Gen. Bobby Efferson, IHS ’61, Honored by LSU

Brig. Gen. Bobby Efferson, a certified American hero, grew up on Seneca Street near the corner of Plank Road and Choctaw Drive in the 1950’s.

In 1969, during the Vietnam War, Bobby was an Air Force 1st lieutenant flying combat missions out of Thailand. On one fateful day, another pilot went down on the border with Laos.  It was only a matter of minutes before he would be killed by Viet Cong forces on the ground or taken prisoner. But Bobby continued to circle the area, making run after run at the enemy forces which were firing on him. Despite great danger to himself, he didn’t quit until all the enemy guns were silent. Then U.S. helicopters were able to come in and rescue the downed pilot. As Bobby was pulling away, the pilot was on the radio from the helicopter with a message, “Boys, thanks for my ass!” Bobby was awarded two Distinguished Flying Crosses in Vietnam.

Twenty-one years later, Col. Bobby Efferson was back in combat during the First Gulf War. On one mission to take out Saddam Hussein’s scud missiles, Bobby’s A-10 Warthog encountered heavy antiaircraft fire. As it limped back to base, the electronics were hanging out. The ground crew was amazed to find 368 bullet holes in the plane but Bobby was unharmed. That night he brought his Bible and sat under the plane praying.  As fluids dripped down on him, he said, “Lord, you must have something left for me to do!”

Efferson fondly remembers growing up in North Baton Rouge and his experience at Istrouma High School. His sister Carolyn Efferson Jarreau graduated in 1963 and his brother Blaine in 1966.

“In the early 1950’s, growing up on Seneca St., we walked or rode our bikes everywhere! We got 2 cents for every Coke bottle we could find. I’d make 25 cents and walk to the Regina Theater on Plank Road. The movie was 12 cents, and that left enough for a Coke and candy! I’d stop at Ourso’s and see if there was anything Mama had ordered for me to pick up. I’d see Harold, Milton, Lynwood or Doris Ourso.  We’d ride our bikes to the Capitol and roll down the hills. We’d pick dewberries and Melvin Badon’s mom would make us cobbler.  If we leaned our bike against something, it was always there when we came back. We could always get a treat at Sitman’s Drug Store. It was a wonderful time!”

“At Istrouma, I was too small to play football. So I joined the band and learned teamwork. I could march. When I got to LSU, it was natural to join Pershing Rifles, which led to my military career.”

Istrouma principal Reginald Douglas said, “The longer I work at Istrouma High, the more amazed I am that Istrouma has produced so many historic figures of national importance. Gen. Efferson is an example of what Istrouma means to our state and nation.”

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