|Robert G Bender|
Patrol Squadron Two 1961-1964[nvsoar__21Jul2008]
I was born in 1936 at
a very young age
in Middleville, Michigan. Graduated Michigan State University
and had my first date with a freshman
named Carol Cox on graduation
day. We were married a year later as I was about to begin
training in Pensacola. Carol turned out to be way smarter,
disciplined, organized and focused than I could ever hope to be but,
hey, even a blind sow finds an acorn - - - sometimes. We
reasonably normal kids who were born respectively in Texas,
Washington and Ohio.
After flight training
and 3 months at
the VP RAG in San Diego, we reported to VP-2 at Whidbey in January of
1961. Three Alaskan deployments later we departed the active
pattern, returned to Michigan, and affiliated with the
First tour there was with an S-2 squadron at NAS Grosse Ile, which
was relocated to Selfridge ANG base and became NAF Detroit, and
transitioned to the P-3. Once again the blind sow found the
and, after tours as Safety Officer, Ops boss and XO, became CO of
VP-93 in 1981.
Obviously that tour
ended my flying
career with the Navy but, once again the blind sow effect carried me
along, and I spent the last 9 years of my Naval Career as a staff
officer at NATO headquarters in Brussels, Belgium. There my
memorable experience was to have been assigned as personal escort to
Prince Charles as he conducted an inspection tour of NATO –
unfortunately without the late Princess Diana. I finally
the Navy in 1991.
Meanwhile, returning to Michigan from active duty in 1964, my day job involved owning and operating an 1100 acre, 500 head dairy farm. We were in the farming business for the next 20 years and, after the required lobotomy (in which a portion of the brain is removed) went kicking and screaming into the political arena. I then served on and chaired the County Board of Commissioners for four years and was elected, in 1982, to the full time Michigan Legislature where I served for the next 12 years.
misguided period in our
lives, Carol retired from teaching and we served two years as Peace
Corps volunteers in Russia. It took me that long to finally
out how to read and pronounce the names of those Soviet ships we used
to rig back in VP-2. Ironically, one of the Russians we met
been a fire control technician on a Soviet destroyer, operating in
the north Pacific, at the exact same time we were flying those mind
numbing patrols out of Adak. It is entirely possible that he
been manning those guns that tracked us as we made a low pass along
side their ship.
Returning from our
in 1997, we formed a small consulting firm (Bender and Associates)
and did some governmental and rural development consulting.
finally hung up the spurs and retired for good in 2002. We
live in Middleville, my home town from birth, and winter in Florida.