Bob Whitworth was born in 1946 in Delano, a small farming community in Central California. He grew up hunting, fishing, and building go-carts. As a teenager, he worked for his dad in the gasoline station their family operated.
Bob was drafted into the U.S. Army on June 14, 1967, at the age of 20. He served with the Americal Division, 21st Infantry, 4th Battalion, 11th Light Infantry Brigade, Delta Company, 2nd Platoon in the Republic of Vietnam from April 1968 to April 1969 and is a recipient of the Bronze Star with “V”, the Purple Heart, and the Combat Infantry Badge, as well as other awards. He came home in April of 1969 and married Beth, his sweetheart of two years, one month later.
When Bob came back from the war it was a struggle, as it is for many veterans, to find work that suited him. He held various jobs for the first couple of years but eventually apprenticed with the Steamfitter’s Local 342 where he worked his way to a General Foreman’s position. His 30 years running jobs in heavy construction gave him opportunities to solve problems and work with many different kinds of people from all over the United States.
Bob earned his private pilot’s license in 1984. Over the years he has owned three airplanes: a Cessna 150, a Cessna 170 and in 1990 he restored a 1954 Cessna 180. He and Beth have adventured together, flying around the western United States.
After his service in Vietnam, Bob continually struggled with nightmares, haunting memories of the war, and the continuing effects of malaria. After 30 years, and much persuasion from Beth, Bob again went to the Concord Veteran’s center where they finally had someone running the program who truly cared about combat veterans. For many years Bob was an active participant in their efforts to care for Veterans and became a mentor to returning combat soldiers.
After retiring as a result of health issues, Bob received a call from one of his Vietnam buddies looking for information about one of the men killed during a battle in which Bob had fought. That battle, as well as his other experiences, were not something Bob normally discussed. But, because his buddy asked him to, he wrote out the story of that time near Tam Ky. Several people read it and encouraged Bob to write more about his service in Vietnam. That’s how the story of his tour came to be told.
Although the nightmares, ear ringing, and haunting memories remain, the character Bob has gained from perseverance through the toughest of times has paid rewarding dividends and gives him hope for the future.
Bob enjoys hunting, fishing, and traveling with Beth. He loves dogs of all kinds. His German Shorthaired Pointer, Dallas, was a constant companion for more than twelve years and is sorely missed. Now his GSP, Rosebud, aka: Buddy, can be seen with him almost everywhere he goes.
Bob and Beth live in Central California and are members of Grace Central Coast. They have two children and five grandchildren.