In Memory Of,

Born -August 10, 1929
MIA- Dec 2, 1950

     Thomas Raye Robertson, a native of the Blackford community in Webster County, left the United States for deployment in Japan in August of 1950, but soon found himself in the midst of a bitter fight to repel Communist North Korean aggressors from South Korea.  Robertson would never return from the barren, rocky landscape of Korea.  Born on Aug. 10, 1929 to Henderson and Cora Robertson the youngest of seven children, Robertson enlisted in the Army on Jan. 12, 1949 after spending almost a year searching for a job following his graduation from Wheatcroft High School in 1948.

     After a short stay at Camp Breckinridge - then home to the 101st Airborne Division - Pvt. Robertson was reassigned to Ft. Lewis, Wash., where he was separated on Jan. 18, 1950.  Robertson returned home to Webster County, hoping to find a job, but found the same bleak outlook he faced after graduating from high school. To make matters worse, there was talk of an impending war in east Asia, and facing almost certain military draft, he re-enlisted for three more years in July of 1950. 

     The Korean War officially had begun with the Communist invasion on June 25, 1950. Robertson joined three brothers and one sister in service to the United States at the time.  On Sept. 9, 1950, Robertson joined hundreds of other under-equipped and poorly trained American soldiers being sent to Pusan, South Korea to face a powerfully equipped and well-trained North Korean Army.  Many North Koreans had fought for Russia and China just a few years earlier during World War II. 

     As a member of the U.S. Army's 32nd Infantry Regiment, 7th Infantry Division, Robertson joined United Nations forces in pushing the Communist invaders northward out of Seoul, the South Korean capital.  After facing fierce resistance in reaching its goals, the 32nd regrouped 350 miles south in Pusan and headed out for an amphibious landing at Iwon, which eventually reached the Yalu River along the Chinese border on Nov. 21, 1950.  One week later, Communist Chinese forces struck these same UN forces in a massive attack along the entire Korean front.  In the melee, the 32nd was cut off from the main force, where it faced a long and bloody battle in freezing temperatures to work its way back southward toward retreating UN forces.  Assembling at Yongchon, the 32nd was again able to advance northward in heavy resistance, however, Pvt. Robertson was declared missing in action on Dec. 2, 1950. 

     By following the movement of his military unit, perhaps the final footsteps of Pvt. Robertson can be traced.  His family was notified on Jan. 12, 1951 of his status by telegraph at the Blackford Railroad Depot.  Condolences would not follow until three years later, in a Jan. 4, 1954 letter from Secretary of War Robert T. Stevens.  The letter from Washington, D.C., notified loved ones that PFC Thomas R. Robertson had been awarded the Purple Heart by President Dwight D. Eisenhower for the supreme sacrifice he had made to his country. "We profoundly appreciate the great degree of your loss, for in a very real sense, the loss suffered by any of us in this present conflict is a loss shared by all," the letter read. 

     As our nation prepares to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Korea War, which ended on July 27, 1953 with the loss of 54,246 American lives, sacrifices by individuals such as Robertson should be honored.  PFC Robertson, an MIA, is officially listed as having died to hostilities while missing. 

     Robertson's deceased brother, Forest, owned a farm and lived in Crittenden County near Deanwood.  His sister Virginia, also deceased, lived in Sturgis.  Another brother, Denver, is a resident at Crittenden County Convalescent Center.  Brother Robert currently lives in Sturgis, while Blackford remains the home of sister Irene Clark.  Another sister, Daisy (Bobbie) Mc Hone, lives in South Carolina.

"It is the soldier, not the reporter, Who has given us freedom of the press.

It is the soldier, not the poet,
Who has given us freedom of speech.

It is the soldier, not the campus organizer, Who has given us freedom to demonstrate.

It is the soldier, Who salutes the flag, Who serves beneath the flag, And whose coffin is draped by the flag, Who allows the protestor to burn the flag."

Father Dennis Edward O'Brien USMC

     Story is courtesy of Daryl Tabor and The Crittenden County Press

Note:  At the time that this story was written, two of Tommy Robertson's three brothers were still living.  As of January 11, 2004 they had both passed away. 

POW/MIA Totals For All Wars :

WWII - 78,000 Soldiers
Korea - 7,500 + Soldiers
Vietnam - 2,031 Soldiers
Persian Gulf - 12 Soldiers

 

This web site is dedicated to all of the brave men and women who have served and fought for America. You are the reason we have our freedoms and you have made this country as great as it is. You are not forgotten!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



Copyright 2006 Blackford Veteran's Memorial Bridge Project. All rights reserved.
Revised: 10/29/06.