LTC Robert Leon Wilkie Sr., US Army retired, 79, of Owens Cross Roads, Alabama, passed away on Wednesday, May 3, 2017. He was born in Monroe, Louisiana on March 15, 1938 to the late Harl Sutton and Gladys Inez Gamble Wilkie. He met and married the love of his life, Joy Somerville Wilkie on October 22, 1961. LTC Wilkie is survived by his wife of 55 years, Joy Somerville Wilkie; son, Robert Leon Wilkie; daughter, Dana Wilkie Laskey; mother-in-law, Marie Somerville; five grandsons; two granddaughters and several nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his parents; brother, Charles William "Bill" Wilkie; father-in-law, Abram Douglas Somerville; son, Douglas Charles Wilkie. LTC Wilkie's education included Merrick Grade School, Saint Aloysius Catholic High School, Loyola University where he received a BS in History, MS in Business, MS in Adult Education, a MS in Computer Science and a DBA in Business Administration. He was a member of the Sigma Alpha Kappa Fraternity. His military training included the following courses: Artillery School at Fort Sill, Artillery Basic and Advanced Courses, Airborne Course at Fort Benning, Ranger Course at Fort Benning, 8 inch Nuclear War Head assembly Course at Oberramagu, FRG, Chemical, Biological and Radiological Warfare Defense Course at Vilseck, FRG, US Army Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth, Joint Command and General Staff College at Norfolk and US Air Force War College at Maxwell Air Force Base. His military service included the European Theater during the Cold War. He commanded Washington's Artillery Battery in New Orleans and 1st Battalion (Airborne) 320th Field Artillery Battalion. He lived up to the Battalion motto, "Willing and able." He served as an Instructor at Fort Sill. He volunteered and served in the War in Vietnam where he was wounded three times. There as an Advisor he supported RVN Forces, Australian Brigade, Seiks and Gurkus Forces. He served as an Exchange Officer in the United Kingdom attached to the United States Embassy. His last assignment was Chief of Staff US Army Reserve Manage Region at Fort Knox. LTC Wilkie received numerous decorations during his military career to include the following: Distinguished Flying Cross, Soldiers Medal (3 awards), Bronze Star (4 Awards-1 for Valor-3 for Service), Air Medal (4 Awards), Purple Heart (3 Awards), Meritorious Service Medal, Army Commendation Medal, Combat Infantry Badge, Senior Parachutist Badge, Ranger Tab, British Parachutist and Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry (3 awards). Areas of specialty included Field Artillery Officer, Intelligence Officer, Joint Planning Officer, Nuclear Biological and Chemical Deployment Officer, Level One Qualified Instructor, Senior Parachutist and Army Ranger. After retirement, he continued to serve the defense sector, managing the Space and Missile Defense Conference and as a member of the National Defense Industrial Association Board of Directors. He also was a member of the Military Order of World Wars (MOWW), member of the Madison County Hall of Heroes, member of the North Alabama Veterans and Fraternal Organizations Coalition (NAVFOC). Along with his patriotic service to the men and women of our Armed Forces, LTC Wilkie served our country as a member of the Republican Party Executive Committee, Election Poll Watcher and an advisor to political groups and elected officials. Visitation will be held on Friday, May 12, 2017 at Lake Lawn Metairie Funeral Home beginning at 12:00 noon, followed by a Funeral Mass at 1:00 pm, with Father Billy O'Riordan officiating. Entombment, with full military honors to follow in Lake Lawn Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, the family asks donations be made to Huntsville-Madison County Veterans Memorial Foundation, PO Box 16030, Huntsville, AL 35802 in his memory. Please sign his guest registry at www.lakelawnmetairie.com
A Memorial Service honoring LTC Robert Wilkie will be held in Huntsville at a later date.
Published by The New Orleans Advocate from May 9 to May 12, 2017.