Lieutenant Colonel Robert Eugene Porter was born in Chicago, Illinois on November 7, 1931 to Harry E. and Daisy L. Porter. He graduated third in his class from DuSable High School where he was a member of the Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps, (JROTC) and the high school band.
After high school, Lieutenant Colonel Porter attended Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University in Tallahassee, Florida where he received a Bachelor of Science Degree in Sociology. His extra-curricular activities included playing the French horn and attaining the position of Rank Sergeant in the world renowned Marching 100 Band as well as a Section Leader in Symphonic Band. He also continued his military training by serving as a Cadet Officer in the Senior Reserve Officers Training Corps (SROTC) Program.
After his matriculation at Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University, Lieutenant Colonel Porter was commissioned as Second Lieutenant in the United States Army. At this point his impressive active duty career spanning from 1954-1975 began. He received numerous medals and decorations including two bronze stars.
As a Second Lieutenant, Porter served as Executive Officer and Commander of an Artillery Battery in the 82nd Airborne Division at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. Upon his promotion to First Lieutenant, Porter served his first overseas assignment as Battery Commander with the 11th Airborne Division in Augsburg, Germany. Later, the Division was designated the 24th infantry Division. His unit was awarded the honor of firing the 21-gun salute for both Hawaii and Alaska when each joined the United States as the 49th and 50th states. With pride and dignity, Lieutenant Colonel Porter celebrated this achievement as the high point of his tour, second only to being promoted to the rank of Captain.
From the position of Captain, Lieutenant Colonel Porter received progressively responsible positions and rankings commensurate with his experience and leadership. During his more than two decades of service, he served at Fort Gordon, (Georgia) Monterey, (California), Thailand, Japan, South Vietnam, North Carolina, Alabama and Pennsylvania. He distinguished himself at every point of service and achieved further rankings as Major and Lieutenant Colonel.
Upon Retirement from Active Duty
Lieutenant Colonel Porter served as the Senior Army Instructor, Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps (JROTC) Program at William Marion Raines Senior High School, Jacksonville, Florida (1975-1998). During his tenure, the Cadet Battalion became a well-trained, highly motivated unit. At the Annual Training and Evaluation Inspections the Cadet Battalion achieved the highest rating as an “Honor Unit with Distinction” fifteen (15) times. The Battalion also received the second highest rating of “Honor Unit”, four (4) times.
Lieutenant Colonel Porter created and coached special units which included male and female Drill teams, Color Guard Units and Rifle teams. These teams performed at school activities and events throughout Jacksonville. These units and teams successfully competed in drill matches in Florida, Alabama, and Georgia.
Under Lieutenant Colonel Porter’s leadership, an effective JROTC Parents’ Club was established. The club met monthly, conducted events and participated in activities to assist in the travel, food and lodging expenses for JROTC team trips. The parents served as chaperones and provided additional support as needed to partner with Lieutenant Colonel Porter in the development of wholesome and productive young men and women.
Lieutenant Colonel Porter left a lasting monument to his service as he supervised the planning and construction of the JROTC Building on the campus of William Marion Raines High School. The building houses the drill area, rifle range, supply room, classrooms, library/study area, and an office space. The building was dedicated to Lieutenant Colonel Robert E. Porter, retired, on October 17, 2015.
Life Member of the National Alumni, Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University
Life Member of the Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. at the State, District, and International Levels
The 100 Black Men of Jacksonville Chapter, 100 Black Men of America
Fla Jax Club of Jacksonville
Life Member of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP)
Life Member of the National Council of Negro Women (NCNW)
Sigma Pi Phi Fraternity, Incorporated
The Community Advisory Committee, U.S. Army Recruiting Command Battalion.
Numerous awards and recognitions were bestowed upon Lieutenant Colonel Robert Porter for a life of service, well lived.
Lieutenant Colonel Porter served our God as a faithful member of Mount Olive African Methodist Episcopal Church under the current pastorate of the Reverend James Cleare. Lieutenant Colonel Porter’s church affiliations include former leadership as Pro Tem of the Board of Stewards and a member of the Sons of Allen.
Lieutenant Colonel Robert Eugene Porter went home to be with Lord on Thursday, August 27, 2020 and, was predeceased by his father, Mr. Harry E. Porter and mother, Mrs Daisy Hill Porter.
Lieutenant Colonel Porter leaves memories to be cherished by his loving and devoted wife, Dr. Josephine Hall Fiveash Porter; daughter, Mrs. Lorraine Hartmann (Michael), Belgium, Wisconsin; grandson, Mr. Justin Crawford (Savannah), Milwaukee, Wisconsin; granddaughter; Ms. Ashley Fox, St. Paul, Minnesota; great-grandchildren Ms. Jamie Crawford, Ms. Winter Crawford, Larenz Euford, Justin Crawford II, Austin Crawford, and London Crawford, all residing in Milwaukee, Wisconsin; great-great granddaughter, Ka’yanni Brooks, also from Milwaukee; sister-in-law Mrs. Helen Hall Norman; devoted niece and nephew, Dr. Cynthia Hall and Mr. Maurice Waye (Sonya); and a host of loving, supportive, devoted, and caring Relatives, Organizational Brothers, and Friends.
The services concluding this chapter of Lieutenant Colonel Robert Eugene Porter’s life will commence with The Viewing, Thursday, September 3, 2020, 5 - 7PM at The Samuel C. Rogers Chapel, Funerals by T.S.Warden 4315 North Main Street. The Celebration of Life Service, Friday, September 4, 2020, 11A.M., at The Bethel Church, 215 Bethel Baptist Street. The Interment, Monday, September 7, 2020, Monday, 9:30 A.M. at Jacksonville National Cemetery.