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Robert Carlton "Bob" Wilson (April 5, 1916 – August 12, 1999), an Americanmarker Republican politician, was a member of the United States House of Representatives.


Wilson was born 1916 in Calexico, Californiamarker. He attended San Diego State College (now San Diego State Universitymarker) and Otis Art Institute (now Otis College of Art and Design). He served in World War II stateside in the Army commissary, 1940–1945. After the war, he was in the Marine Corps Reserve and was a partner in two advertising agencies.

Wilson first became involved in politics campaigning for Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1952. He was recruited to run in the newly-created 30th District, based in San Diego, Californiamarker. When Wilson phoned his wife, Jean Bryant Wilson, with the news he was selected by the Republicans to run, she laughed saying "You a Congressman?" He was elected amid Eisenhower's gigantic landslide that year.

Wilson was reelected 13 times, rarely facing serious opposition as San Diego was a Republican stronghold at the time. His campaigns featured fear-based anti-communism themes, stressing the importance of a strong military. He also opposed high taxes, championing rugged individualism instead. While in Congress he became a major spokesman for the defense industry and played a large role in the development of a military presence in San Diego. From 1959 until his retirement he was a member of the House Armed Services Committee. From 1968 to his retirement he served as chair of the National Republican Congressional Committee. He was well-known and popular in San Diego, and would blanket his district with pot holders and other gifts with his name on it during election time. Several households still have the 40-page Bob Wilson Barbecue Cook Book he sent out. While in office, he patented a "Smack-Its", a table-top tetherball game.

In 1980, Wilson decided not to run for a 15th term. He served as co-chairman of American Freedom Coalition with Congressman Richard Ichord. He died in 1999 in Chula Vista, Californiamarker and is buried at Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery in San Diego.

Bob Wilson Drive at the San Diego Naval Medical Center in Balboa Parkmarker is named for Wilson. He once said "the hospital is the most important thing in my entire career in Congress as far as I'm concerned."

On May 8, 2008, Naval Medical Center San Diegomarker was rededicated as Bob Wilson Naval Hospital. Bob Wilson Naval Hospital serves a population of 250,000 active-duty personnel along those retired from military service. The facility treats 4,000 patients, performs 50 surgical procedures and delivers 10 babies daily with a staff of 6,200, according to Adm. Christine Hunter, the hospital's commander.


  • "[President Harry Truman's] morally bankrupt administration was riddled from within by graft and grand larceny. The Trumanites had had their day.... It was time to turn the rascals out, to make a clean sweep and reinstate Christian principles of morality on a national level." – quoted from Confessions of a Kinetic Congressman

See also

  • Confessions of a Kinetic Congressman by Bob Wilson (1996). Ghostwritten.
  • "Congressman Bob Wilson's Contribution to the Navy and San Diego, 1952–1962", San Diego State University Thesis, 1990 by Alec C. Schiller.
  • Bob Wilson Collection, Booth Historical Photograph Archives, San Diego Historical Society

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