Robert James Cordova
Fireman Apprentice
United States Navy
Boystown, Nebraska
August 21, 1947 to January 27, 1968
ROBERT J CORDOVA is on the Wall at Panel 35E, Line 45

Robert J Cordova
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15 Oct 2001

The Memorial

I just thought that Robert J Cordova FA USN should have a memorial to honor him for the sacrifice he made for all of us. I have worn his bracelet for 28 years, and will continue to do so. I shower with it, sleep with it and never take it off. I do not know if he had a family as he was from Boystown, NE which is about 30 miles from my home. At the time he graduated in 1965 it was a tough place to come from. He however, served his country and deserves a place of honor in the form of a memorial. Even though I never knew him, he is always in my thoughts and prayers, and the bracelet is a daily reminder of his sacrifice.

A memorial initiated by one who wore his MIA bracelet.
Fremont, Ne
E-mail address is not available.

07 May 2002

Dear High School Classmate Robert Cordova,

It has been suggested that since you graduated from Boys Town that you may not have had any family.

To the contrary, nobody has a larger family. We of Boys Town who served, salute you.

Your Brother,
Mike Smith - Boys Town Class of 1967
215 Cutty Sark Lane, Nags Head, North Carolina 27959

02 Dec 2003

I remember Bobby, he worked for me in the #4 Boiler Room in B Division of the Engineering Department. He was a very nice guy. I still think of all the hours we looked for him and never found anything that could tell us what happened to him. I do remember he was very sad around that time. He is still in my prayers every day. May he always rest in peace.

From a friend,
Don Egan BT 2/C
USS VALLEY FORGE (LPH-8) 1965-1969

29 Jul 2004

I was the coxswain on duty when Robert was lost. We went into the water at the call. The sea was very rough that night; we were taking 10 to 15 foot swells. We could not move fast in the water as it was breaking over the bow of the small boat we were in. A Marine had gone over the side to help Robert as he saw him go by. We saw the helicopter pick up the Marine and thought that he was the only one in the water. We started picking up life jackets and the floating light that is thrown over on every "man overboard" call. Then we got word via radio there was another person in the water.

We set up a search pattern starting from the place he was known to have gone overboard. The ship turned on its spotlight to help us in the search. We were also getting flares above us from the Marines on the beach. We searched most of the night in the small boat. Everyone was soaking wet with salt water and very cold. They finally recalled us to the ship. During our search the only thing we found was his leather glove. It had his name on the inside of the cuff. Those of us on the boat crew were ready to stay as long as we needed to, but we were called off. As we pulled along side the ship the water was picking us up then dropping us. When we got under the hook we were lifted very quickly up 10 feet or so by the sea. The hook came down and hit one of the crew members in the head. He got a big gash but was back on duty the next day.

Robert is often in my thoughts as I ponder the days of my youth. During my four years in the Navy I was able to return 12 men back to duty who had gone overboard or went down in helicopters. We only lost one other person beside Robert and that was a Marine in a helicopter that went down a couple miles from the ship. We saved all on board except one. I often wonder about the ones we were able to save and how their lives turned out. One thing is certain - Robert won't be forgotten by me or the crew that searched for him that night.


Notes from The Virtual Wall

Robert Cordova came to Boys Town from Grand Junction, Colorado, on 31 March 1960. He graduated from Boys Town High School and left Boys Town on 30 May 1965.

According to an article in the Boys Town Times dated March 8, 1968,

"Msgr. Nicholas H. Wagner has received word that Robert Cordova, a 1965 graduate of the Boys Town High School, was reported missing overboard while serving on the aircraft carrier USS Valley Forge, and is presumed dead.

"No details of the accident have been received.

"In addition to his academic studies, he learned the ceramics trade, and was active in Scouting."

News articles dating from 1972 indicate that "13 Boys Town Alumni have given their lives for their country in the Vietnam Conflict."

From the
POW Network

USS VALLEY FORGE, an ESSEX-class attack carrier, was commissioned as CV-45 in 1945. A veteran of the Korean War, she was converted into an amphibious assault ship and redesignated as LPH-8 in the early 1960's.

At the time of Fireman Apprentice Cordova's loss, USS VALLEY FORGE was on station off Dong Hoi, SVN, where she provided necessary resupply and MedEvac support for Allied troops operating against communist forces. Operation "Badger Catch" commenced on 23 January 1968 and extended through 18 February, with VALLEY FORGE operating off the Cua Viet River, south of the DMZ.

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