N. (Bob) Lichtenberger
Patriot, Chapter 1919
Article May 2008
Chapter 1919’s own,
Patriot Robert N. (Bob) Lichtenberger,
Past National Commander (2004-2005), died at home in Austin, Texas, April
30, 2008, at age 65.
Robert N. Lichtenberger was born in 1943 in Corpus
Christi, Texas. He grew up in South Texas and graduated high school in Agua
Dulce as Salutatorian. He was also a letterman in football, basketball, and
track and field and was offered a four-year university scholarship. But
Bob, determined to serve his country, turned down the scholarship and
enlisted in the Army in 1962.
He was selected for Officer Candidate School and upon
graduation in 1964 was commissioned Second Lieutenant. He earned Army
Parachutist wings, Army Aviator wings, and he served in a succession of
command and staff assignments throughout a distinguished twenty-eight year
military career. Noteworthy events of that career included command of an
artillery battalion, foreign area officer for Latin American countries,
service on both the Army General Staff and on the Joint Staff in the
Pentagon, graduating and instructing at the U.S. Inter-American Defense
College, and induction into the OCS Hall of Fame.
Bob served two tours in Vietnam, was decorated for valor
during both assignments and was awarded the Purple Heart for wounds
sustained during TET-68. He also had other foreign country tours including
in the Middle East and Panama. While on active duty, Bob earned his
Bachelor of Arts, Summa Cum Laude, from Benedictine College in Atchison,
Kansas, and his Master of Arts from the University of Kansas in Lawrence,
He retired with the rank of Colonel in 1990, and then
pursued a post-military career working in the financial industry and in
serving his fellow veterans. Initially, he went into business for himself
in Northern Virginia. But, after seven years there he returned home to
Texas and settled in Austin.
In March 1998, shortly after arrival in Austin, Bob
transferred his membership in the Military Order of the Purple Heart to the
very recently organized, and rapidly growing, local Texas Capital Chapter
1919. He volunteered to serve the chapter in any capacity needed, and
immediately started working shifts at the Purple Heart Coffee Bar at the
Austin VA Outpatient Clinic. From there, his rise through the ranks of the
Order was nothing short of meteoric. He worked through the chairs, becoming
Chapter Commander in 2000. Bob was elected Commander, Department of Texas
in 2001, and thereafter became Region V Commander.
In 2004 Robert N. Lichtenberger was elected National
Commander and served his term of office advocating veterans’ issues at the
local, state and national levels. At the conclusion of his tour, he was
selected by the Chapel of the Four Chaplains for that year’s award of their
Legion of Honor Bronze Medallion, “for having served as a model of selfless
service to community, nation, and humanity.” Previous recipients include
Presidents Truman, Eisenhower, Carter, and Reagan.
Following his term as National Commander, Bob was elected
to the Military Order of the Purple Heart Service Foundation as a Director.
He subsequently became the Secretary of the Executive Board, and served
appointments a member of the Foundation’s Investment Committee and as
Chairman of the Audit Committee. During that period, he was also very
active in supporting his Chapter 1919 and the Department of Texas, readily
using the many contacts that he had developed to best advantage for the good
of the Order and devoting a tremendous amount of his personal time to help
out wherever it was needed.
each job that he took on, Robert served with great energy and enthusiasm.
He did much and he had much more to give, but was unexpectedly stricken with
the rapid onset of a terminal illness. He passed away on April 30, 2008 at
age 65. Services in Austin on May 6th were attended by many of his
national, department, and chapter fellow patriots, and he was laid to his
final rest in the Texas State Cemetery. His presence is greatly missed.
Following Rosary at Weed-Corley-Fish Chapel on May 5th and Funeral services
the next day at St. Catherine of Siena Catholic Church, he was laid to rest
in honored glory in the Texas State Cemetery on May 6, 2008.
Obituary (Austin American Statesman)