Hartman still using many of the skills he learned in the service
Editor’s note: This article is part of The Inter-Mountain’s Unsung Heroes series for 2018, which features veterans in our area sharing first-hand accounts of their military service. The series will be published each Monday through Veterans Day.
ELKINS — Elkins native Bill Hartman spent more than 30 years serving as a field artillery officer for the Army National Guard.
From August 1961 to May 1993, Hartman served across West Virginia in several different capacities.
“I was never mobilized during that time frame,” Hartman said. “This service, except for the very last couple years, was in the Cold War era. The section of the world we were worried about was Europe then and not the Middle East.”
Hartman’s duties included serving as commander for the “A” Battery in Elkins; commander of Service Battery at Camp Dawson in Kingwood; commander of the battalion for three years; commander of the Army Training Site at Camp Dawson; and serving at state headquarters on a number of occasions.
“The last year I commanded the Field Artillery Battalion we were tested by a regular Army unit and our performance equaled an active duty unit, so we proved the Guard could be successful,” Hartman said.
Hartman added the Army National Guard provided a large amount of state service, including assisting during prison riots and a gas shortage.
“One thing when you talk about the guard is the state service that the guard provides. We were mobilized on a number of occasions on state duty — prison riots and the gas shortage of 1973 was an interesting time,” he said. “I took my unit to Moundsville for almost three weeks during a prison riot in ’73 also.”
Hartman said one of his fondest memories of serving is the friendships he made.
“I think the opportunity to serve, the people you serve with, the friendships you made and the service you were able to provide is all very important to everybody,” he said. “As the Guard and Army Reserve became more important after the volunteer force was implemented, the mission of the Guard became more important than it had been in the past.”
He added that his time in a leadership role for the Army National Guard has assisted him throughout the remainder of his life, including serving for 16 years as a Delegate for the 43rd District, a position which he still holds.
“Any time you serve in leadership positions it develops your ability and you are keenly aware of your responsibilities. You understand the responsibilities you accept when you move into your leadership positions,” he said.
Hartman has also served in a variety of leadership positions for area businesses and organizations, something he also attributes to skills he gained while serving.
Hartman is a lifelong Elkins native who graduated from Elkins High School, attended Potomac State College and Davis & Elkins College and graduated with a business degree from West Virginia University. He has also owned an independent insurance agency.