The position of compact commissioner for the Interstate Compact on Educational Opportunity for Military Children might not flash across every Floridian's radar screen, but perhaps the man Gov. Rick Scott appointed for the job on Monday should.
Robert Buehn, 60, of Fleming Island, comes directly from the city of Jacksonville as its primary military liaison -- chief of military affairs.
Former Jacksonville Mayor John Peyton has said of Buehn, "His credentials and his competence should light up anybody's night sky."
As a career military officer, Buehn has served as commanding officer of the U.S. Naval Base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba; commanding officer of the Fleet Area Control and Surveillance Facility at Jacksonville Naval Air Station; chief of staff of the Cruiser-Destroyer Group 12 at Mayport Naval Station; and commanding officer, VS-32, at NAS Cecil Field. He has served tours at all Jacksonville Navy bases totaling 15 years (Jacksonville Naval Air Station, Mayport Naval Station and Cecil Field).
He succeeds Spessard Boatright as commissioner and is appointed for a term beginning Oct. 10, 2011, and ending at the pleasure of the governor.
"We feel so fortunate to have Captain Buehn and believe he will do a great job in this role," said Lane Wright, Scott's press secretary.
"It's difficult to describe how valuable a job this is. Captain Buehn, with children of his own, has experience with this. He understands that military reassignments can often be a boon for career personnel, they often wreak havoc on the children of military families," Wright continued. "This is where his experience is so valuable."
The state claims that, while the armed services have taken great leaps to ease the transition of personnel, their spouses and children, much remains to be done at the state and local levels to ensure that the children of military families get the same opportunities for educational success as other children. They should not be penalized or delayed in achieving their educational goals by inflexible administrative and bureaucratic practices -- and this is what the Interstate Compact is all about.
Buehn earned a bachelor's degree in journalism from the University of Florida and a master's degree in National Security and Strategic Studies from the U.S. Naval War College.
He actually began his career as a journalist at The Stuart News, on Florida's Treasure Coast in Stuart. Thomas E. Weber Jr., retired editor and president of Scripps Treasure Coast Newspapers and one of Buehn's first employers, told Sunshine State News Monday, "Bob is a very capable, solid man who has done exceptionally well in everything he has undertaken. He is a great choice for this important post."
Reach Nancy Smith at firstname.lastname@example.org or at (850) 727-0859.