Bobby, born in Philadelphia, the eldest of two sons and two daughters. He grew up in Oreland and Churchville, Pennsylvania. He was a 1965 graduate from Council Rock High School in Newtown, Pennsylvania. After working for the Bell Telephone Company, he enlisted in the Army. Following graduation from helicopter flight school, he was sent to Germany for a year and then to Vietnam, where he served with the 237th and 571st Medical Detachments (DUSTOFF). For his service in Vietnam, he was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross, Air Medal with sixteen oak leaf clusters, and the Bronze Star.
The database page for Robert O Hill
This poem is for my brother, and for all who have lost their brother to the war in Vietnam.
I was just 14 when he was killed in action on September 27, 1970, too young to have a LOT of memories . . . but I am blessed with the ones I have.
My brother Bruce, and sister Cindy, and I miss him terribly!!!
We are also thankful for the In Touch Program and learning that we are not alone in wanting our brother to be remembered!
Thanks so much and God Bless!
In Search Of . . .
My heart is full of questions and fears
as I open one more web page.
The love I've found, the commeraderie
among these men..will it help to calm my rage?
I know I loved my brother
who I'll never see again.
I just wish I had some real memories
to help to ease this pain.
It is sad to see the agony
my brother and sister live within.
The pain is there most every day
as are the dreams we've been given.
I wish I could start this life of mine
over again so HE could be here with us,
to celebrate our happiness,
and morn with us our losses.
So he could see our children grow;
the changes they've gone through.
So we could see what kind of Dad he'd been
if he'd only had the chance to.
Why did we fight this fight we did
to give folks democracy?
Better yet, why did we leave
when the country wasn't free?
Viet Nam has taken its toll
in the lives of all these soldiers.
But its taken its toll on the families too,
as we keep on growing older.
Where do I start? He always wanted to fly and he was proud of the job he was doing flying medical evacuation in the Phu Bai/Quang Tri area of I Corps.
Though only thirteen months apart, he is, was, and always will be, my "big brother". We served in Vietnam at the same time and were fortunate to get together several times. Those meetings are my most treasured memories. Each time we parted, he'd tell me "Be careful and keep your head down." He died two months after I got home. Even after 28 years, his death continues to haunt me and my two sisters. Laura Palmer, in the introduction to her book, Shrapnel in the Heart, states
"Time occasionally makes loss more bearable. But for siblings, their own passage through life is a jarring reminder of just how much their brother missed."
This, perhaps, says it all for me. Many of our brothers never had the pleasure of going to college, marrying, buying a house, raising children, becoming grandparents. I truly miss what could have been: large family reunions, joint family vacations, picnics, holiday dinners together and all the other things that brothers do. We siblings are the survivors, but it's a long and often lonely road we travel.
In many respects, time literally stopped with the notification of Bobby's death. Amid the pain and sadness, I will always have our wonderful childhood memories: the endless hours of ping pong and tennis, fun times camping and fishing, walks to the bus stop together, new bikes for Christmas, our favorite oldies from the early 60's, dating the Griffith sisters, and him teaching me to drive his '61 Chevy. If I could have him back, it would always be his turn to run the train set, and my turn to mow the lawn.
Bobby, I can't begin to tell you how much we all miss you. Every year Council Rock H.S. has a memorial service on Veterans' Day for all of our classmates who were killed in action. Cindy gave a wonderful presentation at the 1995 ceremony and she was terrific. You would have been so proud of her. At one point, she said, "My brother, Bob, is one of the boys on this wall, and I say 'boys' because that's what they were - probably not much older than most of the students here today." This is the most tragic aspect of the war. Our brothers were so young, too young. She mentioned us serving in Vietnam and said, "I know it's been very difficult on Bruce, knowing he made it home and Bobby didn't." Yes, my brother, very difficult indeed. If I could trade places with you, I would. Mindy has been in contact with at least twenty people that knew you in Vietnam, nurses and fellow pilots. All speak highly of you. They, too, have not and will not forget you. The stories they have related to us have reinforced what we already knew: that you were a caring, and dedicated young man, willing to do whatever it took to save your comrades. One fellow pilot told us,
"Bob was my co-pilot on one of the worst days we flew there. On that day Bob and our crew evacuated about 100 wounded men from LZ Holkum while under heavy mortar attack. Each flight out we took only enough fuel to fly out and back without any reserve because we frequently had over 15 patients on board."
Such comments make us miss you all the more.
My wife, Nancy, and daughters, Kristin and Kim, know all about you. I'd like to share an essay that Kim wrote at age 17, during competition for a college scholarship. She could have chosen to write about anyone, but she chose YOU!
We visit you often at the Wall. It is a beautiful tribute to ALL the men and eight women who died so many years ago. The most important thing I want you to know is that you will NEVER be forgotten, my dear brother.
If you could have dinner with anyone in the world,
who would it be?
by Kimberly A. Hill
Of the millions of people in the world, there is one person that I would give anything to meet and have dinner with. The same person is one that I will never be able to meet in my lifetime. My uncle Bobby was a hero. He died fighting for his country in Vietnam. For as long as I can remember I have heard stories, seen pictures, and heard audiotapes he sent home from Vietnam. These things have given me a special connection to my uncle and a special love that transcends time.
I can remember a special trip to DC quite vividly. It was a warm spring day and the bustle of activity in Washington, DC, captivated my attention. There were men dressed in black leather riding loud Harley-Davidsons down the street. The sidewalks were lined with trucks selling everything from hotdogs to tee shirts. The faint sounds of a concert in the distance drifted over the chaotic chatter of passersby. I was only seven years old and my small hand grasped my dad's in an effort to remain together. My dad wore his army fatigues and I proudly wore his Green Beret and carried a small American flag to leave at the wall we had come to visit. After a long walk we arrived at the long, black granite wall.
"This is it," my dad said, his smiling face becoming somewhat somber, "the Vietnam Veteran's Memorial." We walked down a stone path alongside the wall, down a slight incline. My dad hoisted me up onto his shoulders and pointed out my uncle's name so I could run my fingers along the granite. As I ran my fingers over his name, Robert O. Hill, Jr., the cut in the smooth stone tickled my fingers. My dad told me stories he remembered of his brother -- how he was always looking for a way to make someone laugh, how they would go camping together when they were Boy Scouts, how he once replaced the contents of the sugar bowl with salt to surprise everyone at breakfast.
I knelt down and placed the miniature flag at the base of the wall. I stood up again. Looking into the wall, I could see the reflection of myself reaching just past the waist of my dad's reflection. His body trembled slightly and the smile had disappeared from his face. I grabbed my dad's hand and looking upwards towards the sun, I mouthed, "Daddy, I love you."
He squeezed my hand and smiled, "I love you too, Brownie-Brown Eyes."
The day my dad and I spent together in DC had a great effect on me, even as a young girl. Seeing the way the loss of my uncle has affected my dad has had a profound effect on my own life. I somehow feel a great attachment to my uncle, someone I have never even known. It is hard to explain how I can have so much love for a man I have never met, but there is a love that grows deep inside of me. It is the love that can send a shiver up my spine each time that I run my fingers along the smooth, black granite wall of the Vietnam Veteran's Memorial. It is the love that makes my thoughts turn to my uncle at the sound of a helicopter nearing overhead. It is a love that stems from seeing the love my dad has for him.
The photographs of my uncle and the rubbing of his name that I made at the wall are the only two material attachments that I have to my uncle. But I also have the memories of my dad and the dreams and stories I have created in my own mind. I know in my heart that my uncle is a hero. No one knows this better than the man whose life my uncle died saving, and the others who served with my uncle in Vietnam. Hearing the gratitude, love, and wonderful memories that these men have of my uncle is comforting. The flowers and notes that have been left at my uncle's grave by unknown people show how much he is thought of and missed by other people.
I believe that the people who were able to meet my uncle were truly blessed. It is an opportunity that I would give anything for. I would love to have even a few minutes to meet my uncle, and tell him how much he is loved, and how greatly he is missed. I would show him my silver locket that holds his picture inside.
From his family,
Kimberly A. Hill
06 Dec 1997