am going to hang around as long as I can,” Price jokingly said.

U.S. Air Force Col. Tad Clark, 52nd Fighter Wing vice commander, and other base leadership presented a birthday card to Price.

U.S. Air Force Col. Jason Bailey, 52nd FW commander, wrote on the card, “I reflect on what an amazing person you are. Your years of service to this wing, this Air Force, and this nation are unmatched!”

Although Price has held his current position since 2002, he enlisted in the U.S. Air Force in 1950 and has been in service for 69 total federal years.

“I love it — I would do it all over again,” Price said. “It’s the best thing that has ever happened to me.”

Price joined the military as a way to escape his difficult childhood, he said. Although he was thin, people started calling him “Big Man” during basic training, which became his life-long nickname.

His first duty station was in Limestone, Maine, where he played on the town basketball team, Price said. He was then stationed in Korea, where he coached softball. Afterward, he was sent back to Limestone.

“And from there I went to basketball tryouts at Mitchell Air Force Base,” Price said. “I made the team, and we won the worldwide championship and things like that. Then I came to Germany, and I’ve been here ever since.”

Price worked on Bitburg Air Base after retiring as a senior master sergeant. He was an athletic director and coach, and became the winningest head coach in U.S. Air Forces in Europe history. He transferred to Spangdahlem and worked as the athletic director until 2002, when he started his current position.

Because of his impact on USAFE basketball history, the Powerhaus Fitness Center gym was named the George Price Gymnasium in 2014.

Price gave advice to help young Airmen live a happy life.

“Just be honest with yourself — I’ve always been that, sometimes too honest,” he said. “Be happy, be content, be a team member, and be the shining light. That’s the only thing you can do.”

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