This week we honor Major General Walter Huffman as a Hometown Hero. The minute you step into Huffman's office at Texas Tech's School of Law, you see signs of patriotism and pride lining the walls. By looking at his countless accomplishments, it's hard to believe that the military wasn't Huffman's first choice.
"My plan was to be a coach like my father who coached here at Texas Tech," Huffman said.
However clearly those plans changed when Huffman enlisted in the Army during the Vietnam War.
"Basically you had three choices, to be drafted, volunteer or run for Canada," Huffman said.
Huffman was sent to Vietnam as a Field Artillery Officer. Looking back, he has no regrets about his service there and was honored to serve with such brave men.
"The proudest achievement of my career, no matter what happens to me, is that every man for whom I was responsible for came back alive," Huffman said.
After Vietnam, Huffman was selected to attend law school on the Army's dime. He graduated from Texas Tech and was chosen to serve in the Judge Advocate General's Corp, also known as JAG.
"Military lawyers practice the kinds of law civilian lawyers practice. Solider's have the same problems civilians have," Huffman said.
Huffman says being able to serve the men and women who serve our country was nothing short of an honor.
"In the mornings, I would wake up and know all I had to do was the right thing for our country and that helped me sleep better at night," Huffman said.
Huffman's career culminated when he was given the highest position a military lawyer could get, Judge Advocate General of the United States Army.
"It really was an opportunity to get to do things most people don't get to do and see things people never get a chance to see," Huffman said.
Huffman was serving as Judge Advocate General on September 11th, 2001. His office was in the Pentagon.
"My office, in the Pentagon was located in the wedge of Pentagon right where the plane hit on 911," Huffman said.
Huffman's office had been under construction, but just weeks before the attack, he was given permission to move back in. For reasons unknown to him, Huffman declined. He says that day he had an angel on his shoulder.
"It's quite likely I would have been in that office that day when the plane hit and not just me, my staff that worked for me," Huffman said.
Looking back, Huffman has nothing but gratitude for the 33 years he gave to the Army. However, he says he was given so much more then he ever gave.
Huffman is now serving as the Dean Emeritus and a professor at Texas Tech's School of Law. He was recently appointed to the Defense Legal Advisory Board by Secretary of Defense, Leon Panetta.
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