- Associated Press - Monday, April 7, 2014

BATTLE CREEK, Mich. (AP) - In the middle of it all, with the bullets whizzing and the bombs exploding and the situation deteriorating, Bob Hinsley returned a text message.

From his wife.

“I didn’t know where he was and I sent him a text message because I was worried,” Jesse Hinsley told the Battle Creek Enquirer ( http://bcene.ws/1fOLh0i ). “I saw something on the news and I was worried. Stupid me, I shouldn’t be watching the news but I texted him and asked ‘Can you call me?’ “

Hinsley, a U.S. Army Green Beret, happened to be deep in a firefight in a rebellious Afghan province facing an enemy force twice his unit’s size.

But, being the dutiful and considerate husband, he returned the text. And his response? “He said he was busy,” Jesse said with an ironic laugh.

Perhaps that best tells the story of Bob Hinsley, a Special Forces warrant officer and Pennfield High graduate who came to the military relatively late in life, but has flourished.

For Hinsley that fight in March 2013, which earned him a Silver Star for valor, was just part of the job.

“I’ve been in a lot of fights,” said the 36-year-old Hinsley, who was preparing for yet another tour to the region last week. “When you’re a young guy, the world’s moving at a hundred miles an hour. But I’ve been in a few, so it’s not overwhelming. I don’t have time to think about myself; I think about the guys to my right and left.”

This is not the way math teachers generally talk and after his graduation from Aquinas College in Grand Rapids, that was the original plan.

Unlike many who join because of a lifelong love of the military or to follow in a parent’s footsteps, Hinsley had no interest in joining the armed forces coming out of high school.

“Absolutely not,” he said. “I never saw myself as a military person. I didn’t like being told what to do. I didn’t take orders.”

Hinsley was going to marry Jesse, a Battle Creek Central grad, whom he met when they both worked at the old Felpausch grocery store in Pennfield when they were 17. They would both be teachers and they would live their lives of quiet conformity.

Until the Twin Towers collapsed on Sept. 11, 2001.

A sense of duty, coupled with a difficult economy, had Hinsley rethinking his future.

“He said he wanted make something more of his life,” Jesse said. “And when he puts a goal out there, he goes all the way.”

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