NSU professor is helping build an Afghanistan military academy

Wednesday, August 24th 2005, 10:19 am
By: News On 6

An Oklahomans' key role in Afghanistan. A soldier from Tahlequah is back home after having a lasting impact overseas.

News on 6 anchor Terry Hood says it is back to school at NSU in Tahlequah and that's where you'll find Dr Jim Wilhite.

He's lecturing future elementary school teachers. But "Doctor" Wilhite is also "Colonel" Wilhite and was recently called up for active duty in Afghanistan. So he put teaching teachers on hold and left to train troops as he built a military academy for Afghan soldiers from scratch.

Wilhite had to select the site, hire the faculty and recruit the students - with what he says was one of the biggest targets in Afghanistan on his back. And doing it all with a budget that was slashed from $65-million to nothing. "I'm a school teacher. I'm used to my budget being cut. In fact, I said 'General, I'm a bottom feeder. My budget has been cut; I'm a school teacher.' I've never had it cut quite that much. But I said, 'You want a school, I'll get 'er done.'"

Faculty and students at NSU hung a flag over Doctor Wilhite's door until he returned safely from Afghanistan.