Oral history interview of Mr. Robert Withers. Interview conducted by Brandon Nightingale at the home of Mr. Withers in Winter Garden, Florida February 6, 2019.
0:01 Introduction; 0:35 Birthplace; 0:48 Siblings; 1:04 Education; 1:45 Parents; 2:15 Childhood dreams of one day being in the military; 3:00 Joining JROTC; 3:35 Who influenced him to join the join the military; 4:20 Getting into Georgia Military College; 5:00 Time spent at Georgia Military College; 7:00 Swearing into the Army / 9/11; 9:40 Having a family / Next after college; 10:05 College at UNC Chapel Hill; 12:20 Interesting experience with a Muslim on campus; 13:05 Being shot at for the first time; 14:00 Volunteer Deployment for Hurricane Katrina Relief; 17:30 Graduating from UNC; 17:50 Relocating to Orlando; 18:55 Taking a year off; 19:30 Afghanistan; 22:30 Training; 24:00 Being the only American soldier; 25:00 Having bounty on his head; 26:40 Interaction with the locals; 29:30 Afghan mentality; 32:00 Relocating back to Orlando / Tough transition; 33:30 3rd Deployment to Afghanistan; 34:30 Only one with combat experience; 36:00 May 10 / responding to suicide bombing; 37:00 May 19, 2010; 37:30 Biggest attack on Air Force Base since the TET offensive; 42:00 Teenage POWs; 43:50 Securing the perimeter; 45:00 Stepping on mine field; 47:45 Taken to Bagram Hospital to recover; 48:15 Walter Reed Hospital / Problems with medication; 53:00 Sober after 3 months; 54:00 Medical Cannabis; 54:30 Getting back to Orlando; 55:40 Going back to school / delivering 2nd daughter; 57:00 Leaving the service / Ocoee; 58:30 Joining Veterans Outreach Programs; 1:00:00 Mission Continues / Homes 4 Troops; 1:01:00 Puerto Rico relief; 1:05:35 PTSD & staying in contact with people he served with; 1:07:30 Motivation to compete; 1:10:00 5K; 1:12:45 Politics & Donald Trump.
Date of Birth
Place of Birth
West Palm Beach (Fla.)
White - Non Hispanic
War or Conflict
Operation Enduring Freedom, Afghanistan
Begin/End date of Service - 1st
Entrance into Service
Branch of Service
U.S. Army National Guard
Unit of Service
C Company/1st Battalion, 120th Infantry/30th Armored Brigade Combat Team, NC National Guard; Headquarters/1st Battalion, 113th Field Artillery/30th Armored Brigade Combat Team, NC National Guard; Combined Joint Task Force Phoenix VI: 218th Maneuver Enhancement Brigade SC National Guard; Combined Joint Task Force Phoenix VII: 27th Infantry Brigade Combat Team NY National Guard; Headquarters/1st Battalion, 172nd Cavalry Regiment, 86th Brigade Combat Team, VT National Guard
Location of Service
Prisoner of War
Service Related Injury
Bronze Star Medal; Purple Heart Medal; Combat Action Badge; Meritorious Service Medal; Army Commendation Medal with "V" Device
The veteran led troops in Post- Katrina New Orleans, Southern and Northern Afghanistan. He was Combat Advisor in Helmand and Protective Security Detachment Platoon Leader on Bagram. He led the counter attack to the worst attack on an Airforce base since the Tet Offensive.
“My earliest years were spent in South Florida but my formative years were among the foothills of western North Carolina. It was here that I attended JROTC and graduated from High School in May, 2001, with aspirations of a career in the Armed Forces. I was among the class of cadets at Georgia Military College that swore an oath to the Constitution on the morning of September 11th, 2001, and in May, 2003, I graduated with an Associate Degree and received a commission as an Armor Officer in the North Carolina National Guard. I subsequently attended the Armor Officer Basic Course in Ft. Knox, Kentucky and trained as a Tank Platoon Leader. Soon after, I voluntarily deployed with the NCNG to post-Katrina New Orleans where I lead a platoon of fellow augmenters conducting humanitarian assistance missions and protecting local and federal aid distribution sites. During this deployment I was promoted to 1st Lieutenant and in May, 2006, I graduated from the University of North Caro.” – The veteran.
City of Birth
West Palm Beach
Country of Birth
Location of Interview
Winter Garden, Florida
Withers, Robert; Operation Enduring Freedom, Afghanistan; United States. Army National Guard
Contains logs, audio and video recordings of interviews with Central Florida's veterans as part of a history class project for the students at the University of Central Florida (UCF). The UCF Community Veterans History Project(CVHP) started in fall 2010. It collects, preserves, and makes accessible to the public the experiences of Central Florida's veterans so that future generations will better understand the realities of conflict. It is a collaborative endeavor supported by multiple departments and offices at UCF. The veterans' histories are archived and made digitally available through the UCF library and selected materials are contributed to the Veterans History Project at the Library of Congress.
Contributor Affiliation / Organization
RICHES University of Central Florida
Length of Interview
Department of History, University of Central Florida
All rights are held by the respective holding institution. This material is posted publicly for non-profit educational uses, excluding printed publication. For permission to reproduce and/or for copyright information contact Special Collections and University Archives, University of Central Florida Libraries, (407) 823-2576. http://library.ucf.edu/about/departments/special-collections-university-archives/
University of Central Florida Libraries, Special Collections & University Archives
UCF Community Veterans History Project
Central Florida, RICHES of, "Withers, Robert interview" (2019). Veterans Oral Histories. 628.