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Sanibel man tells untold story in 1945

Robert Hilliard
Robert Hilliard

Ninety-seven-year-old Sanibel resident, Robert Hilliard, has led a fascinating life. He spent years in Washington, DC as Chief of Public Broadcasting at the Federal Communication Commission and was present for the signing of the Public Broadcasting Act in 1967. He then spent more than three decades in academia at Emerson College in Boston where he was a professor and dean. He has also written dozens of books and plays.

But, before all of that he was a soldier in the U.S. Army. And in 1945, in the months after Germany surrendered to the Allies in World War II, he was assigned to the U.S. Air Corps 2nd Air Disarmament Wing stationed in Germany. Their job was to disarm the German Air Force and look for advanced technology to bring back to the U.S.

Just 20 years old at the time, Mr. Hilliard says the events that unfolded during that assignment taught him the critical importance of standing up for what you know is right, no matter the cost.

WGCU's Mike Kiniry spoke with him in 2019 on Three Song Stories.

Click here to watch the WGCU-TV documentary “A Force for Freedom: The Robert Hilliard Story” produced in 2021.

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