Retired CIA agent settles down after life of adventure

by: MALLORY CARVER/News Editor

From the jungles of the Vietnam War, to the classrooms of South Plains College, former CIA agent Sanford Hunt has witnessed history firsthand.

Hunt has been teaching at South Plains College on and off for nearly eight years. He just recently became a full-time professor about three years ago.

But SPC is merely a retirement job for Hunt, an instructor in history.

The Marine Corps was the first to employ Hunt in the 1960s. He spent a year in Vietnam learning Vietnamese. After spending some time in the military, Hunt got a call asking him to come to Washington, D.C., where he was offered a possible position with the CIA. He accepted the offer. The CIA put him through multiple tests, and then he waited.

After about six months, Hunt got a call from the CIA, asking him if he was ready to come to work.

During the Vietnam War, Hunt’s previous experience with speaking Vietnamese caused him to be stationed in Vietnam once again—this time as a translator. He stayed in Vietnam from 1963 until 1975, when the war ended.

Hunt had already received his Bachelor of Arts degree in journalism from the University of Maryland. Upon returning from Vietnam, Hunt went back to school to acquire his master’s degree in history at Texas Tech University. Hunt says his experience in the CIA gave him the opportunity to have a close-up view of history, and that as he got older, he began to find history even more interesting than he had before.

Teacher Feature
Sanford Hunt in his office at SPC on Sept. 16. MALLORY CARVER/PLAINSMAN PRESS

Hunt says that his experience in Vietnam assisted him in, “not only getting a job, but also a family.”

Hunt met his wife, Oanh, in Vietnam. On a wall in his campus office is a large family picture with the smiling faces of Hunt and Oanh, their four, grown-up children, their husbands and wives, and a bunch of happy grandchildren.

Hunt’s incredible life story continues as he affects the lives of his children and grandchildren, along with the students he teaches at SPC. He loves teaching, he said.

“This place is a really nice environment,” Hunt says, “one of the nicest schools that I’ve been in. There’s a really nice pattern of students at SPC. We have a lot of foreign students out here, probably a lot more than most junior colleges. I think it’s really nice.”

Hunt says that SPC is a really important bridge for a lot of students. It’s good for all students, whether they’re going from high school to a bigger institution, or previously missed out on the opportunity of a college education. Even students who are training for a career, such as nursing or welding, find a place at SPC.

“…It not only prepares them for some kind of career, but it opens up the possibility of going on to a higher education as well,” says Hunt. “ I’ve really enjoyed working with the other teachers here, and the students are fun.”

Many students will undoubtedly benefit from the variety of experiences that Hunt has to share.

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