Bob Lull of Woodway is a “proud Army brat.” For the first two years of his life in Florida, his dad served as a medical officer under Gen. George S. Patton during World War II. Father and son didn’t meet until World War II had ended.
Lull comes from a long line of military men, including a grandfather who was a major general who served during the Mexican border campaign, WWI and WWII on the War Department staff; a great-grandfather who was a brigadier general in the Civil War; a brother who served in Vietnam; and two sons who have served, one in the Texas National Guard for eight years, and the other a commander with the Navy, now with the Atlantic Fleet.
There was never any question about Lull, 73, entering the military. “I understood the Army life,” he said.
Lull grew up a typical Army child, traveling throughout the world. He graduated from high school in El Paso and went to Trinity University in San Antonio, where he met his future wife, Penny Mead.
After graduation, he enlisted in the Army in 1965 and was stationed at Fort Bliss before he was deployed to Vietnam as a 2nd lieutenant. There he served as platoon leader of the 1st Squadron, 4th Cavalry, in the 1st Infantry Division in the Medical Service Corps.
As part of the Armored Cavalry, Lull led a platoon of combat medics who spent months at a time in the jungle providing basic medical care. It wasn’t uncommon for his platoon to be out up to three months, returning to base to resupply and clean up.
“It was certainly intense. It’s a close affiliation with your buddies,” he said. “Occasionally, it was scary.” They would fight both the NVA and the Viet Cong. He laughed when he recalled the first time he was shot at. “I said, ‘That guy’s shooting at me!’ ”
Saddest detail for any soldier
His worst time in Vietnam was two weeks before the end of his tour, when a good friend was killed. The family asked that Lull escort the man’s body home. “That was probably the toughest thing I had to do,” he said.
Lull spent the next year and half at Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio, where he trained others preparing to go to Vietnam. He was also staioned at Fort Gillem, in Georgia, for logistics training. By this time, he was a captain. He returned to Vietnam in 1969, commanding a support company — transportation, maintenance and supply — with detachments up and down the coast. His unit supported American, Korean and Philippine units.
Back stateside, the Army sent Lull to the University of Texas at Austin, where he earned one of his three master’s degrees. Afterward, he traveled throughout the U.S., Ecuador, Panama and Germany for five years.
To some South Korea and then
In 1977, he went to South Korea, again as commander of a support battalion, comprising three companies — two American and one Korean. “Korea is a beautiful country,” Lull said. “It has a 2,000-year-old history.”
There were other adventures, including a four-year posting in Germany, family in tow, where he was promoted to lieutenant colonel. His favorite assignment, however, was at West Point where he was on the logistics staff and served as deputy commander of the MEDDAC. He also worked as a ski instructor in his spare time.
“I loved it. It was probably the best assignment I ever had,” Lull said. “The people, the staff — everybody — were just terrific people.”
His last assignment was back at Fort Sam, where he served with the headquarters of the Army Medical Command. He retired as a lieutenant colonel in 1987 with a collection of medals, including the Army Commendation Medal, an Army Achievement Medal and the Vietnam Cross of Gallantry, among others.
Lull went right to work as vice president for support services at a hospital in Edinburg before he was offered a similar position at the University of New Mexico Medical Center. He later took a job at Memorial Hermann in Houston before he got together with several friends and started a consulting company specializing in hospital support services. The operation turned out to be quite lucrative, and they eventually sold the business.
Lull worked for the new ownership for a few years before leaving to join Hillcrest Baptist Medical Center in Waco. After retiring he worked as an adjunct history teacher for McLennan Community College.
Now retired altogether, the Civil War buff and avid golfer has been married 52 years and has two sons and three granddaughters. He is currently writing his second book. His first, “Civil War General and Indian Fighter James M. Williams: Leader of the 1st Kansas Colored Volunteer Infantry and the 8th U.S. Cavalry,” was published in 2013.
As for his career, Lull said, “I’m very proud to have served the United States. I wouldn't trade that experience for anything. I consider it an honor to have served.
“Voices of Valor,” featuring stories about Central Texas veterans, publishes every Sunday in the Waco Trib. To suggest a story about a Central Texas veteran, email email@example.com. Voices of Valor is proudly sponsored by Johnson Roofing.