“Serving My Country in the Vietnam War”
Bob Ford was born August 4, 1944, in Shawnee, OK, graduated from the University of Oklahoma and the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) program there. Ford was a combat helicopter pilot in the Vietnam War from July 1967 – July 1968 with more than 1000 combat missions including action at the beginning of the siege of Khe Sahn and later the Tet Offensive of 1968. He was the detachment commander of the furthest northern helicopter unit stationed in the MACV compound at Hue.
A Shawnee native, Bob is vice chairman of Shawnee Milling Company and manages their flour mill located in Okeene. He was recently inducted into the Oklahoma Military Hall of Fame.
Captain Ford also received the Military Hall of Fame’s Maj. Gen. Douglas O. Dollar Distinguished Public Service Award for service to communities and veterans.
The former UH-1 Huey combat pilot has written a book, Black Cat 2-1, about his tour of duty in Vietnam. All his combat flying was as a 1st Lieutenant, was promoted Captain one week before returning to America and served as an instructor pilot at Ft Wolters Texas his last year of active duty.
Bob Ford was honorably discharged from the army after serving 3 years and is in partnership with the Oklahoma History Center continuing to tell the narrative of service and sacrifice made by so many in the war.
“We all served with honor and dedication. Ford said. We had no expectations but to serve our country where duty called us. We asked for no reward except a nation’s thanks.”
Gean Atkinson is president of Atkinson Advertising Associates which he founded in 1975. He is a past president of Club 29 and of the Committee of One Hundred. He has bachelors and master’s degrees in Journalism and Radio & Television from the University of Central Oklahoma and was named the Outstanding Journalism Graduate Student and later a UCO Distinguished Alumni. He is a member of numerous boards including Delta Dental of Oklahoma, New View Oklahoma, and President Directors of Friends of the History Center. He is a co-founder and chairman emeritus of Friends of the Capitol. He served as a Marine Lieutenant in Vietnam and Navy Captain in Desert Shield/Storm. His numerous awards include the Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry bestowed by the South Vietnamese government. He is past president of the Navy League of OKC and is a charter member of the Marine Corps Coordinating Council of Oklahoma. He serves on the Service Academy Selection Committee for Senator James Lankford. He is an inductee to the Oklahoma Journalism Hall of Fame and has authored three books and is working on the fourth.
He and his wife Sally have been married 44 years and have three grown children and two grandchildren