Bobby Deiss, pictured on the far right as a flight medic, served in Operation Desert Storm in 1991 and his last combat tour was in Iraq in 2009.
In 1982, he enlisted in the U.S. Army Reserve and became a flight medic on Medevac helicopters.
“I had a desire to serve my country,” Deiss said. “My family has a strong military history that goes back to the Civil War, so you could say it was in my blood. “
After several years in the Reserves, Deiss was accepted into the Army’s Warrant Officer Candidate Rotary Wing flight school, where he learned to fly helicopters. There were originally 38 students in the class, but by graduation, only 12 remained.
“The academics were an intense challenge, but I thank Dean Cooper for that wake-up call decades earlier,” he said.
Deiss flew the UH-1V Huey in the Medevac role and completed combat Medevac missions during Desert Shield/Desert Storm. Later, he flew the AH-64A Apache gunship and also served in Central America and Operation Iraqi Freedom.
It wasn’t until his last tour of duty in Iraq in 2009 that the idea to return to Texas A&M seemed reachable.
“I reflected on my life’s journey up to that point and often thought of my beloved Texas A&M,” Deiss said. “It’s something that takes hold of you when you are an Aggie, that there is indeed a spirit that can never be told.”
So one day Deiss found himself on the Association of Former Students’ website and sent an email asking how best to make the journey back to Texas A&M. Somehow, through a string of emails, he was connected to Porter Garner ’79, president and CEO of The Association.
“We quickly became friends and often sent emails to each other,” Deiss said. “I was injured near the end of my tour in 2010 and spent two years in the Warrior Transition Unit at Brooke Army Medical Center. Porter came to visit me and that selfless act spoke volumes about how Aggies take care of Aggies.”