Robert R. Roten
Robert R. Roten was born in Dallas, Texas, July 25, 1937. Throughout WWII his family followed defense plant construction in Louisiana and Texas. They ultimately relocated to Irving, Texas where Robert attended the Sowers, Texas three-room grade school and graduated from Irving High School. As a cadet in the Civil Air Patrol (CAP), he advanced to Major and commanded his unit in the Texas Wing. He spent six months in Turkey as part of the cadet exchange program. In 1955, Robert enrolled in Arlington State College and joined ROTC. He sought a degree in Electrical Engineering; but Arlington State, then a Junior College, offered only two-year programs. After two years of ROTC, he was selected as a cadet advisor until he transferred to Texas A&M for degree completion. At A&M he enrolled in the Air Force ROTC Program. After a year and marrying his first wife, they returned to Arlington, then a four-year college, where he completed his Electrical Engineering Degree. Robert again enrolled in ROTC for his remaining two years. As a Junior he participated in the “Long March” to Fort Hood for Summer Camp, creating a lasting bond among those who marched. As a senior, Robert commanded B Company. He graduated as a Distinguish Military Graduate and was commission 2ND LT, Ordnance Corps, in the first commissioning ceremony and was among the first degreed engineers to graduate from Arlington.
Although offered a Regular Army commission, Robert opted for six months active duty with the intent to begin his career as an Electrical Engineer and start a family. He entered active duty at Aberdeen Proving Grounds, Maryland, where his orders were amended to read “delete 6 months active duty insert 2 years active duty”. It was here that he learned the science and handling of explosives and the art of effective leadership. Fort Sill was his first duty station where he was assigned to the 661st Ordnance Company, 184th Ordnance Battalion (EOD), “Strike Company”, prepared to deploy on short notice. He deployed on exercises from coast-to-coast. He completed his active-duty tour at Fort Sill as a 1LT and the company executive officer.
Following active duty, he accepted a position with E. I. DuPont at the Teflon plant in Ohio where he became Maintenance Manager responsible for over forty employees and much of the plant engineering. He continued his military service in the Army Reserve. The family relocated to Paris, Texas where Robert began a long and distinguished career with the Campbell Soup Company. He served in most of the Campbell Soup plants in positions of Engineer, Electrical Engineer, Manager of Engineering, or Assistant Plant Manager. He was responsible for electrical design of plant construction and expansion in addition to critical assignments as trouble-shooter for engineering and personnel issues. His service often resulted in assignment as Plant Engineer or Assistant Plant Manager. While serving in Sumter, South Carolina as Plant Engineer, he led the evaluation of employee property and expedited aid and recovery funding following hurricane Hugo. Following plant closure, Robert returned to the Paris, TX plant. He retired from Campbell Soup in 1998 when his wife’s health dictated that they spend her remaining days together.
Robert spent his retirement years organizing and participating in church bible study; Paris Texas Civilian Emergency Response Team (CERT) activities; tornado disaster emergency relief (food distribution, rescue, and housing); hurricane Katrina emergency supply distribution in north New Orleans; Elks Club Lodge organization and facilities construction; and Gun Club range safety training. He became the family historian and, during this research met his current wife in 2006. Robert remains a strong supporter of ROTC, often speaking at local high schools on the benefits of the program. He is a Life Member of the Cadet Corps Alumni Council (CCAC) and continues to serve on the Executive Committee. He supports the CCAC and the Corps of Cadets with his management skills, personal time, and financial support. Robert and his wife now reside in Tyler, Texas. He has a son and daughter from his first marriage and seven grandchildren. Today, when not at home, you will find him hunting or fishing, on the golf course, or at Arlington working in support of the Corps of Cadets.