Robert Hites is the founder and CEO of Forethought Consulting Incorporated, which provides leadership development, safety, and emergency response/disaster planning assistance to both the government and private sectors. He is a Certified Safety Professional and a licensed aviation mechanic. Prior to founding Forethought, Robert was the General Manager of Compliance for Delta Air Lines’ Airport Customer Service (ACS) division. His background includes broad exposure in managing a variety of business aspects including quality, emergency planning, emergency response, environmental compliance, aviation and occupational safety, aviation maintenance, aviation security, and information technology. External to his corporate endeavors, Robert led a team of safety professionals from the air transport industry in developing fall protection guidelines for the Air Transport Association. These guidelines were published for use as the industry standard for aircraft maintenance. He has been a guest speaker at industry gatherings and has contributed safety related articles for both internal and external publications. He is a co-founder of the American Foundation for African Issues, an organizer of the annual Conference for Contemporary African Issues, and serves as an advisory board member on both the Purdue University Calumet OLS-EHS committee and the non-profit organization, Sights Unseen. Robert continues to be an active member of several professional organizations including the American Society of Safety Engineers, the Sons of the American Revolution and the American Veterans. In addition to his civilian career, Robert has served in the United States Army National Guard for over 25 years. As an enlisted soldier, he obtained Military Occupational Specialties (MOS) in aircraft maintenance, communications and medical service. Since receiving his commission in 1999 he has served with distinction in several capacities during multiple deployments in three separate combat theaters. Robert has been recognized with numerous military awards including the Bronze Star, two Meritorious Service Medals, and several other awards for Joint operations, humanitarian operations and volunteer service. Robert’s formal education includes an Associate of Applied Science in Maintenance Technology from Clayton College and State University in Morrow Georgia and a Bachelor of Science in Aviation Business Administration from Embry Riddle Aeronautical University in Daytona Beach Florida. He will earn a Masters of Business Administration from Texas A&M University in May 2016. He is married and lives with his family in the southwest Austin metropolitan area.
My Patriot ancestor is Henry Pawling. Henry was born on April 22, 1752, and was a resident of Montgomery County, New York. According to his pension application of October 19, 1820, Pawling became a lieutenant on the Continental Line for the Fifth New York Regiment commanded by Colonel Lewis Dubois and in Captain Thomas Lee’s company on November 21, 1776. He served until October, 1777, when he was taken prisoner by Sir Henry Clinton’s forces (British, Loyalists and Hessians) at Fort Montgomery, New York on the North River (Lower Hudson River). Patriot forces fought valiantly, but were outnumbered three to one, and more than half of them were killed during the siege. Surviving patriots, including Pawling, were imprisoned on board several British ships in the New York Harbor. Pawling spent time on both the Archer and the Myrtle, and then was paroled at Long Island, where, in 1781, he was exchanged. A little about those prison ships follows. There were a total of sixteen British prison ships in the New York Harbor during the Revolutionary War that came to house about 11,500 American prisoners. The bodies of those who died were thrown overboard and their bodies left to lie along the Brooklyn shore on Wallabout Bay. The Tammany Society led the effort to honor these Americans, and shipyard workers collected about twenty barrels of bones. The bones were re-interred beneath a vault and a ceremony was held at the Brooklyn Navy Yard on Wallabout Bay on May 26, 1808. Benjamin Romaine, a patriot once held captive on one of these prison ships, bought the property in 1839, for about $300.00. He was later interred there in 1844. In 1873, a new monument was built at Fort Green Park in Brooklyn, and the bones were re-interred there. From 1900-1908, a third and final monument was built at Fort Green Park, the Prison Ship Martyrs’ Monument, and dedicated by President Taft. It is a single Doric granite column, 149 feet tall, with a solar powered eternal flame at the top. A staircase of ninety nine steps leads to the top of the column and is accessible behind a bronze door. The monument site has suffered vandalism, refurbishment and restoration over the years, and is currently maintained by the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation. Following his parole and the exchange, Pawling joined the Second New York Regiment under Colonel Philip Van Cortlandt, and he commanded a company for Captain Benjamin Walker. He participated in the taking of General Cornwallis’ forces and received a captain’s commission on November 6, 1782. He remained in the service until the army disbanded. In his 1820 pension application, Pawling stated he and his wife Ann Brown were farmers, and listed assets of six chairs, six tablespoons, six knives and forks, one table, six cups and saucers, one snuff box, one tobacco box, and one pair of spectacles. He died June 29, 1836, and is buried in Hagaman, Montgomery County, New York.
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