This retired US Army Captain got his first taste of military life right out at Ft. Polk almost a half of a century ago.
Robert Olen Whisenhunt was born in his grandmother home up in Murfreesboro Arkansas back in 1952.
As a kid growing up in the lower Ouachita Mountains it was a boys paradise.
Bob could ramble through the Ouachita National Forest, hunting, fishing and hiking through the heart of the mountains.
When Bob’s family moved to Shreveport, he attended Fair Park High School.
In his spare time, Bob got a job as a grease monkey pumping gas at a full-service station.
While in the tenth grade Bob met the love of his life Wanda Fee, later to be his wife.
When Bob graduated from high school the Vietnam War was at its peak. Instead of waiting to be drafted he contacted the local recruiter and enlisted in the US Army.
With Bob’s background in mechanics, the recruiter told him that he could get a slot in the Army transport School for Advanced Individual Training after completing basic training.
Ft. Polk became Bob’s new home. He got to enjoy all the amenities offered in Basic Training such as hiking, exercise and shooting.
Just as promised by the recruiter, Bob got to take AIT at Ft.Polk where he trained and became a truck driver.
After graduating from AIT, Whisenhunt received orders to report to the 503rd Transportation Company in Heidelberg, Germany.
The mountains reminded him of being back home and in his free time, he enjoyed exploring the area.
Whisenhunt was afraid that the Vietnam War would end before he had the opportunity to visit the exotic tropical paradise.
By now he had been promoted to Spec/4 and request a Permanent Change of Station ( PCS) for Vietnam.
He got his request and was sent to the 90th Replacement Battalion in Long Bein, Vietnam.
As a truck driver, Whisenhunt spent most of his duty hours hauling food to the BN Dining Facilities.
In his spare time, he started taking college classes and was promoted to E-5.
Bob returned to Shreveport, married Wanda and re-enlisted for the second time.
This time Whisenhunt was sent to Ft. Carson, Colorado and assigned to the 40th Service & Supply Company where he served as Dispatcher a TAMMS Clerk for the motor pool.
Due to a shortage of Motor and Maintenance Sergeants, Whisenhunt was promoted to NCOIC.
In 1973 the draft ended. The US Army needed recruiters to fill the vacant positions that had once been filled by draftees.
Whisenhunt volunteered to become a US Army Recruiter.
He was assigned to act an Intern Recruiter at the Keene Recruiting Station in New Hampshire.
After a year he was made Field Recruiter for the entire Brattleboro, Vermont area and promoted E-6. Whisenhunt also earned an Associate of Arts Degree from Columbia College.
In October of 1977 Wheieshut was transferred to Concord, New Hampshire where he became the Assistant NCO & E O NCO training new recruiters. While there he continued his education and graduated with a Bachelor of Science Degree from Franklin Pierce College.
With two degrees in hand, Whisenhunt applied for OCS.
Upon acceptance, he was sent to Ft. Benning, Georgia.
The United States Army's Officer Candidate School (OCS), trains, assesses and evaluates potential commissioned officers in the U.S. Army, U.S. Army Reserve, and Army National Guard.
Officer candidates are former enlisted members (E-4 to E-7), warrant officers, inter-service transfers, and or civilians.
After Whisenhunt graduate from OCS, he was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant and sent to Ft.Knox, Kentucky where he completed Armor Officer Basic Course.
In 1980, Lt. Whisenhunt was assigned 3rd Regiment 3rd Squadron, M Co at Ft. Bliss, Texas. After one year he was promoted to 1st Lt. and XO of the unit.
Lt. Whisenhunt was sent to Ft. Irwin, California to the US Army National Training Center and promoted to Captain where he served as the Administrative Officer Observer Controller.
After five more years “Captain Bob” was sent back to Ft. Knox, Ky. to the Trp. A 2nd Sqdn. Of the 12th Calvary Armor Officer Advance Course.
From 1986 through 1989 he served a The XO of the 2nd Sqdn S-3 until 1990. His Squadron handled all US and Allied Officers training at the facility.
Finally after more than a quarter of a century to his country “Captain Bob” hung up his sword and retired.
Now days instead of seeing out of an M1A2 Abrams Battle Tank “Captain Bob” prefers to be with his wife Wanda seeing the world from the deck of a Carnival Cruise Ship.
Both he and Wanda are avid cruisers and have earned “Diamond” status, spending almost as much time on the seas as on land.
Recently Captain Bob and Wanda were able to join with other local veterans in helping carry supplies to the Crippled Children’s Rehab Clinic in Honduras.
The couple is also very proud of their son MSG. Robert Whisenhunt Jr. who like his father has served three combat tours overseas for the last nineteen years and will also soon retire.
If you see “ Captain Bob “ or any US Military Veteran, they would surely appreciate a handshake and acknowledgment of the sacrifice and the commitment veterans have made in the lofty endeavor of securing American liberty.
They are solely responsible for having protected our fortunate state of being free within society from oppressive restrictions imposed by authority on one’s way of life, behavior or political views and that is a priceless act of service.