OKEECHOBEE — Veteran Michael Fisher was born in Okeechobee to Norris L. and Tommie L. Fisher. Fisher’s father was a WWII veteran and has since passed away. When Fisher was in 11th grade at Okeechobee High School, he realized it was time to make decisions on what he was going to do with his life. While still in 11th grade, he joined the Army on the delayed entry program. Two weeks after graduating in 1983, he was on his way to basic training at Fort Sill, Oklahoma.
He completed basic and AIT (advanced individual training) in field artillery there, and was then transferred to Fort Carson, Colorado. “I loved it there. It was a great place,” he said. From there, he went to Germany, what was called West Germany at the time. He was there when the wall came down. “I loved it there and spent six years there. The people were nice. They were very friendly.”
Germany was where he began losing his hearing, he said. This was from spending so much time around the cannons and gunfire. Most of his time was spent on the gun line. There were normally 11-13 soldiers, and they went out to shoot the cannon. “It was pretty straightforward in field artillery. You go out and shoot the cannon.” Typically, they shot an 8 in. Howitzer which shoots a round that would take out a grid square. “I think about 11 miles was the max range.” They spent most of their time training in the event of war. They were in the field 30-45 days, then back to base for a week or two and back in the field again.
The basic set up if you were going to war would be the Special Forces sneaking in followed by the infantry and then the armor or cavalry. Finally, there was the artillery. “We shoot way over their heads, and we reach out and touch them.”
After Germany, he was stationed at Fort Benning, Ga. He began noticing a problem with his hearing while attending service schools. He had trouble understanding what the instructors were saying. “They would ask a question, and I would repeat back what they said only it wasn’t what they said! I started to realize it was a problem.” He knew he would need to make a decision on what he was going to do with his life.
He had bought a home in Columbus, Ga., because the Army told him he would be there for a while. “I wasn’t there two weeks before I was shipped out to Korea.” That was when he decided he was done. While in Korea, he was in charge of the AHA (ammunition holding area). He spent a year in Korea and was supposed to go back to Georgia where his brand new home was. “It didn’t turn out that way though,” he said. “The closest I could get was Fort Bragg, N.C.”
At Fort Bragg, he was issued hearing aids, and was assigned to a combat hospital, similar to what you see on the show MASH. He was a laundry/shower specialist. This was where the soldiers washed their clothes and the linens from the hospital. They put up the showers to make sure there was a place to wash up. He was there for about nine months before he was discharged. Altogether, he served about 22 years.
After his discharge, he went to the reserves for a while and was trained as a cook. After a few years, he decided it was taking up too much of his time, and he left the service completely.
“About that time, the Lord called me to preach the gospel and that was that,” he said. He founded a church called Families United in Christ Baptist Church. He and his wife Deborah have been married for 22 years. Fisher had three children. Michael Jr. and his wife live in Kuwait, where she teaches school. They have two children, Michael III and Matthew. Fisher’s second child is Derek Michael. He and his wife have two children as well, a boy and a girl. They live in Columbus, Ga. Fisher’s daughter passed away a few years ago. She had two children, a boy and a girl, giving him a total of six grandchildren.