Colonel Kent McCord Monroe
Kent was born in Erwin, Tennessee on Thanksgiving Day, 28 Nov. 1935. His parents were Mary Huntzinger Monroe and Dr. Harmon L. Monroe. He attended Elm Street Elementary School (except for third and fourth grades during WWII) and Unicoi County High School. He was active in various academic clubs and organizations as well as athletic programs.
Following high school graduation in 1953, Kent was awarded a football scholarship by Clemson University. While at Clemson, Kent majored in electrical engineering and was a member of the Air Force ROTC. He graduated in June 1957, cum laude, receiving a Bachelor of Science degree in Electrical Engineering. While awaiting an assignment for pilot’s training, Kent was employed by Boeing Airplane Company in Wichita, Kansas as a Flight Test Instrumentation Engineer. He received orders to report for active duty in June 1958.
Some of Kent’s assignments while a Member of the United States Air Force included piloting the B-47, B-52, C-7, C-131, and T-33 aircraft, jet engine and rocket motor testing at the Arnold Engineering Development Center, Air Staff duties at the Pentagon, Deputy Director of Logistics for the B-1B and the Oklahoma Air Logistics Center Director of Maintenance. He served a combat tour in South Vietnam during 1968 – 1969 after receiving a Master of Science degree in Astronautical Engineering from the Air Force Institute of Technology. Colonel Monroe retired in July 1984 after more than 26 years of service to his country. His awards included two Legion of Merits, the Distinguished Flying Cross, two Meritorious Service Medals, four Air Medals and numerous others such as the Small Arms Expert Marksmanship Ribbon.
In August 1984, Kent was employed by the Lockheed Space Operations Company (LSOC) as a manager in their Space Shuttle logistics organization. During the almost nine years at the Kennedy Space Center, Kent was involved in many activities required to keep our Nation in space. His positions while associated with the Space Shuttle program included Director of departments performing logistics engineering, purchasing, subcontracting, technical training, warehousing, supply and transportation. In May 1993, Kent departed to pursue the life of a retiree.
As a true retiree, Kent was involved in wild life rehabilitation, motor cycling (Harleys), building and repairing personal computers, photography, boating as well as helping his wife, Gay, with gardening and a multitude of artistic endeavors. Time ran out before other dreams could come true.
Kent died in his home on October 20, 2005 in Gay's arms.
Kent is survived by his:
Wife, Carlene Gay Perry Monroe
Children: Kent Jr., Mary Monroe Bashor, Jeanne, and Michael
Grand children: Stephen, Stephan, Jonathan and Jackie Marie
Sisters: Helen Saver and Carol Tilson
Five great grand children
Kent was both a strong and gentle man who also raised orchids and rescued injured and orphaned wildlife for the state of Florida.