For the grandson of a World War I veteran and the son of a World War II fighter pilot, the military has always been a familiar part of retired Lieutenant General Keith Huber’s life. Growing up in Springfield, Ohio, Huber didn’t expect to spend nearly 40 years serving in the United States Army.
“I was accustomed to the concept of it being normal [to serve] and appropriate to perform your duty in the cloth of the Armed Forces of the United States of America,” he said. “But I am the only career military out of my family."
With acceptance letters and scholarship offers from Cornell University and the University of Maine, Huber ultimately entered West Point on July 1, 1971.
“I’d like to think I carried the values of my parents and strength and character into the military and West Point. At West Point, I learned the invaluable lesson that you can only be successful as a confident team member; you never view a success as your own personal accomplishment,” he said.
Huber earned his bachelor’s degree from West Point and a master’s from Golden Gate University in San Francisco. He served his country for 38 years, completing tours in Panama, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Haiti, Honduras, Kosovo and Afghanistan. “The military instilled in me the willingness to serve others, to give my life for others and to be focused on protecting our values as a nation,” he said. “My fondest memory is coming off missions that seemed impossible, that were difficult, that defended our democracy and being surrounded by men and women I know would give their life for me. I’ve served with hundreds of thousands of people, and they’ve humbled me. Every day I think about those who have served and died.”
Retiring 10 years ago and transitioning to life after the military, General Huber wondered for the first time what he would do. With a passion for helping others, he worked with Middle Tennessee State University to found the Charlie and Hazel Daniels Veterans and Military Family Center, which is the largest and most comprehensive veterans center at a public or private university in Tennessee. “It was essential to me that whatever we did to assist transitioning veterans that it included the families,” Huber said.
Serving veterans all around the world, the center has assisted people from Germany, Japan, Afghanistan, Iraq, Kuwait and Croatia. “We serve veterans and their family members worldwide every day without any requirement. You don’t have to be faculty, staff or a student. You don’t have to buy anything; you don’t have to enroll in a course. If you need help, we’ll help you.”
The Charlie and Hazel Daniels Veterans and Military Family Center, renamed after the country music legend in 2016, the same year Charlie was inducted into the County Music Hall of Fame, has served thousands veterans and their loved ones since it opened in 2015.
RECAP OF CAREER:
Served 38 years on active duty in the U.S. Army as an Infantryman and a Green Beret
Served 14 of those 38 years at the rank of a General officer, retiring as a Lieutenant General (3-star)
Earned Combat Infantryman, Special Operations Diver, Master Parachutist, Air Assault and Joint Chiefs of Staff badges
Special Forces and Ranger qualified
Senior Advisor for Veterans and Leadership Initiatives and Distinguished Visiting Professor at MTSU
Husband to Shelly, father to Jason and Alexis and grandfather to Dylan, Austin and Reed
“I think to serve others, you’ve got to be willing to be aggressive, compelling and convincing. And I’m honored to do that for veterans.”