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, Kansas.

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.

In 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.