How Proudly We Serve
Robert Bennett, United States Army
As a veteran, I never served any time in combat. At 18-years of age, I enlisted into the US Army in 1975, just after Vietnam. I had a choice to either enlist in the Army or play football at the University of Nebraska, but as an American citizen, I felt it was my duty and honor to join the military just as my father,and his father, and those before him. My family has served this country since the Revolutionary War and the fight for independence from England.
I served in the Army from May 27, 1975 to April 12, 1982 and was stationed at three different locations. After enlisting, I went into basic training at Fort Polk, Louisiana where I became an infantryman. I went through basic training and advanced infantry there. After completing this endeavor, I went into the very first class for the Tow and Dragon anti-tank class in the Army. Upon completion of the class, I was then assigned to go to jump school at Fort Benning, Georgia. Once I completed that program, I was then assigned to The Big Red One: the First Infantry Division at Fort Riley, Kansas. While there, I became a member of the Mechanized Infantry Division where it did not take me long to learn the ins and outs of being in an Armored Unit. These vehicles were used in Vietnam where my old unit had served with honor and distinction throughout its history, dating back to World War I.
After about a year at this duty station in Kansas, my unit did a Brigade move to Wiesbaden, Germany, then to Baumholder where I worked my way to track commander, as well as team leader. It was at this time that we would patrol the Polish and Czechoslovakian border against our shadows, the Russian Army. It was during this time, while on patrol along these borders, that my unit would notice political prisoners in the middle of minefields with long poles trying to figure out where mines had been planted. If one of the prisoners were to find a mine and explode, the Russians’ attitude was, “Oh well,” and the prisoner was replaced with another. This was the only point, the only place where the Russian Army could cross into Western Europe and it was the job of my sector, as well as my unit, to protect it.
In 1979, I was then assigned to the Ninth Infantry Division at Fort Lewis, Washington where I went through many training sites, such as Panama for jungle warfare, Alaska and Fort Drum, New York for winter warfare training. With my unit, the 2nd Battalion, 2nd Infantry regiment, I got out of the Army.
During my time in the Army, I was able to travel extensively throughout Europe. I traveled to France, England, Ireland, Luxembourg, Switzerland, Italy, as well as Belgium, Sweden, the Netherlands, and Denmark. I was able to go through extensive training as the Green Beret Escape and Evasion school, along with French Commando School in Trier, Germany. It was also at this time that I was able to enjoy more than 30 concerts in Germany.
Robert Bennett was born in December of 1956 in the small town of Pirasens, Germany to a German mother and a Native-American father serving in the United States Army. Robert spoke only German until he moved with his family to the US. He moved around for years as a military brat, and after graduating from high school in Texas in 1975, he joined the Army.
Robert was stationed in Wiesbaden, Germany where he was able to see his mom and grandparents every weekend. During his time in Europe, he traveled to 14 countries. Upon his return to the US, he served three more years. While stationed in Fort Lewis, Washington in 1980, he witnessed Mount Saint Helens explode. Robert is the father of seven daughters and is working towards his degree in history at CFCC.