Guy Hunter Jr. grew up on a farm in Moultrie, Georgia. The son of a south Georgia farmer, Hunter enlisted in the United States Marine Corps after graduating from high school and following in the footsteps of family members who had served in World War II. He went through Marine Corps Basic Training at Parris Island, South Carolina in 1962, and the next year was assigned as a radioman in Vietnam for the 1st Marine Air Wing Pathfinder platoon.
Hunter spent four tours in Vietnam, performing multiple duties, culminating in his assignment as a Naval gunfire spotter. He gained valuable on-the-job training in aerial observer missions in the Thomas-Morse O-19 and the O-1 Birddog. Hunter became a full-time aerial observer, crisscrossing between coasts in the United States, and was eventually assigned to Marine Observation Squadron (VMO) 2, the unit with which he deployed to Iraq during the Gulf War.
In November 1990, Hunter’s Squadron, VMO-2, received the word to deploy to Saudi Arabia in support of Operation DESERT STORM. On the morning of 18 January 1991, Hunter’s OV-10 Bronco, piloted by Cliff Acree, was shot down by a surface-to-air missile in Kuwait. Injured from the ejection, Hunter and Acree were unable to evade and were captured by an Iraqi unit in the area. Both Hunter and Acree would spend 47 days in captivity, and at the age of 46, Hunter was the oldest prisoner of war (POW) during all of Operation DESERT STORM. Malnourished, tortured, and kept in isolation for the majority of his captivity, Hunter remained committed to returning home with honor to the country he swore to protect. On the night of 24 February 1991, Hunter’s cell was rattled by an explosion. An F-117 Nighthawk bombed the prison facility in Baghdad where Hunter and fellow POWs were being held. The bombing was so intense that it blew the transit windows out of the walls and buckled the prison doors. No POWs were injured in the bombing and they were relocated to another detention facility. During his captivity, his wife, Mary, never lost hope and on 5 March 1991, the two were reunited when Hunter and his fellow POWs were released.
Hunter would go on to serve three more years in the VMO squadrons until the OV-10 Bronco was retired in 1995. At the time, Hunter was the longest serving and most experienced aerial observer in the US Marine Corps. Chief Warrant Officer (CWO 5) Guy Hunter retired with thirty-two years of distinguished service in the US Marine Corps.