Bob Hurt’s administrative career in the Army Air Corp started as a result of returning home late from a night out during basic training at Barksdale Air Force Base in Shreveport, Louisiana. As required, he was standing in line to receive the wrath of the 1st Sergeant. Bob kept working his way to the back of the line. At 6ft, 138 lbs, he naturally stood out. Suddenly the 1st sergeant looked out the door of his office, and Bob caught his eye. “Can you type?” he asked. Bob answered in the affirmative and he said, “Get in here and you’ve got a job.” Thus began his administrative career.
Soon Bob was transferred to a New Orleans bomber base where he did filing and other office work. There he applied for the “flying sergeants” program and went to Cuero Texas for flying school. After about a week, they were tested on their skills. Bob flunked the last test – for unsatisfactory S turns. At first he was puzzled by the results, but then a buddy told him, “I think I know why you flunked that test. You were dating the flight instructor’s girlfriend!” And so ended his career as a pilot, and he went back to the base in New Orleans.
Eventually, Bob shipped out to Calcutta India, where he took a train across India from Calcutta to Bombay. From there he drove a truck loaded with ammunition on the Burma Road to China, which was quite a treacherous journey. The road was narrow and curvy, and it took them days to make even a little progress.
Bob was in China when Japan surrendered, and came home Oct. 31, 1945. Three years later he joined the Air Force Reserves because he needed the extra pay to support his family. He was once again sent to Barksdale Air Force base and was asked to manage the NCO club which was, in his words, a real mess and in need of someone to fix it. Despite not knowing anything about the business, he quickly learned it. That was the start of a wonderful 23 year long career in the reserves.
After living and travelling all over the world with his family, Bob retired from the Air Force in 1966, and then he went on to work in the hospitality industry for another fifteen years.
Our work often takes us to retirement communities across the Greater Pittsburgh area where we meet with veteran residents and record their stories. Sometimes while on-site, veterans from nearby communities stop by our location and sit for an interview, as did Bob Hurt during a bitterly cold February 9, 2013.
On this day, reserve soldiers from the 354th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment joined us to interview several veterans. “These stories told today let my soldiers see the hardships earlier generations experienced during combat and compare it to their own experiences,” said Capt. David Zuzak, commander of the 354th MPAD. “The training today provided them an opportunity to work with their equipment and forced them to process the information for a quality product that will be seen by the public and archived in The Library of Congress,” said Zuzak. “Training like this gives them the full-spectrum of what is expected from being a public affairs specialist in the U.S. Army Reserve.”
Robert “Bob” Hurt, age 95, of Mount Lebanon, PA, originally of Dalton, GA, on Friday, March 13, 2015. Bob was a WWII veteran having served in China, Burma and India Theatre of Operations as a member of the 14th Air Force. He later served in the Strategic Air Command during the Korean and Vietnam wars. Bob retired from the USAF as a Chief Master Sergeant.
Bob was a Certified Club Manager and member of the Honor Society of the Club Managers Association of America for 42 years. He was President of the Washington D.C. chapter from 1971-1973. After the military, Bob was the Manager of the Columbia Country Club in Washington, D.C. Later he did many hours of hospital volunteer work in Mt. Lebanon, PA and in Dalton, GA. He loved golf and bowling.
He was preceded in death by his wife of 59 years, Marcelle “Bunny” Hurt. He is survived by his wife, Betty Lou; two sons, Robert D. III and his wife, Kathryn, of Houston, TX and Joseph B. “Bo” and his wife, Sandra, of Lawrence, PA. Affectionately known as “Pops” by his four grandchildren, Lauren (Jon) Wharton, Wendy Gerlach, Robert D. IV “Chip”, Ben (Chellie) Hurt; and five great-grandchildren, Eric, Greg and Andrew Wharton, Abigail Gerlach and Noah Hurt. His family would like to thank all the staff and friends for their care and support during these past six months.