Mike Whitman:  

Mike Whitman's Classmates® Profile Photo
Leon High SchoolClass of 1969
Tallahassee, FL
Orlando, FL
Raa Middle SchoolClass of 1966
Tallahassee, FL
Wauchula, FL
Wauchula, FL

Mike's Story

Life I started school as a Kindergardener with Ms Heart at the Little Red School House in Wauchula, FL. I went through 6 years at the old wooden Wauchula Elementary School before it was torn down. My mom was a school teachher there at the same time. I could never do anything wrong without getting caught. I learned how to do many things from sports to how to swim at the old pool near Zolfo Springs. I formed many of my most fond memories while living in Wauchula as well as made some great friends whom I miss to this day very, very much. I then went to Hardee Jr High School where I played football with coach Leon Sharp and was in the Little League All Stars a couple of years. We even went to the State Championship once in Tampa. I remember some great times in Wauchula with friends like, Frank Davis, Bobby Reddick, JET Tillis, Al Pace, Emory McClendon, Joel Davis & his fireworks stash, Buck Redding, Bobby Bellflower, Johnnie Purdue, & others as well as a few females like Marsha Himrod & Gloria Clavel. I can remember stories of many more friends but am limited in space. My school pictures bring back the fondest of memories. My parents both accepted career enhancing jobs in Tallahassee, FL when I was in the 9th grade. I hated moving away from Wauchula more than anything. Took me a couple of years to get over the loss of my childhood friends. In Tallahassee, FL, I attended Raa Jr High and then went to Leon High where I graduated as a part of the Class of 1969. I then went to Tallahassee Community College because the class sizes were smaller and then on to Florida State. In 1973, I graduated from FSU w/a BS degree in Industrial Arts Ed/Technology Ed & was Commissioned as an Officer in the US Army. I married a lady named Sandy from Miami Springs, FL. I attended Infantry Officer Basic, Airborne, Ranger, Sniper, Pathfinder Schools at Ft. Benning,GA. Then, on to Aschaffenburg, Germany for 5 years after a 6 month TDY trip to Viet Nam where I was a liason with Ranger company. WhoAhh! My first 2 children, Shawn & Kim, were both born in Germany. Made some lifelong friends (Dale Vonna) & had some fantastic adventures. My 1st Company Command was there at E Co. 703rd Maintenance Bn. After a successful time in Europe, I was sent to Aberdeen Proving Ground, MD for Officer Advance School. Graduated top of class and was selected to work for 1yr in the Army's Training with Industry program at the Corporate HQ's for John Deere, in Moline, IL. GREAT JOB! My 1st marriage didn't work out as planned so divorced in'81. Then, went to the Army's Tank & Automotive Research Development Center in Warren, MI. I was sent to several foreign countries to spy on their technology & bring it back to the USA if possible in order to reverse engineer it. Exciting times! It helped us improve all of our US Military equipment. I also helped develop several weapon vehicles including the Fast Attack Vehicle for our Special Forces, the 10-ton M.A.N. truck & trailer that pulled all of our Nuclear Ground Launched Cruise Missles & Pershing II Missile Systems, the Small Unit Support Vehicle used in Alaska & the High Mobility Multipurposed Wheeled Vehicle(HMMWV or HumVee);now it's called the civilianized "Hummer". I married my 2nd wife Katy just months prior to going unaccompanied to Korea for a year where I Commanded the 520th Maintenance Company of the 194th Maintenance Bn. It was the best! I had Great times. Met & led some really great people. It was a great experience for me(Hey there Vicky). My next stop was Hawaii. That was 4 yrs of fun travel & adventure all over the Pacific. 1st attached to a Special Ops group on the hill at Ft Smith, I was sent on a few Black Ops missions from there. Then, was stationed at Schofield Barracks where I served in the 25th Division & in the Corpse Support Command. My most unusal assignment was to help develop the new MREs for the Army. For a short time, I was even the Vice Prsident's (George Bush) military liason. While there, I also had the opportunity to go back to visit Korea 4 times, Japan 3 times, Thailand 2 times, Alaska, Australia, Hong Kong, Thailand, Philipines, and other exotics places such as Midway Island a few times. I made some great friends in Hawaii & my son Gabe was born there. Later, while stationed in the 24th Division at Ft. Stewart, GA, my 2nd son with my 2nd wife,Tyler,was born. During the later part of my tour there, I became one of the very first soldiers sent to Desert Shield; the beginning of the Persian Gulf War. I even got to water ski in the Persian Gulf. Kool...During Desert Storm, my HMMWV ran over a land mine (IED) while our Division was attacking the Republican Guard forces in Iraq near Basra (remember the big right hook). Well, somehow, I survived & was considered 50% disabled. I also survived being attacked by some Iraqi Special Forces that had been bypassed by our fast moving Infantry on their way to Basra. Glad to say that all Americans w/me survived. After Desert Storm, I was selected to Command a Battalion in Europe. However, Pres. Clinton downsized the Armed Forces, so I was sent to Command the Selfridge Air National Guard Base in, Mt. Clemens, MI. I hated going back there with a passion. I was a trooper not a staff weenie. I declined the job. On 31 Dec'93, I retired as a Lieutenant Colonel & moved back to my home state of Florida. In Feb'94, I became the Director of Maintenance (Asst Super) for the Osceola County School District the ONLY reason I moved to Kissimmee, FL. In '96, I accepted a great opportunity & became President of WhitMart Corporation & Chairman of the Board of United Vision Corp an Internatinal Printing Press Remanufacturing Business. After 4yrs of Corporate World, I chose quality of life over quanity & taught 8th Grade Technology in Orlando for 8yrs. Hated it w/passion! Great teachers and librarian. All of us left. I stopped teaching in'07. Now, I'm back to working for myself, Govt Contracting and have recently undergone a divorce. All of my children have flown the coup, graduated from college or are currently attending. My desire is to move back to Tally to be closer to family as both my parents, both my younger brothers and my two oldest children from my 1st marriage have chosen to call it home. Nothing worse than being alone, so home I go as soon as my ranch sells. School My biggest crush in High School was on Patricia Perry. I still have a warm spot in my heart for her and will always wonder what could have been. College Streaking naked across Landis Green, panty raids, the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, Cheech and Chong, Intramural sports with Danny Mcknight, Pershing Rifles and its famous hell weeks, the FSU rifle team, the FSU bowling team, designing Go to Hell Gators buttons, the FSU Circus, the ROTC members being surrounded by VietNam War protesters during a Thursday drill as well as the Viet Nam Vet Cadre there who taught me...Expand for more
how to survive after an Abby Hoffman led protest, the Keep your Head Shop, the Sexual Revolution, My first hit of purple Acid and yes I inhaled, the many parties that I recall very little about, watching Gary Huff win the football game for us at GA Tech that put our football team back on the winning track and selling "Go to Hell" Gator Buttons with the Le Blue Berret to make some money for our club activities all seem to have those reminicent qualities that I can't seem to shake. Getting a Master in Leadership while graduating top of my class at the Command and General Staff College was awesome experience. getting a Masters from the University of South Florida was an eye opener as to how the kids of this generation really have it made. Still, I miss the fun of all my college days regardless of when I attended. Workplace Currently, I've retired from my last two jobs, Orange County School District and WhitMart Corporation and am working for myself. I'm a well educated hobo it seems to some. I do some selective US Govt contracting work. Can only play golf, go fishing and etc by yourself for so long. For the past couple of years, I had worked my way back up from Sr.VP to President of WhitMart Corp. Then, after retiring, I got divorced and am now working just for me. Prior to my WhitMart job, I spent 8 years, doing something that I had always wanted to do; Teach Technology Education in a Public School. Using computers, I taught 21 different technology subjects at the same time. Thanks to my Dad, I had one of the best Labs in the Southeastern United States. It had been an A school for every year that I worked there. It couldn't have been done w/o some of the good teachers & staff there. Quite a challenge under today's situations. Despite the lack of respect often shown by many of the students & the general lack of patriotism, I learned to deal with it. Going from a professional leadership & mentoring organization like the US Army to that found at most Public Schools was a Real Eye Opener!!! Daily, many teachers faced a lot of heartaches, lowpay & major frustrations from a lot of different sources. All teachers should be applauded just for trying. Especially the Librarian! I hated to leave them when I did, but frankly, it was no longer worth driving an hour one way just for the priviledge of being miserable. Despite missing the few who always made my day by thanking me for teaching them something new & appreciated my candor & mentoring, it just was not worth it anymore. No support from the top gets no support from the bottom. Such is life. Maybe that's why I didn't give a damn about the losers we had in our leadership positions. Orange County certainly needs a better leadership training program for their Principals and other key leaders. Yet, I continue to be very active without any regrets. I hope the friends that I made who were to scared or intimidated to reach out and say goodbye at least remember me for all the good times. The good ole UF young girl rumor control ass kissing network was still there and was very much alive and well when I left. Rumor control was rampid and out of control. I decided to get out and be done with it all even though I personally have never done anything wrong there. I still maintain my Top Secret clearance after passing my annual polygraph (lie detector) tests where questions like have I every broken any rules or regulations at my job, or done anything wrong that would or should put my job or someone else's job in jeopardy, and the like. The result was the same for every 8 years I worked there. It proved I never lied about any stories I shared with my students or fellow teachers. Although I should have taken a few to task with my films of my last day of teaching there. It realized it just wasn't worth my time and I hated working there with a passion. So,I finally came to my senses. I chose to move back closer to my family and thus did what was best for us. I now earn what most people are accustomed to earning monetarily. So, yeah, in a way, I resigned for per$onal reasons & will gladly move back up the Corporate latter. This made my departure a no brainer. My admiration goes out to those who seem to stick it out year to year in the teaching arena or at least say they truly enjoy it. There are in fact several good teachers in this world. I am proud to say that while teaching at the hotty toddy Middle School, according to many of my students, I was one. On the bright side of memory lane, there was always that one kid who said thanks for teaching him or her something & of course, all the negative thoughts about school, including the low pay, seem to just go away & it make's it all feel worthwhile; at least for a little bit. I can think of much worse places & professions to work. ALL was SUPER w/My new job as several companies had be merged and I was put in charge of a different company this time under WhitMart Corporation! Now, it is even better than before. Military This was the best times of my life as well as the most rewarding. People who never had the guts to join what is now an ALL VOLUNTEER Army, should NEVER be allowed to speak out against them for they know not what they are talking about! Is a gas grenade made in Syria and used in Iraq a weapon of mass destruction. You better believe it. Last time I was there, I held several in my own hands. To say we didn't find any is absurd, since most think that WMD only means bigger and deadlier things; they obviously are not well versed in the subject. By the way, every military action is a Mission. When and AirCraft carrier heads home, that Carrier's Mission is Accomplished and they are proud of it. To twist their banner to mean the Wars Mission was accomplished is typical left wing spin. I have never had so much fun away from home as I did while living at Camp Humphries, Korea. Hey there Vicky and the rest of the gang. I spent 3 months or more in 34 different countries. It was a great traveling experience to say the least. I am considered 50% disabled after running over an IED in Iraq. No outward signs of problems, but my back hurts something terrible at times. I have PTSD as well as Tramatic Brain Injury. I miss my friends from the military as well as all of the close associations that I made while serving our country, more than anything in this world. There will never be a group of people with whom I am so proud to have ever served or been associated with than those in the military. You all are the best. In the past few years I have done many things for the Govt. that I would love to share with you someday. Suffice it to say that it was all for a very good cause and I would have gladly given my life to do what I was doing. Of course making the other guy die for his country is always preferred. A big hooah to all of my Ranger buddies as I know for sure that Rangers Lead The Way!
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