“And so, my fellow Americans, ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.” This was the part of President John F. Kennedy's inauguration speech that inspired 19 year-old Nelton Robinson to enlist in the United States Army back in 1961.
He was sent out to Ft. Ord, California for basic training. There, his ability as a marksman with all military weapons, especially the rifle was recognized and he was recommend for advanced infantry training (AIT) class in Ft. Benning, Georgia.
Again at Ft. Benning, Robinson’s skills as a marksman earned him several citations, awards and his infantryman’s badge.
After graduation from AIT, Robinson was deployed to Stuttgart, Germany. Here, his main mission was with base security guarding the weapons supply depot.
From Germany, Robinson was sent back to the states and assigned to 51st Infantry at Ft. Bliss, Texas.
This time he and his squad’s duty assignment was for security of the various missiles in the arsenal that were being tested at the nearby White Sands Proving Grounds.
By now, world politics had shifted its views and halting the spread of communism in Southeast Asia was the primary focus.
Robinson received orders to deploy and join the 101st Infantry in Phantom Thiet, Vietnam.
It was while on a combat mission in the jungles near Phan Thiet that Robinson was injured. He was evacuated to a nearby medic station and, after being stabilized, transported to an Army Field Hospital where his wounds were treated and placed in plaster cast.
When Robinson recovered, he was no longer able to effectively execute the duties he had been trained to do. Instead, Robinson was transferred to the 2/508th Medical Co.
Following his second tour in Vietnam, Robinson was transferred to Ft. Eustus, Virginia where he finished out his enlistment.
Before his military service ended, Robinson had serviced his country on four continents and crossed both the Atlantic and Pacific oceans several times.
Robinson was once again a civilian and decided to make Deridder his home base of operation.
Even though many men his age choose to stay home, Robinson still works a courier for a local bank.
He and his wife, Mable, are both members of Broadland Bible Church where he serves as deacon.
Robinson enjoys playing guitar and often sings special at his church.
He also enjoys making “coffee call” with other veterans and friends at the local Dairy Queen.
Robinson is a Member of American Legion Post 27.
If you see Robinson, or any veteran, he would surely appreciate a handshake and acknowledgement of the sacrifice and the commitment veterans have made in the lofty endeavor of securing American liberty.
They are solely responsible for having protected our fortunate state of being free within society from oppressive restrictions imposed by authority on one's way of life, behavior or political views. And that is priceless act of service.