April 23, 2024

Local Marines Corps vet raises funds for disabled vets

WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) — Bob Gault followed in the footsteps of his father and uncle, both steelworkers and Korean War veterans, and enlisted in the U.S. Marines Corp in 1976. Serving a tour and taking advantage of the GI Bill was his ticket to college.

We pick up Gault’s story on his 18th birthday.

“My 18th birthday was my very first day of boot camp at Parris Island, South Carolina. So, that was pretty interesting,” said Gault.

After boot camp, Gault was assigned to VMO-1 and the OV-10 Bronco wing squadron in New River, North Carolina.

“I was in the Marine Air Group 29, and I was with a squadron VMO-1. VMO is a Vertical Marine Observation plane. Of the twin-engine recon planes, used extensively during the Vietnam War,” explained Gault.

He was with that squadron for two-and-a-half years and said he loved it. Gault adds he had visions of becoming a pilot but never did.

“The most fun job that I had in the Marine Corps was I got to taxi those airplanes. I had what they called a seat license where I can taxi them out to the tie-down area, where we would test the engines,” said Gault.

Gault also spent time at Marine Security School in Washington D.C. before going to college at Indiana University of Pennsylvania.

“My undergraduate degree was in industrial safety science and industrial engineering. I ended up going to work for corporate America, and I basically started out as a safety engineer slash environmental engineer, working for major corporations, doing their environmental paperwork,” said Gault.

Around 40 years ago, Gault was the president of the Veteran’s Group at IUP when he and his future wife, Angie, proposed a Vietnam Veteran’s Memorial on campus. IUP was the first college or university in the country to do this.

It was just the beginning of a life of service and gratitude.

“Yes, we’ve always done it. No matter where we live. We’ve always gone out and tried to volunteer and help others and do whatever needed to be done,” said Gault.

When the Gault family moved to Wichita about three years ago, Bob and Angie became very involved with American Legion Post 4. Then, last summer, Gault took on a big challenge with disabled veterans as his inspiration.

“Myself and another Marine who lives in Georgia, we did a motorcycle ride literally around the United States. All four corners of the United States. We put in about 17,000 miles, and we ended up raising close to $40,000 for the Tunnel to Towers Foundation,” he said.

The Tunnel To Towers Foundation helps homeless veterans and those who’ve been seriously injured.

“If you’re an active duty member in any of our military, and you’re seriously injured in the line of duty, and you’re now confined to a wheelchair the rest of your life, Tunnel to Towers will build them a custom-built home designed for their handicap for their lifelong disability. It’s mortgage-free,” said Gault.

The Gaults also volunteer for the Kansas Honor Flight.

“We had the privilege to be able to escort two veterans on one of the recent Kansas Honor Flights and be their guardians during the trip,” said Gault. “It was very gratifying, and it was just a great experience.”

Gault says he’s proud to be a U.S. Marine and says he chose that path as a way to honor his father, uncle, and older brother.

“Until you’ve been in the service, and you’ve served your country, you know, I don’t think anybody can understand that feeling,” he said.

Gault says he’s also proud to carry on his family’s military legacy. His daughter is an Air Force commander. Also, Gault says he’s visited countless America Legion posts around the country and says none of them compare to Wichita’s Post 4.

The Gaults say they’re happy they settled in Wichita.

If you want to nominate a veteran for our Veteran Salute, email KSN reporter Jason Lamb at jason.lamb@ksn.com.

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