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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

Home State


War or Conflict

Operation Enduring Freedom, Afghanistan



Begin/End date of Service - 1st



Video; MovingImage


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


Highest Rank

Captain; CPT

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

United States


Nightingale, Brandon

Interview Date

Spring 2-6-2019

Location of Interview

Winter Garden, Florida


Withers, Robert; Operation Enduring Freedom, Afghanistan; United States. Army National Guard

Collection Description

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


Nightingale, Brandon

Length of Interview

76 Minutes


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

Contributing Project

UCF Community Veterans History Project

Document Type