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Gate guard greets soldiers hooah-style
Faces and Places
FACES AND PLACES bob finnell
Fort Stewart Gate guard Bob Finnell is happy to greet soldiers with his signature greeting, “hooah, rock of the Marne.” - photo by Photo by Frenchi Jones

Name: Bob Finnell

Age: 54

Where are you from?  I am from all over the world. My parents worked for the State Department and I was born in Teran, Iran, lived all over the Middle East, Africa, Europe and America.

Are you married? Yes. My wife’s name is Monica and we have been happily, for 30 years.

How many children do you have? I have five children, one has passed. Their names are Steven, Sarah, Scott, Samantha, Sean. I also have five grandchildren.

Why did you decide to stay in Hinesville? At the time it was a small town and my wife liked it. I liked it and I still had three kids in school. It was basically a family decision.

What is your occupation? I am a security guard for Wackenhut Service Inc., working at the gates of Fort Stewart.

How long have you been a security guard at Fort Stewart? Five and a half years.

What did you do before you retired and went to work for Wackenhut? I was a combat engineer in the Army.

How long were you in the Army?
20 years.

What year did you retire? 1996 and I retired from Fort Stewart.

After you retired, what made you decide to go back and work for a military contractor?
I wanted to be around soldiers. Soldiers are the backbone of America and they always have something to say, whether positive or negative, and so do their spouses and I like to listen.

What do you enjoy most about your job? Meeting people and making people happy.

How important is it for you to be an active veteran? Being a veteran continues. Even after you are out of the Army, being a veteran you are still around the military. It is something you can never lose. It is brotherhood.

At the gate, you are known for your signature greeting where you shout, “hooah, rock of the Marne.” How did you come up with that? I said those words throughout my military career and I did it at the gates a few times and it made the soldiers and their families smile, no matter how angry or tired they were.

What would you compare your work to?
I am like a bartender, people like to tell you their stories and I always give advice.

What is something that most people don’t know about you? I am still in school, even though I am 54. I am getting a master’s degree in management and in the near future I plan to go to law school. I can’t be dumber than my kids.

What do you do in your spare time?
Study, read and work on my computers and play with my grandkids. I am like a lot of the retirees in Hinesville. I am raising two of my grandkids.

When you complete all of your schooling, what do you plan to do with your law degree? I like working the gate so I will keep working the gate and keep going to school. I just like going to school. I will go get a degree in something else. I am what you call a full-time student.

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