The Edmond Sun

Local News

November 8, 2013

Edmond veteran uses education in continuing fight for freedom

EDMOND — Most war stories, it seems, involve American men, weapons and immediately quantifiable valor.

This story involves the use of brains and books to further the fight for freedom in America’s continuing, longest war.

In 1747, Ahmad Shah Durrani unified the Pashtun tribes and founded Afghanistan, according to the CIA World Factbook. The nation served as a buffer between the British and Russian empires until it won its independence from national British control in 1919.

During the 1970s, a coup and a communist counter-coup crushed a fledgling democracy. The Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan to bolster the communist regime, sparking conflict. A decade later, after suffering mounting losses from the internationally supported mujahedin rebels, the Soviets withdrew.

In 1996, the Afghan government fell to the Taliban, a hardlined Pakistani-sponsored movement. A few years later, terrorists hijacked airliners that crashed into the World Trade Center towers and the Pentagon on U.S. soil.

U.S. intelligence linked the terrorist plot to Osama bin Laden and his al Qaeda network, which maintained training camps in Afghanistan. A U.S.-led coalition toppled the Taliban. As of 10 a.m. Friday, 2,153 Americans have died and 19,464 have been wounded during Operation Enduring Freedom, according to the Department of Defense. The war dead have included heroes from Edmond and many other communities in Oklahoma.

‘IT WAS MY DUTY’

Edmond resident James Wilhite was interested in the military since he was a child. He wanted to continue his education while serving and he joined the Army Reserves in 1966.

Wilhite’s initial experience of being a teacher was through the military. In 1969, he attended a drill sergeant academy and was assigned as an instructor there.

“It gave me the chance to stand in front of a group with confidence,” he said.

He remained in the reserve because of the sense of brotherhood that was developed, and much of what he was doing could crossover to the teaching field. Wilhite, professor emeritus from Northeastern State University in Tahlequah, spent 26 years in higher education.

In 2003, Wilhite was called to serve his country with the Army in Afghanistan. He said the jolt is tough to put into words.

“To say it was a shock is an understatement,” he said. “However, it was my duty to answer the call.”

Wilhite’s task was no small order — organizing the Afghan military academy, a university equivalent with no allotted budget and no full-time staff. Other challenges included working with the tribal factions to agree to a common outcome. And he was given less than a year to complete the job.

He spoke about his team.

“I compared it to putting everyone in a rowboat and rowing across a wide river,” he said. “Not everyone pulled their weight and some faced the opposite direction but at least kept their oars out of the water. Others were volunteers that just wanted to see this mission succeed.”

Text Only
Local News
  • Gas State gas price plummets 18 cents in 25 days

    Abundant domestic refinery production is behind a steep 18-cent plunge in Oklahoma gasoline prices at the pump during the last 25 days, AAA reports.

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • A Q&A on ‘Obamacare’ Court Rulings

    On Tuesday, two federal appeals courts issued conflicting rulings on the legality of tax subsidies being provided to people who bought “Obamacare” health insurance policies in Oklahoma and 35 other states.
    Here’s a look at the rulings’ potential impact in Oklahoma.

    Q: I’m confused. What did the courts rule today?
    A: A three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals circuit in Washington, D.C., decided that the government can’t provide tax subsidies for Affordable Care Act plans purchased in 36 states where the federal government is operating the health insurance exchange. Oklahoma is one of the 36 states. A few hours later, the U.S. Court of Appeals circuit in Richmond, Va., issued a conflicting ruling that upheld the legality of the health-care law’s tax subsidies.

    July 22, 2014

  • June healthy month for Oklahoma jobs

    Nearly 10,000 new jobs in Oklahoma were created in June, according to the U.S. Labor Department.
    Gov. Mary Fallin said Tuesday the state experienced one of the largest increases in employment in the nation in June. More than 9,600 additional people joined the state’s workforce in June.
    The unemployment rate in June dropped to 4.5 percent, its lowest ratio in six years. June’s rate was down a percentage point from 4.6 percent in May and April, according to the Oklahoma Employment Security Commission.

    July 22, 2014

  • Former OSU line coach having impact on Texas staff

    It was quite possibly the biggest coaching coup of the offseason and Oklahoma State was at the wrong end of it — former Cowboy offensive line coach Joe Wickline joining the staff for Charlie Strong’s Texas Longhorns.
    “It’s always good when you go hire staff and you look at just getting the right people within your program. And, a lot of times, guys know a lot of Xs and Os, but it’s all just about developing a player,” said Strong, Tuesday during the Big 12 Conference Football Media Days. “Joe and I, we’ve coached together at two different places. But just with him being within his conference and knowing the conference, he’s been a great asset.”

    July 22, 2014

  • Whataburger celebrates children’s superhero spirit with ‘Super-Duper’ event

    It’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s a Super Duper Celebration! In the heart of every child lives a superhero and on Thursday Whataburger restaurants will celebrate the superhero spirit in all of us with an evening of family fun from 5-7 p.m. at its location at 421 S. Broadway.
    Customers can spend quality time with their little heroes and treat them to a superhero-themed celebration of food, activities and giveaways. Children 12 and under dressed in a superhero costume will receive a free kid’s meal. There will be a Whataburger photo booth and Whataburger’s mascot, Whataguy, will also be present to join the fun.

    July 22, 2014

  • Kenya Edmond man confesses to crimes in Kenya

    A federal grand jury alleges a 19-year-old Edmond man staying at a children’s’ home in Kenya engaged in illicit sexual conduct with residents ages 4-9.

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • NWS includes Edmond in heat advisory

    The National Weather Service has issued a heat advisory for areas including Edmond.
    It will be in effect from noon Tuesday to 7 p.m. Wednesday, a period during which afternoon heat index values will be near 105 degrees. Individuals exposed to the extreme heat for a prolonged period may develop heat-related illnesses, according to the NWS.

    July 22, 2014

  • Police respond to toddler tragedy at park

    A 2-year-old child has died after a tragic incident during the weekend at a popular Edmond park, a police spokeswoman said.

    July 22, 2014

  • Germans from Russia group plans annual meeting in Edmond

    The Central Oklahoma Chapter of American Historical Society of Germans from Russia will have its annual All State meeting on Aug. 9 at the Memorial Road Mennonite Brethren Church, 4201 E. Memorial Road, in Edmond.

    July 22, 2014

  • Goddard Students learn about animal behavior

    Animals can be fun, friendly and sometimes dangerous. That is what the students at Goddard School on North Western are learning this summer and this week they are learning about pets.
    Each summer Goddard School’s across the nation choose from a provided list of curriculum to use with their students that would be popular with the children. From learning about insects to a tiger safari, each summer is filled with creative learning.

    July 21, 2014 1 Photo

Featured Ads
NDN Video
Justin Bieber In Calvin Klein Underwear Shoot Samsung Pre-Trolls The IPhone 6 With New Ad Jimmy Kimmel Introduces His Baby Girl Swim Daily, Nina Agdal in the Cook Islands Guilty Dog Apologizes to Baby for Stealing Her Toy Prince George Turns 1 and is Already a Trendsetter Train Collides With Semi Truck Carrying Lighter Fluid Kanye West Tells-All on Wedding in "GQ" Interview Tony Dungy Weighs in on Michael Sam Scarlett Johansson Set To Marry In August New Star Wars Episode XII X-Wing Revealed Obama: Putin must push separatists to aid MH17 probe Michigan inmates no longer allowed to wear orange due to 'OITNB' Adam Levine Ties the Knot Sebastian The Ibis Walks Beautiful Bride Down The Aisle | ACC Must See Moment NASA Ceremony Honors Moon Walker Neil Armstrong Faces of Souls Lost in Malaysian Plane Crash 105-year-old woman throws first pitch Man Creates Spreadsheet of Wife's Reasons for Turning Down Sex 'Weird Al' Is Wowed by Album's Success
Poll

If the Republican runoff for the 5th District congressional seat were today, which candidate would you vote for?

Patrice Douglas
Steve Russell
Undecided
     View Results