About Op HH Chairman


Captain Robert Silah (retired, left) with Wounded Veteran & Op HH Member Robert Sawallesh

Captain Robert (Bob) J. Silah, U.S. Navy (Ret), is no stranger when it comes to serving our military families and the community in which he lives. Currently, he serves as Chairman of Operation Helping Hand (Op HH)–a special initiative of the Tampa Chapter of Military Officers Association of America (MOAA)–dedicated to providing support for U.S. military active duty personnel wounded/injured abroad and being cared for at the James A. Haley VA Hospital in Tampa, and their visiting families. Since its inception, Op HH has assisted more than 900 wounded/injured patients and a countless number of family members.

Born in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin, Bob attended high school and graduated from St. Mary Springs Academy before going to Marquette University in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, where he received a B.S. Degree in Industrial Management. Shortly after graduation, he joined the United States Navy, and thus began a career lasting 27 years that included: 15 years of service on U.S. Navy ships; 2 tours in Vietnam; 2 tours in the Pentagon; and his last assignment at Central Command in Tampa. During this time, Bob earned his MBA from the Naval War College.

Since serving as Chairman of Op HH, Bob has been the recipient of the following awards/recognitions:

• “Newman’s Own” – Selected first out of 177 in national competition;
• The Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce – Special Humanitarian Award;
• The United Way – Volunteer of the Year Award;
• The Mayor’s Alliance – Community Service Award;
• Governor’s Point of Light Award;
• President’s Call to Service Award (from President George W. Bush);
• Tampa Bay Lightning “Community Hero” Award;
• Admiral Collins Leadership Award (first recipient);
• ASAE National Award;
• Florida Veterans’ Hall of Fame selection (1 of 6 out of 155 applicants)
• The Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce – Bob Cutler Volunteer Award

Bob also founded and is President of SKY Sportswear, Inc. In 2012, he was elected to the MOAA National Board of Directors, which oversees the 400,000 national MOAA members.

Bob is married to wife Kathryn (Kathy) and they have two sons, Mike and Jason.