Vietnam veteran retires from Missouri Army National Guard

Sgt. 1st Class Bob Garner, an aircraft mechanic for the Missouri National Guard's counterdrug program, takes his last flight in an OH-58A helicopter before he retires. Garner served a total of 26 years in the United States military, serving in both the Navy and the Missouri Army National Guard. (Submitted photo)

 

By Sgt. Sarah E. Lupescu
ngmo.pao@us.army.mil

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. - After 26 years of service in the U.S. Navy and Missouri Army National Guard, a local Guardsman is retiring.

Sgt. 1st Class Bob Garner, a Vietnam veteran and current aircraft mechanic for the Missouri National Guard's counterdrug program, spent his last 15 years of military service working full-time in Jefferson City. Garner said those 15 years were the highlight of his National Guard career.

"I worked three years on the summer program at Whiteman Air Force Base and then I found out about the Reconnaissance Aerial Interdiction Detachment," Garner said. "It was an assignment that was originally supposed to last for one year and it turns out I've been here for 15."

The Reconnaissance Aerial Interdiction Detachment, or RAID, is a group of full-time pilots and crew chiefs that support missions such as observation, vehicle and fugitive tracking, and cover and force protection. The RAID is equipped with OH-58A helicopters to support federal, state and local law enforcement agencies' demand for aviation support in counterdrug operations.

"I'm going to miss the people I work with the most," Garner said. "I'll miss the feeling of belonging to an organization as good and great as the military. It's always been a part of my life."

As a Missouri National Guard retiree, Garner hopes to start a new career in a similar field of work.

"I hope to find something in the field of aviation," Garner said. "I'd like to continue aircraft maintenance work."

Before his days in the military began, Garner grew up in a Family of veterans.

"The military has always been a part of my Family," Garner said. "My grandfather was a World War I veteran, my dad was a World War II veteran, I'm a Vietnam veteran, my daughter is a Desert Storm veteran and my step-son is in the Navy."

Garner enlisted in the United States Navy and served as an aircrew survival equipment man. Some of his duties included keeping parachutes, life rafts, personal flight gear, and other aviation survival gear in proper working condition.

"The first reason I joined the military was ever since I was a little kid I knew there was a big world out there and I wanted to see it," Garner said. "And I did with the Navy. I've been all over Asia, Shanghai, Singapore, Hong Kong, Japan, the Philippines, India, and Australia."
Garner deployed twice during his service with the Navy.

"The first one was for the evacuation of Vietnam in April, 1975," Garner said.

Garner has been supported in his military service by his wife Judy.

"She is my high school sweetheart," Garner said. "I've been in love with her ever since the day I laid eyes on her."

For more information about the Missouri National Guard, please visit www.moguard.com and our social media sites: www.facebook.com/Missouri.National.Guard; www.twitter.com/Missouri_NG; www.youtube.com/MoNationalGuard; www.myspace.com/missouri_ng; www.flickr.com/photos/missouriguard; www.moguard.com/blog; www.pinterest.com/monationalguard/

 

Sgt. 1st Class Bob Garner, an aircraft mechanic for the Missouri National Guard's counterdrug program, takes his last flight in an OH-58A helicopter before he retires. Garner served a total of 26 years in the United States military, serving in both the Navy and the Missouri Army National Guard. (Submitted photo)


Missouri National Guard   ::   2302 Militia Drive   ::   Jefferson City, MO 65101   ::   888-526-MONG (888-526-6664)
Copyright © 2014 Missouri National Guard. All rights reserved.