Interviewee: General Kennedy C. Bullard
Interviewer: Donald Gunn
Date: June 30, 1999
G: Major General Kennedy C. Bullard, former Florida state adjutant general, 1975-
1981. Interviewer, Donald Gunn. June 30, 1999. Waynesville, North Carolina.
General Bullard, to get started, I would like you to tell me a little bit about where
you were born and where you grew up and your life up until you joined the
B: Actually, my dad was a construction engineer in the southeastern United States.
He was doing a project in Palatka, and I was born in Palatka on December 9,
1917. We only stayed there for about three months because they moved on to
another job. Basically, we lived all over the southeastern part of the United
States. My dad was in the construction business with roads and sewer. We
lived in a canvas home. This was a regular house with divided rooms and
everything, but it was strictly canvas. The only thing that resembled a house,
basically, was that we had a flooring that was just put together like any other type
of platform. So that is the way we traveled from state to state, more or less like a
bunch of okies [reference to migrants from Oklahoma during the Dust
Bowl/Depression era of the 1930s], I guess you might say. But, basically, we
lived in Tampa from the time I started with school until I went into the military.
Then even after I came back from the military, why, my wife and I stayed there
until 1975. I went to public schools in Hillsborough County. I started at Henry
Mitchell, went to Gorrie, and then went to Memorial Junior High School. During
the Depression, the road work ran out, the boom broke, and so my family moved
to Wauchula, where we had ten acres of grove and truck farm. My dad built a
home in the country there and, strangely enough, it was house that they got the
plans from Sears Roebuck. We built a two-story home there that was plastered,
which was unusual at that time in the country. We had our own lights and water
system. Then, he bought an additional ten acres of grove. Of course, then the
banks closed, and the only money that he had was a five-dollar bill in his pocket
at the time that the Depression really hit. So the family became instant farmers,
of which we had no knowledge. All during the four years of the Depression, we
were in Wauchula, raising strawberries, selling citrus fruit and peppers, any type
of truck farm produce. So, for schooling at that time, I went to school at
Wauchula Grammar School and then went one year to Wauchula High School.
Then my dad got a position with Hillsborough County as the Hillsborough County
road and bridge superintendent, and we moved back to Tampa. At that time, I
went back to junior high school in the ninth grade at Memorial Junior High and
then to Hillsborough and graduated from Hillsborough [High] in 1935. Actually, I
then went to the University of Florida for about a year and a half and took ROTC,
horse-drawn artillery, but thought I had an appointment to Annapolis, so I left the
University of Florida in the spring of my sophomore year and then did not pass
the physical exam because they said I had second-degree flat feet. So, I went to
work, then later went to business school in accounting. About the only thing that
I did at that time was I went to work for a place called American News Company.
Prior to that, I had been a clerk in the liquor department at McKesson & Robbins,
putting federal and state decal stamps on liquor. The only highlight of the whole
thing was that I had chance to meet Jack Dempsey [boxer] when he came out
with a whiskey called Jack Dempsey Whiskey. Other than that, it was
unremarkable. I then went to work for American News Company putting up
magazines for distribution. In the meantime, my cousin asked me if I would like
to join the Guard, which was the Artillery. That was the only thing I knew about it,
that it was the 116th Field Artillery. I said, really, what is the advantage of it? He
said, well, they are going to go to camp pretty soon for seventeen days, and you
get seventeen dollars. So, I joined the Guard and went to Mississippi Maneuvers
in 1939, stayed in for, maybe, six months and then, because I failed to go to drill,
was dropped from the rolls of the Guard. Then, with the Italian campaign where
they were overrunning Ethiopia and with the Germans beginning their
aggression, it appeared that with the United States military being so short of
people and poorly trained, Congress passed a law that said every able-bodied
young man would have to have a year of military service. I found out that the
Guard was going to be mobilized in November of 1940, and there were people
who were in the Guard who had families. Of course, those persons, if they had
dependents, had the right to get out of the Guard because there was not real
reason at that point, no necessity. So, at that point, I felt that I would rather go
off for my year and get it out of the way, since I really had no real lifetime job.
So, I joined the Guard again in September of 1940 and was mobilized with the
Guard in November, 1940. We were the first troops in Camp Blanding. We went
to Camp Blanding, I believe it was, around December 19, 1940. If you look at
Camp Blanding today, [you see that] it has a modern sewer system and no
boggy areas; however, when we moved into Camp Blanding, most of it was
underwater. The only time I ever felt sorry for officers was [there], because the
officers' quarters were underwater. Of course, we spent about three months
building what we called duck boards to walk from tent to tent so we would not
have to be in the mud. You do not see that today at Camp Blanding. It is quite
different with modern buildings and what have you. But, we had these squad
tents-I think they were called parameter tents with the little coal-burning stove in
the center of the room with a spark-arrester that was on the top of the chimney.
Quite often, the sparks would set the tents on fire. You would be lying in bed
and, all of a sudden, you would see the stars and realize you had a problem. But
I stayed at Camp Blanding until, actually, about July of 1941. In the spring of
1941, before we went on Louisiana Maneuvers, a traveling board of regular Army
officers interviewed possible candidates for OCS [Officer Candidate School] at
Fort Sill, Oklahoma, which was the artillery school. I was fortunate enough to be
selected for the second class at Artillery OCS at Fort Sill. I was on Louisiana
Maneuvers in July and August of 1941 and received orders to go to officer
candidate school. So I was a second lieutenant at Fort Bragg when Pearl Harbor
broke out. Of course, at that point, where I had intended to get married before,
all of a sudden, we got married the Sunday after Pearl Harbor. I was at Fort
Bragg for a year training individuals who had been drafted, and I was teaching
artillery. Back in those days, the news was Path A news that would come on in
the movie theater, and I saw the results of the invasion of North Africa in, I
believe it was, October/November of 1942. So, I was not happy in training
recruits, and I wrote to the commanding general of Fort Bragg and asked to be
sent overseas, [which was] not a smart move [because] they accommodated me
a week later, and so I went overseas in January of 1943 as a casual replacement
officer. [Tape interrupted.] I found out as a casual replacement that the only
person that cares about you at that point is your self. I went with another first
lieutenant, and we were to report to report to Camp Kilmer, New Jersey. The
only problem was that when we got up to New Jersey, nobody would tell us
where Camp Kilmer was because it was a military secret, apparently, and
everybody was very patriotic. We finally went to the Red Cross to find out where
Camp Kilmer was. When we got there, they told us that the ship that we were
supposed to leave on for overseas had already left but they would put us on the
next one. So, the next day, they took us to Staten Island, New York. Carrying all
of our stuff by ourselves, everything we owned on our back, we boarded the
transport ship. It was a Panama Line ship that normally carried 265 passengers.
On this ship, at that time, they had better than 2,500 troops. It was the U.S.S.
Cristobal. So we had two weeks of not very good accommodations. The place
that they put us was in between staterooms, where they had used metal pipes
and chicken wire to make your bunks. The other person had to get out of his
bunk before you could get out of yours. So, it was not a great trip. It took us two
weeks, and we landed in Oran, Africa. From there, they put us on some trucks.
G: What time of the year was it?
B: This was January 13, 1943, when we landed there.
G: In North Africa?
B: Right. So, we were taken to a replacement depot and stayed there about four
days. Then, they loaded us up on a British ranger ship and took about an
overnight trip to a place called Philippeville, North Africa, possibly Algeria. I am
not sure of the geography, but we got off there and landed there. We were taken
by quartermaster troops to a railroad station, and we were loaded up on the
railroad. [There was] no heat and at night in North Africa, the temperature
dropped to extremely low temperatures. We got to a place in Constantine and
spent the night on the train freezing to death. The next morning, they took off
again and put us out in an open field. We had no idea what the location was but
here, again, some quartermaster transportation picked us up and took us to
another replacement training area that was run by the British. I remember that
very vividly because it was pouring down rain. It was red clay, like they might
have at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. They had this horrible British tea, and your
mess-kit was overflowing with water. It was terrible. But then, the next day, a
person from corps came to us. They separated the replacements, either to the
First Infantry Division or to the First Armor Division. The friend of mine who had
gone overseas with me and I were assigned to the First Armor Division, to the
91st Armored Field Artillery Battalion. We got to the battalion the night before
Kasserine Pass. That was February 13. On February 14, St. Valentine's Day,
there was supposed to be quite an attack by the Americans, and we were
completely overrun by the Germans. About 50 percent of the unit that I was with
was captured, and [they] were prisoners of war throughout the end of World War
II. I really did not have any great assignment. I think I was just an extra officer in
the headquarters of the 91st Armored Field Artillery headquarters. We retreated,
I guess, about forty miles before the battle ended. The division was so
devastated. [We] lost a great number of the artillery weapons. At that time, I
believe the 105 howitzers were mounted on half-tracks. I am not sure whether
they were T-33s. I believe they were T-33s, but I am not sure. They may have
been T-39s, but they were not very mobile. So, the First Armored Division
reorganized at a little place called Tibessa [Algeria]. Then, we entered back into
combat, and we went through the entire North African campaign and ended up at
Tunis and Bizerte. This was at the end of the North African campaign, probably
around May 5 or May 6, of 1943. We did not go into Sicily. We were pulled
G: Let me interrupt you real quick.
G: At the Battle of Kasserine Pass, what do you feel the Army's, or the military's
weaknesses were in those early years of the war?
B: I think there is no doubt about what the real problem was: the equipment that the
Americans had was so far inferior to the German's. The German tanks, for
instance, on the particular battery I was in and the battalion, we were in what we
would call wadis. There used to be water in them. They were gullies, basically.
We used them for defilade and camouflage. But, the Germans just came around
at each end of the wadi with their tanks. Of course, they had been fighting for
quite a long time and were battle seasoned. In North Africa, the North Africa
Corps under General [Erwin] Rommel was considered Germany's finest. So,
they had superior weapons. They had the German 88 artillery weapon, which
was probably the most versatile weapon that I have ever seen. It had a muzzle-
velocity of over 3,000 feet per second. It was used for direct fire, it was used for
indirect fire, and it was used for anti-aircraft artillery. The shell-casing, as I recall
seeing them stand up, must have been close to three and a half feet tall, very
powerful. When the artillery came in to the area you were in, [it was] quite scary.
But really, I think the fact [was] that they were seasoned veterans. The
Americans had, really, no fighting experience. Where we were going to attack,
we actually ended up retreating about forty miles. So, like I said, at the end of
the war in Tunis and Bizerte, as I recall, there were about 279,000 Germans
[who] surrendered at that time, and this was an amazing sight to see all of the
German POWs walking back through our lines to be relocated in POW camps.
After the North African campaign, our units went back to Rabat, Morocco, and
retrained for future combat. Our division was not used in the Sicilian campaign,
but we had elements that landed in Salerno, Italy, and Naples, in September of
1943. Our battalion loaded up on LSTs, and we landed right on the docks at
Naples and were immediately pushed to the Cassino Front. We were in front of
the Monte Cassino where, as I recall, all of our forces seemed to think that the
Germans were using the abbey for observation purposes. According to the
historical record, the Germans were not. I guess that may be in dispute. I am
not sure. But, we were on the Cassino Front for quite a while, and General
[Mark] Clark was the Fifth Army commander. One of the purposes was to try to
cross the Rapido River, which was in front of Cassino, and the carnage was
terrible, as far as the American troops. They just could not cross the river there
because of the superior German forces. The only humorous part, I guess, that
happened to me [was that] I was a battery exec in an armored field artillery
battery at that time, and I was told by the battalion commander to take an M-7,
which was a 105 self-propelled howitzer on an M-7 tank-chassis to go out in front
of Cassino and shoot propaganda leaflets over the German lines. Strangely
enough, with one big tank sitting out there in the open, [we] received no gunfire
at all. I did have one muzzle-burst, and the leaflets showered a lieutenant
colonel and his party that were coming back from the front. He asked me what I
was doing out there and I, being a brash young lieutenant, told him I really did
not know; he would have to ask my battalion commander. But we were there for
quite a while, and then the strategists decided that, probably, they would cut off
the Germans if we landed at Anzio. So, our battalion, with elements of the First
Armored Division, went into the palace grounds in Naples and waterproofed the
vehicles for a landing. So, we landed at Anzio D+4, which was four days after
the original landing. Fortunately for us, we just drove off onto the docks they had
because the Germans were not expecting an invasion at that point. In fact, its
reconnaissance elements of the division actually went into Rome. But the corps
commander was a little hesitant. I am not sure what the problem was, but history
has not been on this because we pulled back and we were at Anzio for four and
a half months. Of course, the situation there was pretty bad because we were
surrounded on three sides by, as I recall, over 100,000 German troops. On two
occasions, the Germans tried to split the beachhead and push us back into the
water but, basically, we had so much artillery on the beachhead [that] we were
able to stay. So, in May of 1944, four months after we had landed there, we went
up every night directly behind the infantry and dug in artillery positions and
camouflaged the areas and then went back the next day. The night before we
made the final breakout from Anzio, we moved into position directly behind the
infantry. Strangely enough, we fired so much artillery and the push was an all-
out effort, [and] we did not receive a single round in our area, where we had just
been completely devastated before. The unit where I was executive officer, I
ended up by being the battery commander on Anzio because the battery
commander was wounded enough that he had to leave. So I took over the unit
at that time and did not relinquish it. Even when he came back, I kept the
battery. We were the first troops in Rome, [and] our division took Rome. We
were so fired up. Because we were moving and up for twenty-four hours, each
night, I had taken some [non-prescription medicine] called No-Doze that keeps
you awake. So, when I laid down to sleep on the sidewalks of Rome, I could not
close my eyes. I just could not make it. Then, we were, I guess, just north of
Rome when we heard that they had invaded, had D-Day at Omaha Beach. I
guess it was Operation Overlord. So, our only question at that time, since we
had been overseas in combat for quite a while, possibly a year and a half at that
time, was what took them so long? Anyway, we continued our push through the
entire boot of North Africa and ended up at the French border when the war was
over, in northern Italy. That is, basically, my experience of World War II.
G: You got a Purple Heart along the way somewhere, is that right?
B: Yes. I was wounded at Anzio, just a wound in the hand. We were shelled pretty
heavily, and one of our tanks was on fire. I was trying to help put the fire out. It
was not a serious injury, just enough that they considered it a Purple Heart. I
was not hurt.
G: [And] you got a Bronze Star?
B: I have a Bronze Star with the valor [V device].
G: Is that for a particular incident?
B: That was for an incident where the Germans had shelled us, and we had a tank
on fire. It was a question of getting the ammunition that was burning out of the
way, to save the tank and the people who were in there. It was nothing that was
not a person's job, but that is what I was recognized for.
G: After the war ended, how soon [was it] before you got to come back to the
B: The war ended in May or June, as I recall, and because of the fact that I had
been overseas for thirty months in combat and had received a couple of
decorations, the Bronze Star and the Purple Heart, I had accumulated, what they
called, 129 points. You were sent home based on how many points you had. So
I took off from Pisa, Italy, on the Fourth of July of 1945. It took about two weeks
because the transport system took us from Pisa, Italy, to outside of Casablanca,
Africa, which was Port Lyautey. We went from there to Natal, Brazil, from there
to British Guinea, from there to Puerto Rico, from there to Miami, and then I
finally ended up at Camp Blanding, where I had started originally. So, actually, I
had exactly two and half years overseas in combat. I had a strange thing happen
to me at Camp Blanding. I had been told that I could call my wife and that she
could pick me up at Camp Blanding the next day. When she was on the way
from Tampa to pick me up, a major told me that I would have to stay there for
forty-eight hours, because they would have to wait for whether I had orders
assigning me to wherever. I told him that after being overseas for two and a half
years and my wife was coming that morning, I was leaving with or without their
permission, because they had told me that I would be able to leave and that, as a
captain, I did not really feel I was that important to the United States Army that I
would have to stay at Camp Blanding, waiting for them to decide where to send
me. So he agreed, and I went home. I ended up at Fort Bragg and stayed there
for about a month and decided that I did not want to make the military a career
and asked to be discharged. In the meantime, the war in the Pacific ended in
August. Actually, I was given a certificate of service in September of 1945, with a
terminal date of December 7, 1945. At that point, I was out of the military.
G: So then, how did you come to be back in the Guard? You were completely out at
B: Right. The only thing I did [was] I accepted a reserve commission as a captain,
just to keep my military active. I had decided that after all I had gone through
that I did not want to be involved with the military anymore, and my wife did not
want to travel. So I went to work in the county courthouse and later changed
jobs to the tax collector's office.
G: That was for Hillsborough County, correct?
B: Hillsborough County in Tampa. While I was in tax collector's office, as an
accountant, the former battalion commander in the National Guard was
reorganizing the 116th Field Artillery and asked me if I would reorganize the unit
that I went in service with, which was B Battery of the 116th Field Artillery. I was
very hesitant, but I talked to my employer and he said that if I did anything that
was a credit to the Guard that would reflect credit on the office, it was fine with
him, even though I had to go to camp every summer. So I told the battalion
commander that I would stay just long enough to help him organize the unit, and
then I would drop out because I felt that I had had enough of the military.
Unfortunately, that was 1947, and I finally retired from the Guard in 1981.
G: Where was B Battery?
B: B Battery was organized right at Fort Hesterly in Tampa, the same location that I
left from. Of course, as I stayed in the Guard there, I became the battalion
commander of the 116th Field Artillery Battalion. Then they organized an artillery
group, which was the 263rd Field Artillery group, and I became the group
commander of that. Then the opening came as the brigade commander of the
53rd Infantry Brigade, and I was picked to be the brigade commander. [Tape
G: So, in the late 1950s, you were the battery commander? That was your position?
B: Yes. I was the battery commander, probably, until 1951, when I was promoted to
major and became the operations officer of the battalion.
G: What was the condition of those years between Korea and World War II?
B: Basically, we were getting reorganized, and it was difficult to get completely
equipped like we should be. In fact, as one of the, not the highlights but,
lowlights, I was interviewed by Peter Arnette, of CNN [Cable News Network]. He
came to my house in Tampa because he had been commissioned, or had the
assignment, from LIFE magazine, and it appeared to me that his total purpose
was to write a very derogatory article about the National Guard and the
Reserves, which he did. He came to my house and spent about an hour talking
to me and since I am a very positive person, all of my comments were positive.
None of my comments were included in the LIFE magazine article, although
members of the unit and other officers who had derogatory comments...anything
that was negative was put in his article but nothing positive. So, my interview
with Mr. Arnette was not that great.
G: I believe it was 1947 when the military was integrated. Did you see any effect of
that in the National Guard?
B: Actually, I do not believe that we were integrated in Tampa in 1947. I do not
recall, actually, the date but, quite honestly, we really never had a problem. Of
course, you know when you are in the Deep South and we had not been
integrated, it was different to the fact that all of a sudden, we were integrated.
However, I had worked with African American troops in Italy. When the 92nd
Division came overseas, they sent some of their officers over to our units, just to
be with us to see how things ran and what have you. We never had a problem,
really. We got along fine.
G: In the late 1940s, did the Guard see or did the military see the Russian threat?
Was that a focus of training or thought?
B: Not really. I think the Russian problem was strictly one of political content. I do
not think in the Guard, certainly at the level that we were, other than reading
about it, it really was not a factor. However, we did have a very senior officer in
Tampa, who also ran for governor, General Sumter Lowry, who continued to
warn people in the military that Russia was our number-one enemy, but that was
the main thrust that I can recall that we had any conversation about.
G: Was your unit called to active-service anytime between the wars, Korea and
World War II?
B: No. The unit was not called out during the Korean situation. It was not called out
in Vietnam. Of course, none of us were called out in either Korea or Vietnam
because, to get a Guard officer or person, you had to call the entire unit. That is
one of the differences between the Guard and the Reserve. In the Reserves,
they can call individuals, whereas in the Guard, they have to call the entire unit.
But we were not activated. [End of Side 1, Tape A]
G: Sir, how did the Korean conflict affect the Guard unit, as far as training and
personnel and such?
B: Really, I do not think it had any effect at all. Probably, we started, maybe, getting
a little more modern equipment and, maybe, as I recall, they started paying a
little more attention to the reorganization of the Guard, due to the conflict over in
Korea, but not anything that had any real impact on the Guard.
G: Tell me again what your positions were through the 1950s.
B: In 1951, on the Guard side, I became the operations officer, which was called the
S-3 of the 116th Field Artillery Battalion. Later on, I became the battalion
commander. They broke it into the 1st and 2nd Battalion of the 116th. The 2nd
Battalion was considered self-propelled, which at that point, they did not receive
the self-propelled [equipment]. But, that is when I became the battalion
commander, when they split up one unit and made two. Then, of course, when
they created the artillery group, after a short period of time, I was the executive
officer of the artillery group and then later became the group commander. Later
on, the headquarters of the 53rd Infantry Brigade, which had units spread from
Panama City down to Miami, was formed with the headquarters in Tampa, and I
became the executive officer, or deputy commander, of the 53rd Infantry Brigade.
When the brigade commander retired, then I became the brigade commander.
Of course, in the meantime, I had run for county tax collector of Hillsborough
County, was elected to the position of tax collector in 1968, and was the tax
collector for about seven years when the position of adjutant general of the state
of Florida, which is the head of the Florida Army and Air National Guard, became
available and Governor Reubin Askew [Florida governor, 1971-1979] appointed
me as the adjutant general. I resigned my position as tax collector in
Hillsborough County and moved to St. Augustine to be the adjutant general.
G: Let me go back a little bit to the training in the early 1950s. What was your
training? What kind of training did you do in the Guard?
B: Actually, back in those days, we had, what we called, a weekly drill, and we
drilled for a couple hours every Wednesday night. Since we were artillery, we
were very dedicated and we became very proficient as an artillery unit. The
problem with the Guard [was], as far as the weekly drills, it never worked out that
way because if you were in a position of responsibility, then you had to plan for
the training [and] you had to set up the training. So, it was not just two hours or
one hour, it was a pretty good second job. It took a lot of time. Later on, they felt
that it would be far more efficient, rather than having four nightly-drills per month,
the Guard started a program of all-day Saturday and all-day Sunday, one
weekend a month, which really made a better-trained unit and a more cohesive
G: About what year did they make that change?
B: I honestly do not recall, but it was probably in the late 1950s.
G: Also, I believe it was 1952 [when] they went to having Guard personnel go to
federal basic training before they joined the Guard. Did you see any effect of
B: Well, it really helped because we would enlist a person, and then they would
have to go on active duty to basic training. So, when they came back from the
basic training, at least they had their basic military training, they had some
discipline, and they knew, basically, the everyday life of the military, but they had
not been trained in a particular MOS, Military Occupational Specialty. That was
up to us, then, to train them in artillery.
G: During the 1950s, was the unit called up for active service of any kind?
B: The unit was not called up at all, except for state active duty. That was for
floods, riots, hurricanes, civil disturbances of that type of nature. We were called
up many times for that.
G: Do you have any of those that you would like to share that you can recall?
B: Probably, the first call up we had [was when] we were sent to a little town in
central Florida called Groveland, which is also adjacent to Clermont, where some
of the local people, [or] as we would say, the local rednecks, were terrorizing
some real fine, old-time black families who were probably in the turpentine
industry. [These local people] were creating a problem and talking about burning
their homes and what have you. So they had sent an infantry unit that did not
have any equipment to this area, so the local people told them that they were
going to run them out of town. The adjutant general called our unit to active state
duty because we were equipped and did have weapons and did have
ammunition, and we were sent to Groveland. Of course, once they saw that we
had ammunition and a pretty well-trained unit, then we had no problem and
everything quieted down. Two or three times in the Tampa area, we had high
water from floods that we were called out for, one specific time when we had
Governor Collins [Leroy Collins, Florida governor, 1955-1961] who came down.
This was in the north Tampa part, in the Carrollwood area, where the tornado
had come through and just demolished a lot of nice homes. So, with all of the
devastation that had been created, we were sent to keep people from looting
and, also, to direct traffic and what have you. It was a sort of a humanitarian-
type operation. The times that we were called out later on, as the adjutant
general, I had a number of those which I will talk to you about when we get into
that area. But I was called out one time when a policeman in Tampa had shot a
black youth who had stolen some merchandise and had refused to stop. He was
shot and, as I recall, killed. Of course, the black community burned quite a bit of
the area that they lived in, the businesses and, of course, I was sent to the area
first, to see what was going on, and then I was in charge of the operation when
Governor Kirk [Claude Kirk, Jr., Florida governor, 1967-1971] was in office. I
remember, very vividly, when Governor Kirk came to Tampa. He met with the
Hillsborough County Sheriff and myself and two or three other officials, and his
instructions were pretty clear. He said, if this starts up again, I want it stopped in
twenty seconds, which is a pretty short time, but we had no problem after that.
G: About what year was that?
B: I really cannot tell you that because my memory does not go back to the actual
days, except [that] it was when Claude Kirk was governor. I mean, he was the
first Republican governor, I guess, we had ever had.
G: What position were you in at that point?
B: At that time, I was the deputy commander, or the executive officer, of the artillery
group, but since I was the senior officer in the area on ground-there were other
senior officers, but they were not in Tampa-the adjutant general designated me
as the officer-in-charge.
G: What were your techniques at the time for riot-control, as far as loaded
B: That is always a very touchy thing when you have civil disturbance. Do you take
your troops that are not active-duty troops, and do you give them live ammunition
when they are dealing with the public. This is very difficult, but our troops always
had ammunition, but not in their weapons. We were very mindful that if,
according to Murphy's Law, if it can happen, it will happen. Therefore, they had
ammunition to protect themselves but not to use against the civilian community.
The main thing in those circumstances was to keep law and order and keep
people from looting when people were in dire straits. [Tape interrupted.]
G: General Bullard, let's go back and talk a little bit about your civilian career. You
were working in the tax collector's office, correct?
B: Yes. I started out in the tax collector's office as an accountant. The assistant tax
collector passed away in 1952, and I was put in the position then of the assistant
tax collector. Of course, it was called the executive assistant at that time but,
basically, it was a job where you handled all of the public and all of the problems
that went with it that the tax collectors did not want to fool with. I stayed there as
the assistant for about twenty-three years. In the beginning of 1968, the tax
collector, who was getting into his early seventies-I guess he was about seventy-
four at that time-said that he did not intend to run for re-election. This was
probably around February of 1968. People normally start campaigning around
March or April. I told him that if he was not going to run, I would run, because all
of the other employees in the tax office were under civil service. My position was
the only one that a new collector could eliminate. In other words, the new tax
collector could bring in his own assistant. So, I talked to my wife and
immediately became a politician. [That was] very difficult because when you are
an employee, you really do not have any money. It is very difficult to go to
people and ask them to contribute to your campaign when, basically, a tax
collector cannot do anything for anyone. Your money has to be accounted for,
[and] there are no favors that you can give anybody. So, raising money was a
very difficult problem, but we did it. I was very fortunate because Tampa and
Hillsborough County have a very large Hispanic population, and my wife is
Spanish and is fluent in Spanish. With her helping me, when she would speak to
the people she knew and other people, when they found out there was a
connection between the Hispanics and my situation, it certainly was a great help.
Fortunately enough, I was elected to the position in the second primary of 1968.
I guess that was probably around the latter part of May. Then, my boss decided
that he did not want to start the new fiscal period, which began October 1, and
said he was going to resign as of September 30. At that time, Governor Kirk
being a Republican and I being a Democratic nominee, there was a question
then of who would be the tax collector from October 1 through December 31
because my term of office would not start until the following January. The local
committee person for Governor Kirk called me and talked to me, and I told him at
that time that no Republican had run for the office, but if the governor had
somebody he wanted to give a job to for three months, that, of course, was his
prerogative, but I would still be running the office. About thirty minutes later, I
received a call from Governor Kirk, telling me that he was going to appoint me for
the three months. So, as a Democrat, I was appointed as tax collector for that
period by the Republican governor, Governor Kirk, with whom I had contact
before when the Guard had been called out for the riots in Tampa. That is why I
began my position, actually, as tax collector on October 1, ahead of the time that
I was actually elected to the position.
G: Did you find it difficult to balance your Guard duties with your regular [civilian]
B: It is very difficult, and the reason that it is difficult, first of all, as you move up in
the Guard ranks and assume more responsibility, the work-load that you have to
take on for planning, conferences, different meetings that you have to go out of
town for, all of which were usually, at that time, were non-pay status. Also a
problem [when] you are raising a family [is that] a lot of your weekends are taken
up with the Guard when your family wants to do something else. Due to the fact
that the military regulations and National Guard regulations require that all
officers take all of the same specialty-courses to be qualified for the next higher
grade, it was necessary to go to military schools in the summer, so my family had
to go to military camps in the summertime with [me] or stay home. So, you have
to have a sympathetic boss. You have to have a family that understands the
problem. Otherwise, you cannot be effective in the Guard, and you certainly
cannot advance, because the responsibility in the Guard is more than you
anticipate. It is not just one weekend a month as they have now. It is many
more days than that.
G: As an officer, did you ever have to deal with your subordinates' employers with
problems or conflicts?
B: Probably, the only conflict I ever had with a civilian job and the Guard was when I
had to go finish the command and general staff college, where I was not given
the necessary time to get back to my job on time. It was very difficult to drive all
night to get back home at five-thirty in the morning and be at work at eight-thirty
in the morning but, basically, my employer was sympathetic. In later years, as he
got older, he was not as sympathetic, because he wanted me there so that he
could have more leisure-time and not have to be worried with some of the
G: Where did you go to the command and general staff college?
B: Fort Levenworth, Kansas.
G: Were you there full-time as a student?
B: No. As either National Guard or Reserve officer, what you do is, you take the
correspondence courses and then, in the summertime, you would go to either a
two-week course or, at the end of all your correspondence courses, you would go
to a two-week course where you actually graduated from the command and
general staff college. The only other way was to go to the command and general
staff college for four months. I asked my boss at that time if I could go for the
four months, and he very plainly told me that if he could do without me for four
months out of the year, he could do without me for the rest of the year. So, I took
it by correspondence.
G: Let us go back to the early 1960s, just briefly. Did the Guard have anything to do
during the Cuban Missile Crisis?
B: No. The only thing that was of interest at that time was the fact that there was a
lot of hustle and bustle. There was a lot of activity at Fort Stewart when
President Kennedy went to Fort Stewart, and we had a lot of traffic in Florida,
with troops moving down to MacDill Field, but the Guard was not involved.
G: What about the Bay of Pigs Invasion? Are you aware of any Guard involvement?
B: No involvement at all.
G: Through the 1960s, how did the Vietnam War affect the morale and training and
such in the Guard?
B: As I recall, there really was not any step up in training, because we were doing
all of the military work. We would have weekend training at Avon Park. We fired
the cannons regularly. We had regular exercises. On the weekends, we did not
just go to the armory and train. We would have a weekend trip to one of the
national forests or to Avon Park and participate in active exercises. So, we were
kept pretty sharp and kept pretty well up-to-date, even though, still, they had to
call a whole unit. They just could not call an individual out of the Guard.
G: Did you see an increase, due to people going in the Guard rather than facing the
B: A number of people enlisted in the Guard in lieu of being drafted. Of course, this
was a national problem. The Guard was pretty well filled up. In fact, we always
had a waiting list of those who wanted to get in but could not get in because
there were so many people lined up to get in the Guard. So, we had a waiting
G: Did you encounter any problems with some of those people because they did not
really want to be there?
B: Naturally, you had certain people who knew that they were putting in the time in
the Guard because they did not want to be drafted, with the possibility of going to
Vietnam. Certainly, some of them, not an awful lot whom I encountered but there
were some, whose attitude was, well, I am just marking time, but they still had to
perform their duties.
G: Were there any significant periods of state service during the 1960s, such as for
hurricanes and such?
B: Just an occasional humanitarian situation where they had high water or they had
a tornado or something like that. It was just sporadic.
G: Did you have any part in Hurricane Donna or Hurricane Dora, in the early 1960s,
that you recall?
B: No, not really.
G: Did any of the racial problems that were going on during the 1960s, did that
affect the Guard internally?
B: I do not think it really had any impact at all. You know, when you are a military
organization and the orders come down that, all of sudden, a certain regiment
that you have been used to changes. In the military, you are used to taking
orders and when they said that the Guard was going to be integrated, we had no
problem. I honestly do not ever recall a situation where somebody was treated
unfairly. Certainly, I am sure there were certain individual instances but nothing
of any magnitude that would cause any problem.
G: Were the units you were in during the 1960s pretty well-integrated by that point?
B: It was predominately white. The fact is, I am not sure as to how many people
really wanted to join the Guard because the Reserves had been integrated
before we were. You see, the difference is that the Reserve is a federal
organization, whereas the Guard has a dual-status. Basically, they are under the
control of the governor, as a state guard, although they have a dual-status
because they have the federal part also, because they are funded by the federal
government [and] their equipment is supplied by the federal government.
Basically, the people, let us say the black youths, who wanted to join the military,
most of them were in the Reserve. Actually, there probably was a reluctance on
their part, when the Guard was first integrated, to join the Guard when they were
pretty well-integrated in the Reserve. But we really had no problem.
G: Coming into early-1970s, say again what your position was in the Guard?
B: In the early 1970s, actually, I was a brigadier general as a brigade commander.
As I recall, I was promoted to brigadier general, I think, in March of 1970. So, I
was brigadier general at that time of the 53rd Infantry Brigade.
G: Did you see any difference in the Guard through the last years of Vietnam? Did
that affect the Guard any?
B: Not really. Like I said, we had a pretty well laid out training program and stuck to
it pretty well. I am sure that some of our assets were taken away and given to
units who were in Vietnam, plus we did lose some equipment at times, but not
enough to really affect our training.
G: Were there any significant periods of state service there, when you were the
brigade commander in the early 1970s?
B: Not of any real note. I was the brigade commander for about five years, and we
had units in different locations within the state that were called out for whatever
problem they might have. They were humanitarian or something like that but
G: I understand some Guard units got called up when Disney opened. Do you
remember anything about that, when Walt Disney World opened, to control
B: I do not recall that.
G: Go ahead, sir, and tell me a little bit about how you came into the position of
adjutant general or how that came about?
B: The adjutant general that preceded me was General Henry W. McMillan, who
had been the adjutant general for about thirteen years. One thing that is
important to note about the Guard is that, even though it is a political
appointment by the governor at the time there is a vacancy, the governor does
not have the prerogative of putting in a new adjutant general when he comes into
office. The adjutant general can be replaced only by misfeasance or
malfeasance of job. So, we never had an adjutant general replaced by an
G: Is that true in every state?
B: That is not true in every state. That is strictly by the Constitution of the state of
Florida. In many states, the governors have the prerogative and exercise that
prerogative. Every time a new governor comes in, they may have a new adjutant
general. It is strictly political in a lot of cases. It is only political in Florida when
there is a vacancy. Therefore, when General McMillan was going to retire, he
asked me to go to Washington with him on one weekend for the retirement of the
Chief of the National Guard Bureau and, on the trip, asked me if I had ever given
any consideration to succeeding him as the adjutant general. I had a good job. I
was the Hillsborough County tax collector and had no aspirations to be the
adjutant general and told him no, that I really did not have any particular desire,
had not given any thought to it but, at the time, if it appeared like it was
something in my future that would be beneficial to me, I would consider it. So,
that is basically how it came about. He was going to retire in August of 1975 and
any time that an adjutant general is retiring, different senior officers who would
aspire to that position start all sorts of political campaigns for the job. When I
was appointed, I went to see Governor Askew and talked to him. He knew me as
a fellow Democratic officeholder because I was the tax collector in Hillsborough
County and when I went to see him in Tallahassee, he told me that he would not
appreciate a political campaign for the job. I told him, Governor, you know me as
the tax collector of Hillsborough County, and all I am here for is to show you my
military record and to tell you that if you are interested, I am interested, and there
will be no campaign. I did not contact a soul concerning the appointment of
adjutant general. In April of 1975, far ahead of the time that the current adjutant
general would retire in August, Governor Askew told his assistant to make the
announcement that he had decided to appoint me as the adjutant general, some
six months ahead of time, to eliminate politics for the position. It was rather
unusual that I had a period of about six months where I was the appointee for the
position, and there was no political campaign.
G: Briefly describe what the state adjutant general is.
B: Basically, the adjutant general is the head of the Florida Army and Florida Air
National Guard. That is the state militia. The governor is the commander-in-
chief, in name but not in body, and he holds the adjutant general responsible for
the training of the Army and Air National Guard within the state of Florida. It has
to do with the training, the readiness, the equipping and so forth. Actually, the
adjutant general has a pretty free hand, because the only time that the governor
calls upon the adjutant general is when they have a humanitarian or civil
disturbance somewhere within the state, and the Guard has the resources and
the manpower to take care of the situation.
G: You said earlier, this was a full-time position, and you had to give up your civilian
B: That is correct. I resigned as tax collector of Hillsborough County to move to St.
Augustine, where the headquarters of the Florida Guard is located, to become
the adjutant general. I think that was August 13, 1975.
G: Your salary and the state headquarters and all, is that funded federally?
B: No. You go back on active state duty but, here again, it is a dual-status. Certain
days, you are put on active duty on a federal status, and that is paid for just like
your active troops. But, the position of the adjutant general is on the state
payroll. It is kind of strange because within a lot of states, the adjutant general
has a set salary of whatever the governor and the budget officer of that particular
state feel they want to pay the position. However, the state of Florida, for many
years, pays the adjutant general the same pay scale as a major general on active
duty. So, you get the same pay and allowance as a major general on active
duty, but it is paid for by the state. Now, you have a certain number of federal
active-duty days, and that is funded by the federal people.
G: During your tenure, what was, about, the troop strength of the entire National
Guard there in Florida?
B: Probably, in round figures, around 10,000.
G: How was that broken up between Army and Air Guard?
B: Well, now that was the Army Guard. The Air Guard had, probably, around 2,000,
I would say.
G: So, you were in charge of, basically, 12,0000 soldiers and airmen?
G: What were your major units in the Army Guard in Florida, during your tenure?
B: Of course, they had several brigades. They had the infantry brigade, they had a
signal brigade, they had a transportation brigade, and then they a number of
other type combat service organizations. They had military police. They pretty
well covered the different types of units, like engineering units and what have
you, but the major units were the brigades that I laid out.
G: And the Air Guard? The major units in the Air Guard?
B: Actually, they were the 125th Fighter Wing of the Air National Guard. I am not
sure what their mission is right now, but I believe it is the same. For many years,
the Air National Guard of Florida has patrolled the southeastern coast of the
United States from Charleston down to Key West. That is on a twenty-four hour
basis. That is a mission of the Air National Guard, and they are combat-ready
and very capable.
G: Where were most of those units located?
B: Actually, at the International Airport in Jacksonville. They do have a unit now
down in the Miami area.
G: Were many of those civilian pilots?
B: The fact is, there were two or three that were civilian pilots. As a matter of fact,
the assistant adjutant general for Air right now, General Burnette, was an
Eastern Airline pilot. I believe that was the airline he flew for. He was a full-time
airlines pilot and was a Guard pilot on the side.
G: Let us go back. Describe briefly the process by which the National Guard is
called to state duty.
B: If there is a problem, be it humanitarian or civil disturbance, usually what
happens is the sheriff within the particular county will contact the governor. The
governor, then, will contact the adjutant general and if it is decided that the Guard
is needed, then the adjutant general will call the appropriate Guard troops out.
They have had cases, when the Guard was first organized, where the governor
took it upon himself to call out a particular unit that he thought would be the right
unit, and they had to be replaced by the adjutant general. So, it is pretty well-
organized now that if they have a problem that requires the service of the Guard,
the sheriff will talk to the governor, and the governor or the governor's
representative will contact the adjutant general, and they will take the appropriate
action. But the troops are called out by the adjutant general.
G: And funding for state call-ups is strictly state funds?
B: Strictly state funds. That is correct.
G: Is there any provision for if it becomes a federal disaster area? Does that
change the funding at all?
B: If it became a federal problem, then federal funds would come into play.
Normally, the state emergency fund within the state is set up for such problems
like that, and it is funded strictly by the state of Florida.
G: What is the process by which the National Guard is called for federal service or
B: That would be strictly where the head of the National Guard Bureau, if he in
concert with the generals in Washington-say, the chairman or the joint chiefs or
what have you-if they decided that they needed a unit with a particular specialty
and that they felt was up to training specifications, then they would say, for
instance, we have an engineering company in Florida which is trained for this
particular mission, [and] they are full-strength. They would then call the adjutant
general of the state of Florida, who would then activate that Guard unit, and they
would be put on federal status.
G: So the governor indirectly has a role in that?
B: The governor would certainly be consulted and all that; however, it would be a
military matter, and it would only be information to the governor. The governor
would never step in and say, they are not going to go.
G: Can the governor do that, if it ever [came up]?
B: I doubt it. No, because first of all, the Guard has a dual-status and if they have
an emergency on a national level and they want a Guard unit, it does not make
any difference who does not want to go. They activate the unit.
G: Once a unit has been federalized, does the adjutant general or any other state
officials have any say-so in what they do or how they are used?
B: Once they are on active duty, they are under the control of the federal forces.
G: In your experience, how active have the governors been in the supervision and
maintenance of the National Guard?
B: The governor that took more interest in the Guard was probably Governor
Graham [Robert Graham, Florida governor, 1979-1987]. At the time that
Governor Graham became the governor, we set up a civilian committee which
was a military advisory group to the governor. As I recall, on a quarterly basis,
we had meetings, and the Governor attended the meetings. This was not only
Guard personnel; this was Navy personnel; this was Air Force personnel; this
was Coast Guard personnel. This was the whole gamut, so that the governor
would be pretty well briefed on what the military's activities were [and] the
problems the military had. As far as the Guard was concerned, if we had a
particular need, that was a good opportunity to tell him the problem, and he could
talk to his legislative people if it was something that required an appropriation or
a special act of the legislature to help the Guard. But, he was very active, more
than any governor I have ever seen, who has actually participated in a lot of
meetings with the military.
G: Is there any intermediate level of civilian control between the governor and the
adjutant general, or is it a direct link?
B: At the time that I was the adjutant general, there really was not anyone in
between. There is no one in between, but they do have the state emergency and
disaster people. If you go into Washington, it is called FEMA, the Federal
Emergency Management Agency. They are the people who the president would
send out if it was a federal mission. For instance, the people from FEMA were
very active when we had the Cuban boat-lift situation in 1981. They came down
to Key West and set up headquarters there. Strangely enough, they probably
were more of a deterrent than they were help at that time but, here again, that
was just the way they were organized at that time. I understand, lately, they
have been doing a better job.
G: Does the state legislature have any role in the National Guard?
B: [None] other than appropriating funds, the adjutant general prepares his budget
and takes it over to the state. Then you have to make your presentation to the
state and to the legislative committees that have to do with your budget.
G: So that state legislature could not stop the adjutant general from calling the
National Guard to state service if they did not approve of something?
[End of side A2]
G: So, sir, the state legislature cannot stop the governor from taking any action with
the National Guard?
B: That is true. One thing I would like to clarify: when we were talking about how
involved a governor may be with the Guard and which ones are more active,
every governor who I can recall, anytime that there is an emergency, the
governor is always involved. The governor always goes to the scene and takes
an interest firsthand because, after all, he is the governor of the state. When I
indicated that Governor Graham was the most involved militarily, it was because
we had the military advisory committee to the governor, and he was interested
enough that he attended most every meeting we had. He set that out on his
calendar to go. To my knowledge, he is the only governor who has ever done
G: Could you say again which governors you served under?
B: Actually, I only served under two governors. Governor Askew appointed me, and
Governor Graham was the governor when I retired.
G: Do you have any interesting anecdotes about the governors during your time as
B: I guess the only one I would think of, of any comment that a governor made, was
when I retired in 1981, the Governor and his wife flew over to St. Augustine and
met with my family. We had a breakfast. He could not stay for my retirement
because he had a prior commitment, but he said that when we had the riots in
Miami, when about eighteen people were killed, the hardest decision he ever had
to make as governor was to permit me to allow our National Guardsmen to be
armed when we were in the Miami area to put down a civil disturbance. Of
course, I told him at that time that I could not put our people on the streets, when
people were being killed, without ammunition. I said, Governor, we are not going
to hurt anybody, but we are not going to get hurt. And we did not.
G: Going back, during the 1970s, the military went from a draft military to an all-
volunteer force. How did that affect your time as adjutant general?
B: When I was there, we were always at 100 percent [personal strength]. We may
have dropped just a few, but we were always able to recruit enough people to
keep our units pretty well at full strength. As we were talking before about how
much time it takes the part-time Guardsmen to spend away from his other time,
this meant that we had to set up campaigns where we would go to different
locations-Pensacola, Tallahassee, Miami-and every unit would have a recruiting
drive, but you had to stay behind it in order to keep your units up to strength.
G: Just for people who are not aware, how spread out is the Guard, as far as units
and what towns?
B: The Guard, basically, is almost in every community within the state. There are
some, not every city but, in just about every county in the state of Florida, we
have Guard units. That goes from Miami up the coast to Jacksonville and, on the
Gulf Coast, up to Tallahassee to Pensacola and Panama City. If you go from the
farthest Guard unit to the farthest Guard unit, you would probably have over 800
G: During the 1970s, during you time as adjutant general, did the role of women in
the National Guard change?
B: The role of women was just really beginning to come into fruition the last few
years that I was involved with the Guard. I guess the first women who we had in
the Guard were probably when I was brigade commander in the early 1970s. I
am talking about where we had any young ladies to amount to anything. Now,
they are playing a major role in not only the Guard but the Reserve and the
G: Sir, talking a little bit about the National Guard and law-enforcement, what state
or federal laws give the Guard the ability to perform law-enforcement duties, or
can they perform law-enforcement type duties?
B: It is set up under the military code in the state of Florida statutes. There is a
statute governing the militia, and it gives the militia the authority under the
governor, and the adjutant general, to perform whatever mission, be it
humanitarian or a situation where you have put down a civil disturbance.
G: Was that an amendment to the Constitution or does it go back to the original
B: Quite honestly, I do not recall, but I think it goes back just about as far as we
have had the militia.
G: Is the National Guard's authority to perform law-enforcement type duties different
from the federal troops'?
B: I am sure it is, but bear in mind that usually what happens when you have a civil
disturbance, you coordinate your activities directly with the chief law-enforcement
officer of that particular county, which would be the sheriff because, after all, he
has the jurisdiction within the county. Then the duties that it is felt that the
sheriff's office cannot handle or the local police department cannot handle, that is
when it becomes more of a manpower problem [and] that it is when they call in
the Guard. Of course, it is very effective.
G: Can Guard members be granted arrest powers?
B: Under the militia state code, the way it is, the Guard does not arrest. The Guard
will hold and detain and turn that individual over to a law-enforcement person.
Now, under the federal situation, if they declared martial law-like the federal
troops when they were called out for, let us say, school integration or anything
like that--then the military has the power. But, under state constitutions,
normally, the routine is that the Guardsmen can detain and hold and turn the
individual over to the local law-enforcement.
G: And that is pretty much standard through most of the states?
B: That is standard.
G: When the National Guard goes in to assist local law-enforcement, who is in
command, the sheriff or the military commander on the scene?
B: The military is in command of the military. The situation is [that] it is a
coordinated effort between the Guard commander and the local sheriff of that
particular county. Of course, the adjutant general has the right to send in his
representatives or something like that but, basically, it is a coordinated effort
between the Guard commander, who has been designated as the commander,
and the local sheriff.
G: So, if the sheriff wants the Guard to do something, he goes to the commander?
B: That is right. He will go to the commander and say, is this a mission that your
people can do? A lot of time, if things are tense, they may want the Guard to do
something that the Guard cannot do, that is not an appropriate mission for the
Guard, or they do not have the capability to do that particular thing. Normally, it
is a pretty well coordinated effort.
G: What training does the Guard do to help it perform civil disturbance and law-
enforcement type missions?
B: For a long time, it was a matter of hit-and-miss, I guess, as we went along.
Then, as it became more prevalent that the Guard was being called out on a
national level, they required that all units have X [a certain amount] number of
hours of training in civil disturbance. So all units within the Guard received a
certain amount of training on their training schedules that has to do with civil
disturbance. Now, that was not true years ago. They were just given a mission,
and they did it the best they could without, let us say, some type of formal
G: Are there any official links between the Guard and state law-enforcement
agencies, like the Highway Patrol?
B: There is no link there, but there is an awful lot of coordination. In every civil
disturbance or humanitarian situation that I have been in-and that goes back, I
guess, to 1947, when first I was in-the Highway Patrol was always there. There
are people that you coordinate with and work very closely with, but it is a
G: Did the Ohio National Guard's experience at Kent State have any effect on how
the Florida Guard started handling civil disturbance?
B: I do not know that it had an effect on the training. It certainly brought to the front
a certain lesson or two. I think the biggest lesson that came out of Kent State
was the fact that the Ohio people did not call out a large-enough unit to handle
the situation properly. As I recall, they had about a company-sized unit, who
were basically being confronted with, possibly, 1,500 students and [who]
probably panicked. Had a large-enough force been called out, this probably
would not have happened. It is unfortunate. It is tragic that such a thing could
happen but, in the military, one of the principles of war is mass. Had they had
the proper amount of forces, I do not think that would have ever occurred.
G: Do you feel like the Guard has been successful in dealing with racially-charged
B: I am sure it has. In my experience with racial disorders, the Guard never really
received any bad publicity with race. In the Tampa riots that we had, in one area,
we did have some rocks and things thrown at some of our troops, but nobody
was hurt. In most cases, the people in, let us say, the black community like
Liberty City in Miami, there are enough of the people who are civic-minded in
areas like that, that they know that the purpose of the Guard is to re-establish
order and to put down people who are uneasy about the situation. A lot of the
people of their own race were concerned about their own life and their security,
so most of the times we have been called out, we have had very good relations
with the people, even though they were not happy, maybe, with whatever caused
the riot. But they knew that we were there just to establish order and not hurt
G: Do you think the Guard has any advantages over local officials in dealing with
situations like that?
B: I think they do, mainly because we have manpower. First of all, [with] a local
law-enforcement office, they have their routine patrols they have to do [and] they
have their regular day-to-day jobs they have to do. If they have a civil
disturbance or even a humanitarian thing, they have to call up people who are
not on duty to shore up whatever ranks they need. But if, all of a sudden, you
have an entire unit-let us say you called in 300 or 400 [of the] Guardsmen-then
all of those people are there for that particular purpose, and you have enough
people to rotate on different shifts that the manpower is not really a problem. It is
a problem for local law-enforcement officers if it is one that has gone on for a
period of time.
G: During your time in the National Guard, did you ever play any part in the drug war
which, you know, the National Guard is involved in now?
B: No, not really. That has become, as I understand it, a significant part for some
Guard units where they have assisted law-enforcement officers in drugs, but I
had no involvement with the drugs.
G: Going into talking about disaster relief, does the governor's or president's
declaration of a state of emergency or disaster area have an immediate effect on
the National Guard, or does there have to be a separate call-up?
B: No, not really. The governor, basically, decides that the local law-enforcement
people need assistance. The president does not have anything to do with it. It is
strictly whether the government feels that they need more resources to straighten
out a situation.
G: Tell me again, [because] I think you mentioned it earlier, what the state agency is
that provides the command in control for disaster-relief work?
B: I am trying to recall. It is the emergency management but, actually, it is an
outgrowth of the civil-defense program that the state has. Civil defense has
evolved into a disaster agency, mainly, because that is basically where the
assistance is needed. They have a lot of training in that, and they coordinate and
have a number of conferences with Guard officials to be sure that everybody is in
synch, that their radios will mesh, that they all have frequencies that they can
communicate. So it has become pretty well organized. Each county has a
person that is in charge of their county-disaster program.
G: In disaster-relief situations, does the Guard tend to focus on security issues, like
protecting private property or providing the logistical support like trucks and
B: All of that. For example, the Guard will perform security for people who are out
of their homes or businesses that have been devastated. They are there to
prevent looting, which unfortunately happens in just about every case. There will
be cases where a small community has lost its water supply. The Guard will
send their water-tankers in to help alleviate the water situation. The Guard will
handle traffic-control where they are required. So, there are any number of tasks
that the Guard has assigned.
G: Does the Guard do any specific training to keep itself prepared for disaster-
B: Other than the normal training that they have had for disturbances and such like
that, when they are called out for a particular mission, they are usually qualified
for it; it is just routine for the Guard to do that particular function.
G: Do you have any personal experiences [or] anecdotes related to disaster-relief?
B: I guess about the only one that I could tell you, and this happened during the
Cuban boat-lift, [was when] we had the Federal Emergency Management Agency
people down in Key West, and we were getting along fine. This is a true story.
We had about 5,000 Cubans in an air [aircraft] hanger. The restroom facilities
were overworked. When we moved them to a concentration-camp area in Miami
and we needed port-o-lets [portable toilets], we were in a position to have
somebody come in and take care of sanitary conditions that the people needed
badly. The Federal Emergency Management Agency required that we go out for
bids to find out who would have the lowest bid to furnish port-o-lets. We were in
Key West and Miami, and I believe they found someone, maybe, in the Orlando
area which, while the people stood more or less with their legs crossed waiting
for the port-o-lets, for a bid. That is about the only thing that I can recall that was
sort of dumb, I thought.
G: Going into talking about training, when you were in the Guard, what was the
primary focus of the training conducted by the National Guard?
B: The primary focus, really, is on readiness, the readiness of a unit, that if it were
called up to active duty, it would be capable of moving into active duty and of
performing the mission that the unit is supposed to do, efficiently, whether it is
artillery, infantry, engineer, quartermaster or what have you.
G: So, wartime skills?
B: It is wartime readiness. The whole focus of the Guard is readiness, not
necessarily oriented towards state; it is oriented toward a federal program of
being ready to be called up, in case of a national disturbance.
G: Where is most of the Guard training conducted, for the Florida Guard?
B: They have a number of places. A lot of the Guard is trained at Camp Blanding.
A lot of them go to Fort Rucker [Alabama]. They go to [Fort] Pickett [Virginia]. In
recent years, they have trained in Germany. They have gone to the Far East.
We used to send troops to Panama. We sent troops through the jungle training
school in Panama. They go to Fort Lewis, which is the National Training Center
for Guard personnel. So, just about any particular military specialty. They take,
for instance, our Special Forces units. They train in Alaska. They train in Utah.
In Puerto Rico. You name it. If there is a facility, they are designated to train
with like-units or active-duty units that have a particular need for a particular unit
to fill in.
G: Do you feel like the one weekend a month and the two weeks annual training
requirements are enough for the National Guard units to remain proficient?
B: I think if they adhere to their training schedules, for the individuals, yes. But for
the people who are in charge, for the people who are doing the planning, it is not
enough. The Guard Bureau and the federal government understand that, and
they provide additional, what we call, man-days, that are paid for by the federal
people. In other words, they are put on active-duty for man-days to do particular
[things] or to go to a conference. So, it is not really just the one weekend a
G: Is funding ever a problem to maintaining training?
B: It has been at times because, as I recall, during the Carter [Jimmy Carter, 39th U. S.
President, 1977-1981] administration, the military had dropped pretty low in readiness
and funds. It was not a priority, for whatever reason. But when President Reagan
[Ronald Reagan, 40th U. S. President, 1981-1989] came in, he felt very strongly that we
should have a strong military, especially because of the Cold War we had with Russia.
During his presidency, the military, both the active and the Guard, received federal
support more than they had in many years. Strangely enough, that has deteriorated
recently. If people now look at the news, they realize that the military today is being
used all over the world. They have not kept their pay-status as they should have and, as I
understand it, they are going to give a reasonable pay-adjustment for all the troops in
January. So now, I think the emphasis will be put back into it, but there have been times
when the military was not considered a high priority.
G: Without the daily physical fitness training opportunities that active-duty units have, how
does the National Guard maintain standards, as far as basic physical fitness?
B: The Guard has the same physical-fitness standards as the regular Army. As I recall when
I was still active, and I am sure it is the same now, everybody had to meet the same
physical standards. If they were overweight, they were given X [a certain] number of
days and so forth to get themselves in shape. They had to do all of the physical sit-ups
[and] the physical agilities that the active people had to do, and they have an actual test
once a year to see that they are meeting the standards. If they cannot meet the standards,
then they are out.
G: During the time you were adjutant general, what did you anticipate as the train-up time
required before a Florida Guard unit would be ready to go into combat with their active-
B: That is a good question, and it is a hard one to say. There are many units that, probably,
with thirty to sixty days additional training would have been pretty proficient. There are
others that, maybe because of equipment deficiencies or what have you, might have taken
as much as six months on active duty to come up to the strength. But, the whole idea is
probably thirty to sixty days to have them perform their duties because, basically, the
Guard is rated by active-duty component personnel at their annual training every year.
They are given a rating as to what degree of readiness they are at that particular time. So,
they live and die with the ratings that they are given. So, the deficiencies that are noted
by the regulars are pretty heavily worked on as their training-schedules develop.
G: How frequently during your tenure did National Guard units have the opportunity to train
with their active-duty counterparts?
B: Every year. What would happen [was] as the programs developed, active-duty divisions
or brigades had certain requirements. There would be a National Guard unit that was
considered the sister-unit or that if they were called up, they would go with them. Every
year, we had the units train with the unit supposedly that they would be called up with, so
that they would know each other and have the benefit of [knowing] how each one of them
operated and the coordination.
G: I know during your last couple of years as the state adjutant general, you had some busy
times. Could you describe those early 1980 Liberty City riots and the Cuban refugee
B: Twice we were called up for Liberty City. The first one was not that severe; however,
the second one that we were called up for, and I believe it was in 1980 or 1981 where
there were about eighteen people in the Miami area who lost their lives, we were pretty
heavily involved in that. Here again, we were very fortunate. We were trained in the
mission that we were given. Although we did have people who tried to harm our
guardsmen, none of our people were hurt, and we did not hurt anybody else.
G: That was at Liberty City. How did the Cuban boat-lift...?
B: The Cuban boat-lift went real smooth. One of the major problems that we had was that
they were coming in such a large number that you had to coordinate to see that once you
got them into the Key West navy base. A number of the Cuban people identified other
Cubans as criminals. Those people were identified and turned over to the law-
enforcement people. They were not the caliber of people who came in 1963, when you
had the professionals who left Cuba when Castro took over. These were average run-of-
the-mill people who just had an opportunity to get out of Cuba. A lot of them had
relatives in Florida. By run-of-the-mill, I do not mean that there was anything wrong
with them; they just were not the executive or the professional-type people. We had
problems of seeing that they were housed properly. Then you had to have transportation,
busses and stuff, to take them to other locations. For instance, we moved them to
different military bases and, as I recall, one of the place that did not want them, strangely
enough, was Arkansas. They did not want any of the people located there. It is quite a
problem because you have people who have come to this country with absolutely nothing
but the clothes they had on their backs. Of course, they were uneasy, and they were
unhappy. They did not know what was going to happen to them. Some of them did have
relatives, especially in the Miami area. So, it is a humanitarian situation, but there were
no problems other than just the day-to-day problems of relocating people.
G: So, the Coast Guard would pick them up and turn them over, at what point, to the Guard?
B: Actually, the Coast Guard more or less saw that they were safe, I guess, because they
actually came in every type of craft that they could get across the straight there. A lot of
people, I guess, were entrepreneurs in Cuba who ran boats. Apparently, it cost each one
of them X [a certain] number of dollars to get on the boat to get to the United States. A
lot of their own people were making money from them. But, the Coast Guard was there
to see if they had a problem at sea, and then they could rescue them.
G: What made you decide to retire from the Guard in 1981?
B: By state constitution, the adjutant general has to retire at age sixty-four. So, it is not a
question of whether you want to retire or not. When you become sixty-four, you
automatically retire. That is the only time that the governor can appoint, or will appoint,
an adjutant general, when the person retires.
G: Did you have any significant events in your last year?
B: Nothing, other then the Liberty City riot and the Cuban boat-lift.
G: You said the Governor came over for your retirement ceremony.
B: The Governor and his wife came over and met with my family and had a brunch before it,
because he had a commitment in Tallahassee that afternoon. But, he did come over for
the farewell brunch.
G: Briefly, what have you done in the years since you left the Guard?
B: Actually, the only thing of any significance [is that] I spent a little more time with my
grandchildren. We were fortunate enough to build a home in St. Augustine. Of course,
we later built a home in North Carolina in the mountains. We, basically, go back and
forth and just enjoy living.
G: Describe your family again, sir. How many children?
B: I have two children. I have a daughter, Patricia, who is married to a Methodist minister
by the name of John Jay Willis. They have just been reassigned to the Trinity Methodist
Church in Tallahassee, and they have just moved there. I have a son who is a doctor in
Orlando. He is the medical director of the emergency and trauma center at Orlando
Regional Hospital. He is also vice chief of staff of the hospital there, of their operations.
He has four children. My daughter has two. I have one brother who lives in Tampa.
That is basically all the family we have.
G: You had told me earlier, sir, that your parents had an interesting political career.
B: Yes. My dad ran for and was elected as the county commissioner in Hillsborough
County while I was overseas in World War II. Then, in 1951, he had a heart attack and
died in office, and Governor Fuller Warren [Florida governor, 1949-1953] appointed my
mother to succeed him for two and a half years. So she became the first woman
commissioner in Hillsborough County. Then, of course, she ran for the office in
Hillsborough County and, at that time, it was not considered a woman's job as a county
commissioner, and she lost to a man in the race by 138 votes in Hillsborough County,
which was pretty close.
G: Was appointing a surviving spouse common practice?
B: That was common practice at that time. If the officeholder died in office and his spouse
was considered capable and wanted to be the commissioner or the particular office, it was
custom then, at that time, for the governor to appoint that person for the rest of the
G: Sir, you said you had one more anecdote concerning your World War II service.
B: I think one thing that is of interest is the fact that when we were at Anzio for four and a
half months and completely surrounded on three sides by the Germans and, of course, by
the Gulf in the back of us, the Germans held the superior position in the Alban Hills, just
short of Rome. They shelled us day and night. Also at night, they would come in with
their planes and drop two-pound antipersonnel bombs that were just in a cluster.
Therefore, you had to dig a cave, like you would dig when you were a child, to put your
sleeping bag in. You dug it just deep enough to get on your hands and knees and crawl
into it. We put logs across the top of it and cardboard to put dirt on top of it. It would
not protect from shell-fire, because if a shell had hit that, it would not have done you very
much good. But it did protect you from sleeping above the ground because the
antipersonnel bombs that they dropped were not bombs, necessarily, to kill a person but
to maim them, send them to the hospital. So, it was necessary to sleep underground at
night. If you had claustrophobia, you would really be in trouble. As an artillery unit, we
slept underground right next to the executive half-track [armored vehicle]. When we
received a fire mission that we had to deliver artillery fire on a particular target, naturally,
we climbed out of the place we were sleeping and into the exec-track and performed our
mission. It was more of survival situation than anything else.
G: You said earlier, sir, that you had an encounter with Mussolini at one point in the war.
B: Actually, not with him particularly but, as we were moving very rapidly at the end of the
European War and the Italian boot, as we moved up, our unit got to Milan, Italy,
probably within an hour of the time that Benito Mussolini and three or four partisans of
whom I still I have a picture, which was given to me, were hung upside down in Milan. I
did not see them personally, but I have the picture there, where they had just been shot by
their own people, I guess by Italian partisans.
G: Sir, as a last question, why do you think we, as the United States, have a National Guard?
Would not a large active-duty force do the same work?
B: There are several reasons. Number one, when you look at the national program, it is far
cheaper, costwise, to the federal government to have a trained militia, not only as the
Guard but as the Reserve units, who are trained or could be ready within a very short
time, to call up. It is just economically beneficial to the country as a whole. At the same
time, due to the dual-status of the National Guard, it gives the governor and local law-
enforcement authorities an additional arm there to take care of humanitarian or civil
disorders. So, with the dual- status, it is cheaper, and you still have a trained militia that
you can call to active- duty just by issuing an order. The Guard is a well-trained tool of
the defense posture at a much cheaper cost. Like I said, you have the manpower
available that you do not have on the federal payroll year-round that is available if
needed, which basically eliminates having that many more people on the federal payroll
that you just do not have to maintain. It is much cheaper to the government and to the
G: Thank you very much, sir. This concludes the General Bullard interview.