Dr. Bob Wettemann
Associate Professor of History
Dr. Robert “Bob” Wettemann, Jr. received his B.A. with Honors in History from Oklahoma State University in May 1993. He attended Texas A&M University, earning a M.A. (1995) and Ph.D. (2001) in History, with emphases in U.S., Military, and Public History. He spent six years in the History Department at McMurry University in Abilene, Texas, earning the rank of Associate Professor and serving as the director of the institution’s Public History program.
Beginning in 2007, he spent two years as a Visiting Professor in the Department of History at the U.S. Air Force Academy. After a brief tenure with the Command Historian’s Office of the U.S. Army Special Operations Command, he returned to the U.S. Air Force Academy to serve as Director of the U.S. Air Force AcademyCenter for Oral History and as the Max F. James Distinguished Researcher in Character and Leadership Development in the U.S. Air Force Academy Center for Character and Leadership Development, where he edited Contrails, the foundational document for U.S. Air Force Academy Cadet development.
He currently serves as an Assistant Professor at the U.S. Air Force Academy Department of History. He is the author of Privilege vs. Equality: Civil Military Relations in the Jacksonian Era, 1815-1845 (Praeger Security International, 2009) and numerous other articles and book chapters on U.S., military, and public history. He has recently completed The Patriot: An American Golf Odyssey, a book length manuscript for the Folds of Honor Foundation.
Ph.D., Texas A&M University (2001)
Master of Arts, Texas A&M University (1995)
Bachelor of Arts (with Honors), Oklahoma State University (1993)
Assistant Professor, Department of History, U.S. Air Force Academy (2016-present)
Max F. James Distinguished Researcher in Character and Leadership Development/Director, USAFA Center for Oral History (2014-2016)
Director, U.S. Air Force Academy Center for Oral History (2010-2016)
Historian, U.S. Army Special Operations Command, Fort Bragg, North Carolina (2009-2010)
Visiting Professor, Department of History, U.S. Air Force Academy (2007-2009)
Associate Professor, Department of History, McMurry University, Texas (2007-2009)
Director, Public History Program, McMurry University, Texas (2002-2007)
Assistant Professor of History, McMurry University, Texas (2001-2007)
Honors & Awards
Stephen L. Orrison Award for Mentoring Excellence, U.S. Air Force Academy Department of History (2017)
Clio Award for Outstanding Contributions to the U.S. Air Force Academy Department of History (2012)
St. George Episcopal Award, Pikes Peak Council, Boy Scouts of America (2012)
McMurry University Graduates’ Faculty Appreciation Award (2004)
Phi Alpha Theta History Honor Society (1993)
Eagle Scout (1986)
Research and Scholarly Interests
“Rhino Tanks and Sticky Bombs: American Ingenuity in World War Two.” This book length manuscript addresses the application of the “use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without” mentality by U.S. servicemen during the Second World War. As products of a depression-era society that possessed widespread access to machines and a need to develop creative solutions to keep those machines running during periods of economic distress, young men who would become U.S. soldiers, sailors and airmen were particularly well suited in using their technical familiarity to find effective solutions to wartime problems under difficult field conditions. In progress.
“Major Malcolm Wheeler Nicholson: Forgotten Visionary.” In 1911, Malcolm Wheeler Nicholson was commissioned into the U.S. Cavalry. Over the course of his eleven-year military career, he served on the border with General John J. Pershing, in the Philippines in command of Buffalo Soldiers, in Siberia as part of U.S. observation forces, and in the Rhineland with occupation forces at the conclusion of World War I. A forward-thinking and progressive officer, he ran afoul of more conservative army leadership in the aftermath of the Great War, ultimately taking his grievances to President Warren Harding. Forced from the U.S. Army after a much-publicized court martial, he became a popular writer and social commentator, publishing loosely autobiographical pulp fiction and the first comic book, before founding what would become Detective Comics. Returning to writing military commentary and social analysis on the eve of World War II, this book-length biography explores his life as a military analyst and social commentator, demonstrating how his progressive nature earned him the enmity of the U.S. military, forcing him to return and engage with American society in the 1920s and 1930s through the only other medium he knew, literature. In progress.
Edited, with Lt. Gen. (ret’d) Christopher D. Miller, Contrails, Volume 62, 2016-17. (United States Air Force Academy, CO: USAFA, 2016)
“American Weaponry in the Battle of New Orleans,” in The Battle of New Orleans Reconsidered, Curtis Manning, ed., (New Orleans: Louisiana Institute of Higher Education, 2014), 186-204.
“USAFA History at Fifty Years: Curriculum, Teaching, and the Next Generation of U.S. Air Force Leadership,” in Edward A. Kaplan, ed., High Flight: History of the U.S. Air Force Academy (Chicago: Imprint Publications, 2011), 163-174.
Privilege vs. Equality: Civil Military Relations in the Jacksonian Era, 1815-1845 (Santa Barbara, CA: Praeger Security International, 2009)
Donald S. Frazier, Robert F. Pace, and Robert P. Wettemann, Jr., The Texas You Expect: The Story of Buffalo Gap Historic Village (Abilene, TX: Statehouse Press 2006)