Fort A.P. Hill loses a leader, friend and mentor

By Bob McElroy IMCOMJanuary 22, 2015

Fort A.P. Hill loses a leader, friend and mentor
(Photo Credit: U.S. Army) VIEW ORIGINAL

FORT A.P. HILL, Va. - When Fort A.P. Hill deputy garrison commander Bob Wright passed away Monday, Jan. 19, he left a legacy as a proud yet humble Soldier for Life and a calm, mature leader who will be missed.

Wright served his country and the U.S. Army for the better part of 40 years, first as an enlisted Soldier, then as an officer and finally as an Army Civilian. Throughout his life he embraced the challenging jobs and rose to the top.

He was a drill sergeant, a tank commander, a battalion commander, a base manager and a deputy garrison commander. He was a firm, decisive leader yet he always had time to teach and mentor, to listen and counsel.

As a young Army officer Wright served three consecutive one-year combat tours in Vietnam and was wounded three times. He was awarded the Silver Star, America's third highest award for bravery under fire. He was decorated for valor five more times before he left Vietnam--thrice by the U.S. Army, twice by the Republic of Vietnam.

Following his service in Vietnam Wright served in Panama, South Korea and the Continental United States. He commanded two Armored Cavalry Troops, an Air Assault Infantry Battalion, a Basic Combat Training Company, a student company at the U.S. Army War College and served as an Armored Cavalry Squadron Executive Officer.

Wright retired from active duty as a colonel but the Army drew him back and he began a civilian career that would take him from Korea to Hawaii to Okinawa and back to America.

He served as deputy garrison commander for Pohakuloa Training Area on Hawaii Island where he managed more than 200 Army Civilians and contractors and a 130,000-acre training area that supported all American military forces in the Pacific Region.

Wright left Hawaii to be the base manager of Torii Station, Okinawa, Japan. He managed seven U.S. Army installations and supported more than 5,000 Soldiers, family members and Retirees. He also interacted daily with local Japanese Government Officials and the senior mission commander.

When he completed his tour in Okinawa Wright served as a Senior Specialist for the Regional Installation Support Team, Atlantic Region, U.S. Army Installation Management Command, at Fort Eustis, Va. He was a key member of the team that built garrison organizations for Army Material Command installations that were being transferred to IMCOM.

Wright left the Atlantic Region RIST for the deputy garrison commander's position at Fort A.P. Hill in February 2012. He managed the more than 300 Army Civilians and contractors, a 76,000-acre post and supported up to 90,000 active and reserve-component Soldiers, Marines, Airmen and Sailors who trained at A.P. Hill annually.

Fort A.P. Hill garrison commander Lt. Col. David A. Meyer remembered Wright as a proud Soldier who lived two lifetimes of service.

"Bob Wright was a great help to me when I took command of Fort A.P. Hill last June. But, more than anything, I am impressed by his 40 years of service to his country as a Soldier and Department of the Army Civilian. I am proud to have served with him and will miss him and the wise counsel he shared with me."

Wright is survived by his wife, Victoria Kim Wright. A funeral service will be held Friday, Jan. 23, 2015 at 2 p.m. in the chapel of Storke Funeral Home, Bowling Green. The family will receive friends at the funeral home, one hour prior to the service and will also host a reception following the service. Burial with military honors will occur at a later date in Wiscasset, Maine.

Online condolences may be left for the family at