Bud Luppino, U.S. Air Force – Staff Sergeant 1969- 1977
Due to the top secret nature of Bud Luppino’s job, he wasn’t allowed to leave the country for five years after leaving the military.
“I could never tell anyone what I did because the information was so sensitive,” he shares.
Luppino worked as a photogrammetric cartographic analyst in the U.S. Air Force as an extension of the Defense Intelligence Agency. In this role he made bombing charts that Air Force pilots would use for their mission planning.
“What I did in the Air Force was entirely unique… Today, everything is done with a computer. We had to do everything by hand,” he says. “We had to take aerial photographs provided by satellites and we’d take those photographs and look at the images on those photographs. Then reference the information onto a film negative so they could make a map from the negative.”
Luppino spent the majority of his career stationed at March Air Force Base, Calif. He also had stints at Lackland Air Force Base, Texas, and Fort Belvoir, Va.
“The information that we used was very sensitive and there were very few places in the world you could go that could protect the information sources from theft,” he says.
Luppino says serving in the Air Force taught him how to interact with people of different backgrounds.
“What the Air Force did for me was it made me more worldly,” Luppino shares. “I went from a town of 100,000 people, to an Air Force base of 10,000 people from all over the states, with all different backgrounds: education backgrounds, personalities, race, and creeds. All of a sudden you have to adapt to all these different people. It gave me an insight to how I should react to other people. When I opened my retail business, when we were exposed to lots of different personalities and types of people, I could understand them and relate to them better.”
Luppino was at the end of his military career when he joined the tire industry. He was using some accrued leave before separating from the Air Force and his wife urged him to get a job.
“The first week I was out, Claudia asked me if I was going to look for a job. She said ‘being on vacation’ was not a good excuse. She showed me an ad in the newspaper for a manager trainee for a Mark C. Bloome location in Riverside. So I put on my suit and went – and I’ve been working in the tire industry ever since,” he shares.
Luppino was recruited to work at BFGoodrich in 1983 and stayed on when Michelin acquired the company in 1989. In 1995, he opened his own tire dealership.
Today Bud’s Tire Pros operates three locations in Riverside, Moreno Valley, and Orangecrest, Calif.
Luppino’s connection to the military influences some of the organizations he is involved in and discounts he provides.
He provides a 10% discount on all services for military members. And with locations near March Air Force Base, Bud’s Tire Pros is also an official installer of the Air Force Exchange Services.
“The military members can buy their tires at the base Exchange at a substantially lower rate then they could buy them from us, have the tires shipped to us, and then we install them at a discount for them,” he says.
Additionally, Luppino is a life member of the Air Force Association, a supporter of the March Air Field Museum and Allies for Independence, and helps with various base-related events.
“They’re great neighbors. They’re very loyal, dedicated people. I would suggest anyone who has the ability to be part of these [bases] they should get behind them,” he says. “Our base contributes about $570 million in direct monies to the community every year. That’s a lot of money they’re putting into the area. When you see just a few planes on the flight line you might not think it’s a lot, but there’s a lot of mission capable people who are willing to support the people that support them. And we should. I know those guys are out there 24 hours a day taking care of me.” TR