By: Sandra Thompson
Bob was born in a log cabin in 1946 and grew up in Charlestown, in the oldest part of Boston, Massachusetts. He comes from a very patriotic family; he has five brothers and they were all in the military.
Bob joined the Army in 1964. He wanted to be in electronics repair, but the Army had other plans for him and made him a Land Combat Missile Maintenance Technician. He held many different positions while serving — he went from maintenance technician, to supervisor, to instructor, to managing maintenance on The TOW (Tube-launched, Optically-tracked, Wire-guided) anti-tank missile. Bob also worked on the Improved TOW, Improved TOW Acquisition Systems, Dragon, Lance, Shillelagh, Bradley Fighting Vehicle Systems, and the Multiple Launch Rocket Systems.
Bob participated in Operation Desert Storm with the 1st Armored Division; Supported the 1st Armored Division as the Mayor of the Life Support Area in Taszár, Hungary during Operation Enduring Freedom; and closed out his military career as the Deputy Chief, Administration and Operations, Land Combat Missile Maintenance Training Division, United States Ordnance Missile and Munitions Center and School, Redstone Arsenal, Alabama. One of Bob’s most satisfying times was in Direct Support of the Infantry Units and deploying with them. He was “proudest that my soldiers were able to have every 2nd Brigade, 1st Armored Division missile system 100% operational when crossing the border into Iraq during Desert Storm.”
Bob is just not an asset to the museum, but an essential leader in the Athens community. Bob has truly made a difference in our community in so many ways. As a volunteer for Care Assurance System for the Aging and Homebound (CASA), Bob helped the elderly and disabled preserve their independence and continue living in their own home by building over 35 wheelchair ramps. As the adjutant and treasurer for the Disabled American Veterans (DAV), he helps his fellow veteran’s access benefits they are entitled to. He also serves as the treasurer for the American Legion; he is involved in fundraising efforts there including their monthly chicken stew and annual pancake breakfast. Bob also serves on the American Legion committee that awards scholarships for Boys and Girls State, where they learn how to participate in the functioning of their state’s government and prepare for their future roles as responsible adult citizens.
Each year Bob heads up the Memorial Day flag program, ensuring that our fallen veterans have a flag on their grave for Memorial Day; and with over 300 cemeteries in Limestone County, this is no small feat. In conjunction with the local Boy Scouts, Bob has recorded information on these veterans in a computer program and donated a computer and workstation to the Veterans Museum so that individuals may have access to information on our local heroes who served in the military. Bob is also instrumental in our annual Memorial Day program, honoring the fallen veterans from the previous year. He oversaw the construction of a fire pit at the Veterans Museum, to ensure our worn and tattered flags are retired properly. He is involved with our local Cub Scout and Boy Scout troops; each year he plans their annual dinner event honoring veterans.
Bob has been married to his lovely wife Patty for 35 years, and they have 3 children and 5 grandchildren.
By: Sandra Thompson, Director, Alabama Veterans’ Museum