EMPORIA (KSNT) – An escort for officials overseas during the Vietnam War, the plans Bob Robison originally had didn’t stick around for long.
Through everything life threw at him, he was able to stay headstrong and adapt to the harshest of environments.
Originally from Kansas, Bob found himself in Chicago for railroad work. Unhappy with his position, he had an interesting reaction to receiving his draft notice.
“Strange to say, getting the draft notice, I saw that as my ticket out of Chicago,” Robison said. “That was good news in a way. I just didn’t look far enough down the road to see the second step.”
With orders sending him to Vietnam, Bob thought he would be using his skills from his time on the railroad in his day to day as a Draftsman. With the conditions in Vietnam, that changed almost immediately.
“I became an escort guard for officers or senior NCOs that were going somewhere,” Robison said. “I carried dispatches back and forth to the headquarters and I think carried the mail back and forth. Whenever the South Vietnamese guys were sent out to do something, an American was supposed to be with them, that usually was, they sent me.”
As an Escort Guard, the route Bob had to take was filled with obstacles and difficult challenges.
“On that road, they would sometimes put mines and stuff in the road trying to blow stuff up,” he said. “You never knew, there were some ambushes along there sometimes and stuff. Almost worse than that, later in the day, traffic congestion was so bad. I didn’t feel too alarmed if we’re zipping down the road, but if you get in a traffic jam, and we did about halfway between those two places, if you’re sitting still that’s not good. We had several times that that was kind of a bad situation where we were sitting still and there were things going on around us.”
Reflecting on what the act of service means, Bob believes we all contribute in our day to day, be it through the military or in our community.
“Everybody serves their country in one way or the other,” Robison said. “You don’t have to go to the military to be a good citizen, to serve your country, but it was one of the ways I was able to go and to serve.”
Nowadays, Bob is working on establishing a veteran memorial in Madison Kansas, where he’s been a minister for over 40 years.