Veteran of the Week

ROBERT LEE HOLDEN, Willis, TX

ROBERT LEE HOLDEN


By Lew McCreary, Contributing Columnist

Bobís father, member of the US Army, died fighting for his country during WW2 in the European Theatre. His son Bob was facing the draft at 19 in New Hampshire (1963) and he enlisted. He completed basic training at Fort Dix then trained on tactical crypto equipment for 38 weeks. His constant specialty from then forward would always be electronics, communication codes and equipment. He also spent a year training with 2nd Armored Division at Fort Hood. His first deployment in 1965 sent him to ìSight 23î near Ankara in Turkey, and helped train Turkish military in communications during í65-ë66. From there he also made a tactical 10 week visit to West Germany concerning communications. He was a specialist E-4, continuing to attend other schools studying ìfixed stadiumî cryptology methods for connecting various units. Bobís next stop was the 101st Artillery in upstate NY because he had re-enlisted having been promised state side service. Whoops! Spec 5 Bob was notified heíd see Vietnam again. He connected with a repair facility north of Saigon and was training South Vietnamese, including the use of the M-16 rifle. It was 1970 and he became US 25th Infantry. He was attached to 101 1st for a season, then to Fort Dix (training) again. Bob had served in a unit at An Khe, located near Pleku in Vietnam. He would always be supporting the communication activity. After six months they ìstood downî. He next visited Landing Zone English near Danang, and then to AmericalÖ23rd Infantry Division, LZ Hawk Hill and 196th Light Brigade. Bob continued to help communications between air cavalry, ground cavalry and infantry. During a later tour in northern Germany at a missile battery he attained warrant officer status in 1972. Later he had tours in Korea, Okinawa, and spent time in KentuckyÖ always utilizing his specialty of communication, constantly schooling because they kept ìexpandingî his specialty until the late 70ís. He was promoted again at Fort Bragg (CW3) before separating from the military. That same year he was hired by RCA in Camden, NJ as a field engineer. Then came General Electric and spent ten years with them. It was during 1985 when Bob married Rose and between them they have four children. Bob also found time to attend graduate school at Kentucky University and taught college classes. His first serious encounter with Jesus Christ was during 1971 and in a tight spot (Vietnam) when he experienced a powerful awareness of His presence. His second and most gripping encounter was in í84 when Agent Orange was discovered in his lung and half the upper left lung was removed. He was resuscitated twice in the Fort Bragg NC Hospital and observed an ìout of bodyî view of himself on the operating table. It wasnít ìhis timeî yet. Currently they attend Abundant Life Church in Willis. Would Bob have made any changes in his lifeís journey? No, but he wants to go on record that America (Washington D.C.) made promises to the South Vietnamese that were not kept. The agreement to replace all weapons and military equipment, piece for piece in support of the war was broken. In April of 1975 South Vietnam could no longer maintain their war effort. What would be his advice to graduating high school seniors? Bob believes that everyone is special in the eyes of God. One should discover those special gifts God has provided, and early in life start to perfect them. For most people whatever skills they enjoy most are the ones to be pursued for a successful career. Bob was very fortunate in that the US government trained him extraordinarily well during his active service in an area of expertise he thoroughly enjoyed. Later he applied that training very successfully working for two leading US corporations.