CPT ROBERT WITHERS
Winter Garden, FL
Mission Accomplished on Nov. 21, 2015
On his third voluntary deployment, Army Captain Robert “Bobby” Withers was serving as Platoon Leader of the Personal Security Detachment for the Commander of Task Force Morgan, responsible for Parwan province, Afghanistan. Before sunrise, on the morning of May 19, 2010, foreign fighters launched what was to be the largest attack on an Air Force base in 40 years, breaching the perimeter of Bagram Airbase in two locations. A group of suicide bombers in Army Combat Uniforms attempted to infiltrate the base, each equipped with explosive vests, RPGs, AK-47s, and grenades.
With support from a Special Forces element, CPT Withers led soldiers from TF Morgan into action eliminating the threat of attackers on the far side of the wall. While securing the perimeter and conducting a subsequent movement to contact with remaining attackers, CPT Withers stepped directly upon an anti-personnel mine, launching him roughly ten feet in the air, severing the bottom of his right leg, and almost the entire back of his left leg. Disregarding numerous threats from mines and small arms fire, a Special Forces Team Sergeant and one of CPT Withers’ Squad Leaders rushed to his side and provided medical care that was able to limit blood loss and provided safe transport, ultimately saving CPT Withers’ life.
Over the following several months recovering at Walter Reed Army Medical Center, Bobby underwent numerous surgeries including the amputation of his right leg below the knee and numerous skin grafts. He currently still has hundreds of pieces of shrapnel in his limbs that require more surgery.
Having grown-up in both North Carolina and Florida, Bobby chose to build his home in Central Florida to be near family and for the multitude of Veteran support services available there. He says the changes a specially adapted home bring him are like “night and day” to his previous living situation. He currently experiences severe pain in his back and legs, and in his previous home was often limited to the bedroom because his wheelchair did not fit through the door. Wide doorways and an open floor plan in his Homes For Our Troops home allow him to access every room easily.
Bobby says the new home allows him to establish a base of operations where he can pursue his goals and dreams. He has been able to Pay it Forward as a platoon leader with The Mission Continues and has volunteered with the National Wheelchair Games in Orlando. He has also supported fellow HFOT Veterans by running several races with Team HFOT. His ultimate goal is to volunteer as a member of Team Rubicon and utilize the skills he learned in the post-Katrina New Orleans response with the National Guard. He would also like to work for Global Hope Network International. The home allows him to spend more time with his two daughters, Madison and Keziah.
Bobby says “Thank You” is not enough to express his gratitude to Homes For Our Troops supporters and donors. “When you see the worst the world has to offer and live with a constant reminder of that every day, it’s easy to get lost in what is wrong with the world. It’s because of your support that I am able to wake up and smile again,” he says.