Since he was six years old veteran Tom Hibbs has proudly called Deridder his hometown.
He was actually born at Ft. Wolters near Mineral Wells, Texas where his father Colonel Bill Hibbs was a helicopter pilot and instructor.
When Colonel Hibbs was transferred to Ft. Polk, he was so impressed with the small town lifestyle of Deridder and especially the Beauregard Parish Schools that he built a home across from the airport off Blankenship Drive.
As a kid with his home just a stone's throw from the airport and golf course it was almost like living in “Adventureland “ for young Tom.
There were hundreds of acres to roam and explore in the airport and Tom knew almost every square inch of it like the back of his hand.
Often when he wasn’t in school Tom would hop on his bicycle or skateboard and head for the hanger to visit with pilots whom he considered buddies.
He also enjoyed swimming in the ponds and gathering balls whenever the golf course manager wasn’t around the club.
In the DeRidder High School Ambassadors in Blue Band, Tom played the drums. He even formed his own band and played a few local gigs.
In 1989 Tom graduated from DHS and headed to McNeese State University. Whenever he wasn’t in class working on his degree in radio/tv broadcast engineering you could hear Tom on KROK 92 honing his skills as a deejay.
After Tom became the program director at KROK. His skills in communication and electronics soon paid off and Tom became the station manager.
While on a remote broadcast Tom met the local US Army Recruiter from Ft. Polk. The recruiter reminded Tom of all of the benefits that the US Army could offer and at the same time how he could be of service to his country. After several more meeting with his new friend, the recruiter did his job and Tom enlisted in the US Army.
Hibbs was sent to Ft. Jackson, North Carolina for Basic Combat Training.Often it is referred to as just BCT.
It is where the new soldiers receive their introduction as they enter the Army. It is often considered a life-changing experience, something that people remember, reflect on, and tell stories to their grandchildren about decades later.
Since Hibbs was an “army bratt” and the son of a colonel, he was already accustomed to living a disciplinary military lifestyle. BCT takes 10 weeks to complete. Unlike regular schools which typically have between six and seven hours a day of teaching, the Army trains its new recruits for about 12-14 hours a day, try to avoid too much sitting in a classrooms.
Hibbs enjoyed spending a little bit of time outside; getting some fresh air when the opportunity presents itself.
Since he had gotten a little “soft “ sitting behind a microphone at the radio station Hibbs enjoyed a little PT exercise every morning before breakfast, especially the two-mile jog.
Ten weeks passed fast and soon BTC was over. Hibbs was chosen as the Honor Graduate from his unit.
One of the main reason Hibbs had decided to join the US Army was so he could continue his career in electronics and communications.
The Army recruiter had promised Hibbs that he could train on the very newest and very best state of the art electronics available.
Hibbs was sent to Ft. Divens for Advance Individual Training.The Army began using Fort Devens for intelligence training in April 1951, when the U.S. Army Security Agency School established its headquarters there.
The ASA School continued to offer both officer and enlisted training in communications analysis, communications security, radio intelligence, Morse and non-Morse intercept and crypto-equipment maintenance.
The school also assumed the mission of training electronic intelligence and electronic warfare, or EW, specialists. It was later renamed the U.S. Army Security Agency Training Center and School, also known as ASATC&S.
Once again Hibbs graduated with Honors and given a MOS 33-T rating. He was also given a Top Secret and Crypto Clearance.
Hibbs was sent to Ft. Riley, Kansas and assigned to the S-2 of the Big Red One where he served as the T.S. in the Electronic Warfare Unit.
His next duty station was Ft. Gordon Georgia.
It is home to the U.S. Army Cyber Center of Excellence and host to a multi-service community of Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines and multinational forces.
Hibbs served as the Systems Control Chief in charge of satellite operations.
Since Hibbs had a Top Secret and Crypto Clearance he was sent from Ft Gordon to an undesignated base near King of Prussia, Pennsylvania.
The military base sites, installations and posts were part of the US Army, Marines, Navy, Airforce combined forces for North America.
Hibbs duties there were classified.
As his hitch with the USArmy ended he was sent back to Ft.Gordon where he received an honorable discharge along with many citations and awards.
Tom returned to his home in Deridder and became the station manager for KJAE in Leesville. Still longing to serve his country Tom became a contractor at Joint Readiness Training Center (JRTC ) at Ft. Polk working with companies such as TRW, Cubic, and Raytheon.
Two years ago Tom formed his own electronics -technical security company and does specialty contracting for large cooperations and banks.
In his spare time, Tom likes to hang out with “old Rock and Roll buddies” from his radio days, friends from DHS and especially with his children.
Tom still enjoy going to concerts and taken cruises whenever possible. He is a member of American Legion Post 27.
If you see Tom Hibbs 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.