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The Red Ledger

The online student news source of Lovejoy High School

The Red Ledger

The online student news source of Lovejoy High School

The Red Ledger

Honor yourself, serve your country

Veteran shares history in Air Force, message to this generation
Matt Bolden
TRL’s Calla Patino and Sarah Hibberd interview Captain Robin Forte of the United States Air Force about his time serving in the military at the Veteran’s Day Dinner. Forte and others detail their experiences and give advice to younger generations.

Air Force veteran Robin Forte’ served as a fighter pilot during the Vietnam war from 1967 to 1973. He graduated from the University of Oklahoma with a degree in geology and a commission in the Air Force. After training, he was summoned to South Korea and served a short while in Vietnam. 

“Daily training always revolved around flying,” Forte’ said. “A flight of one to two hours took us five or six hours by the time we got there, briefed the flight, flew, came back and debriefed. Everything else supported that flying mission.”

Although he never experienced air-to-air combat, Forte’ and his squadron trained amongst each other in practice. February of 1972, Forte’ and his squadron were high in the sky, escorting President Nixon into China. For the first time in history, a U.S. president is visiting the PRC.

“We were excited about doing it,” Forte’ said. “The weather was terrible, too bad to fly in, but we had to do it. Everyone was very..,” Forte pauses, reflecting, “ready to do it. Ready and willing.”

Forte’ grew up with his father in the Air Force and knew how his life would play out. He would graduate high school, attend college, “do his duty” to his country and come home to civilian life. 

“My dad flew fighters in WWII and in the Korean war,” Forte’ said. “There’s something poetic about the fact that in his career, he flew the top-line fighter in the free world. In my career in the Air Force, I flew the top-line fighter in the free world. He flew the V-51, and I flew the F-4.”

Forte’ is now an Oil and Gas Producer as well as the owner of Forte’ Productions. Following his service, he and his family founded the Forte’ American Heroes Fund, which continues to raise millions for homes, service dogs, bills, and even Christmas presents for wounded soldiers. 

“I know guys that have come within an inch of burning to death from an IED in Afghanistan,” Forte’ said. “I have a good friend who carries a 30-caliber slug lodged up against his brain that he got in Afghanistan. I’ve never found one that said anything but ‘I would do it again.’ ”

Forte’s time in service sticks with him everywhere he goes. His message to the youth is to “honor yourself, and serve your country.”

“I’m glad I haven’t had to go through life thanking others for serving,” Forte’ said. “It was my privilege. Serving, flying and wearing the uniform was the best thing I ever did.” 

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About the Contributors
Sarah Hibberd
Sarah Hibberd, Editor-In-Chief
All good things must come to an end, but what about great things? Although she’s approaching the end of her high school career, senior Sarah Hibberd is confident her TRL adventures will last a lifetime. With one year left to make her mark, Sarah returns as an over-optimistic Editor-In-Chief eager to maintain The Red Ledger's multi-award-winning legacy. When out of the newsroom, you may find her in scrubs working towards her pharmacy technician certification, stressing over the application process or gushing over her haircare regimen. Sarah is a proud member of HOSA, the Helping Hands Club, and the National Honor Society. As a victim of the baby fever phenomenon and an aspiring healthcare professional, Sarah will stop at nothing to work with tiny humans in the NICU; she believes in speaking for those who can't speak for themselves. She loves Novo Amor music, smelling candles, making lists and laughing with family. Though fiercely independent, Sarah dreads the thought of leaving home, driving her to make this year one for the books.
Matt Bolden
Matt Bolden, Photographer
Everyone always says “third time’s the charm,” but Junior Matt Bolden finds that hard to believe. In his 16 years of life, Bolden never dreaded anything more than his third year of high school. Running solely on Starbucks and Britney Spears, Bolden somehow finds a way to juggle the responsibilities of junior year such as college applications, AP classes, TRL and marching band. Even with his busy schedule, Bolden always makes room for his friends and anyone who needs help. In his (limited) free time Bolden likes to binge Netflix, (currently “Lucifer” and “The Good Place”). He also collects “Sillybandz,”writes short stories and drinks what some would consider to be an unhealthy amount of coffee. Bolden is somewhat excited for the opportunities before him but for right now is just glad to live in the moment with the people he cares about.

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    Dee KnappNov 16, 2021 at 10:40 am

    It’s touching and important for the generations to connect like this. Thank you for interviewing this great man.