Robert D. Epperson received his commission as 2nd Lt in the Air Force in 1968. After completing graduate work at Washington State University, he entered active duty in 1972 as a 1st Lt conducting research on napalm and other flame weapons at Eglin AFB, FL. Capt Epperson separated from the Air Force in 1974 at the end of the Vietnam War. He was recalled to active duty with Air Force Space Division, Los Angeles AFS in 1979 to work on the Space Shuttle program developing treatment systems for Space Launch Complex (SLC) 6 at Vandenburg. During this time Bob served as Chairman of the Environmental Protection Subcommittee of the Joint Army, Navy, NASA, and Air Force (JANNAF) Committee on Rocket Propulsion. Bob left the Air Force a second time in 1982, to assume operation of his father-in-law’s vineyard operation when the latter developed Alzheimer’s disease. Since then Bob has retired as an Environmental Planner with the California Dept of Transportation (Caltrans), and is currently working as a Resource Manager for the US Bureau of Reclamation.
Bob farms 190 acres of grapes for raisins, which are marketed through Sun Maid Growers, a marketing cooperative. Bob chairs the Finance and Ethics Committees for the Sun Maid Board of Directors of which he has been a member since 1987. He is also Chairman of the Audit Committee and Treasurer of the Raisin Administrative Committee, overseeing the finances of the Federal Marketing Order for raisins, which regulates raisins grown in the United States. In his hometown of Kerman, CA, Bob serves as chairman of the local Planning Commission.
In his spare time, Bob’s passion for history keeps him delving into family history particularly as it relates to the Civil War, the Revolutionary War, and recently the English civil wars of the 1600s. It was in the course of his family history research that Bob came across Lt Stanford Arnold. Lt Arnold was the great-grandson of Capt Thomas Quincy Stanford, a brother to Bob’s great-great-grandfather. Capt Stanford and two of his brothers William Stanford, MD, and Monroe Stanford served together in the 39th Alabama Infantry during the Civil War.
Another of these brothers, Samuel Stanford, served as Capt, Co C, 51st North Carolina Infantry. In addition another seven first cousins served in regiments from Mississippi and North Carolina including two who participated in Pickett’s Charge at Gettysburg. Seven of the eleven cousins were killed or wounded during the war.
The grandfather of these Civil War veterans, Rev Samuel Stanford (great-great-great-grandfather of Lt Stanford Arnold), served in Gen Thomas Sumter’s South Carolina State Troops under William Polk, uncle of President James K Polk, in a regiment of North Carolinians. Rev Stanford, then private Stanford, was wounded in the battle of Eutaw Springs in Sep 1781, the last major action in the southern colonies prior to Yorktown, which ended the Revolutionary War.