Bob Clemens – A true American patriot

The Veterans Memorial Park of Jackson County (VMPJC) is a place of remembrance and honor for the brave members of the Armed Services who have sacrificed their lives for our nation.
The Park also serves as a platform to educate and inform the community about the heroic actions of those who have served with distinction. Recently, VMPJC sat down with retired U.S. Air Force Lieutenant Colonel Bob Clemens, a living legend and a native of Scottsboro.Clemens, also known as “Big Foot,” was a star football player for Jackson County and one of the first honorees of the Jackson County Sports Hall of Fame. Standing tall at six feet and weighing 200 pounds, he was a fullback and an Academic ALL SEC Choice in 1954 while playing for the University of Georgia. Bob was also enrolled in the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) while in Georgia. After graduation, Clemens was drafted in the seventh round of the 1955 NFL by the Green Bay Packers and played with the team for a season.

He entered Active Duty in 1956 and went on to serve honorably for 20 years before retiring in 1976.

During his time in the military, Clemens served as a pilot in the Vietnam War. He flew the Boeing KC-135 Stratotanker, a military aerial refueling aircraft. On May 16, 1969, Major Clemens received the Distinguished Flying Cross for extraordinary bravery in the Vietnam War. This prestigious award is one of the highest decorations one can receive, second only to the Congressional Medal of Honor.

Clemens is now 90 years old and recalled the day vividly as he shared his experience with the VMPJC team. He was on a mission to find and refuel an F-4 fighter which was dangerously low on fuel and out of radar range. With his exceptional piloting skills, Clemens located the F-4 and quickly maneuvered his KC3-135 tanker into position to refuel the fighter in midair at an altitude of 24,000 feet. Thanks to his quick thinking and bravery, the lone pilot, systems operator and aircraft were saved.

LT. Col Bob Clemens continues to be an inspiration to many, not just for his heroic actions in the Vietnam War, but also for his dedication and service to his country. Upon retirement from the U.S. Air Force, Clemens returned home to Scottsboro where he established successful national and globally recognized companies. Clemens is a shining example of what it means to be a true patriot.

Gayla Sue asked Bob if there was anything he would like the community to know. Clemens replied, “Scottsboro has always been very welcoming to me and my family, and we have enjoyed being part of the progress in Jackson County.” Bob and Anette Clemens have a large family and still live on “Big Foot Road.”

The Veterans Memorial Park of Jackson County is proud to have U.S. Air Force (Retired) LT. Col Bob Clemens as a part of their community and to honor and educate others about the sacrifices made by our military personnel. The park is a place of reflection, remembrance and gratitude for the brave men and women who have served and continue to serve our nation.

As we observe and commemorate this National Vietnam Veterans Day on March 29th, the public is invited to gather at Veterans Memorial Park of Jackson County at 6:00 p.m. for a sunset ceremony to remember and honor those who served in the Vietnam War. Let us also take a moment to appreciate and show our gratitude to service members and veterans like Clemens who continue to inspire us with their bravery and dedication. Above all, let us gather in remembrance of those who gave the ultimate sacrifice to our Country in the Vietnam War. Veterans Memorial Park of Jackson County forever stands as a reminder of their sacrifices and a symbol of our nations unwavering support for our United States Armed Forces. Learn more at

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