Barracks at Fort Sill dedicated
Shelly Wright teared up thinking of what it meant to see her family name on a building at Fort Sill, where her brother trained before making the ultimate sacrifice in Vietnam.
"Bob has been honored through the years, and it's always kind of mind-boggling, but when we drove around the corner, and to see your family name on a structure of this size, that has a purpose this one does, it's huge," she said.
She and her brother Mike, who retired from the military after five years in the Army and 15 in the Navy, helped unveil a temporary plaque Friday on Building 4404 off Mow-Way Road. A bronze plaque will take its place once everything on it is correct, according to Lt. Col. Michael Mullins, commander of 1st Battalion, 78th Field Artillery.
The building is a barracks for soldiers in Advanced Individual Training who are studying to become fire support officers (13 Fox) and usually houses about 350 soldiers at any given time, according to Capt. Prince Zawola, commander of B Battery, 1-78 FA. The training was six weeks long, but it's set to go to nine weeks next fiscal year and Fort Sill is already piloting a course of that length.
"I was shocked. Absolutely shocked," said Mike Wright, who was two years junior to the honoree, 2nd Lt. Robert Carrol Wright. "Every United States Army artilleryman comes through this door. So they'll all go through Wright Hall. It's beyond my vocabulary."
Their brother Kelly was 10 years younger than Bob, and Shelly was 14 years younger. When she was 7 and Mike was 19 and wearing the Army uniform, a ceremony was held at Fort Sill to present the family with a posthumous Distinguished Service Cross an award second only to the Medal of Honor for the young lieutenant's defense of Hill 285 near Duc Pho on Jan. 2, 1970. He died attempting to save a wounded radioman.