Tim attended High School at Aurora-Hoyt Lakes, Aurora, Minnesota, graduating in 1965. He then attended vocational school in Staples MN, graduating in 1966.
He reported to Basic Training at Fort Campbell, Kentucky, on September 21, 1967, and then went to Fort McClellan, Alabama, on November 25, 1967 for advanced infantry training. Tim shipped out to Vietnam on March 6, 1968 assigned to the 3rd platoon, Company C, 2nd Battalion, 501st Infantry,
101st Airborne Division.
At the time of his death, Tim left behind his parents, sisters Nancy, Peg and Ruth and his brother Pat.
He was awarded the Combat Infantryman Badge, Bronze Star, Purple Heart, Good Conduct Medal, National Defense Medal, Vietnam Service Medal, Military Merit Medal, Vietnam Campaign Medal, Expert Badge with machine gun bar, and the Sharpshooter Badge with Rifle Bar.
Tim was buried at Greenwood Cemetery, Sauk Centre, MN.
Ruth Lukkari, his sister, remembers ...
Tim was inducted into the Army on his 21st birthday, he was 22 years old when he was killed. I remember the last time I saw him, he said to me "If I have to go, I will do the best I can".
I would appreciate hearing from anyone who knew my brother.
I am but a name now on a black granite Wall. I am too far away for my family to come and visit, to have them touch my name and feel the warmth of their love I have missed so dearly for so many years. My medals hang on their living room wall ... the ribbons have long since faded and the medals have tarnished, yet I know they are proud of me. I hear my mother cry at night for me and it breaks my heart to see her in such pain. My younger brother does not talk about me much because he is afraid ... afraid he will cry over his loss and others will view him as less than a man. My little sister acts so brave during the day, but at night when it is dark and she is alone, her tears for me fall.
I try to tell them I am okay, for I feel no pain. There is no war here, no hate, and no sounds of guns or young soldiers crying for their moms with their last dying breath. We are all here, those who lost our lives in Vietnam. We have our arms and legs now that were blown off us by land mines and such, but we are not able to go anywhere. We have our eyes and we watch the little children as they approach the Wall. I see the little boy I never got to have or to take fishing with me. I see the little girl who I never got to hear call me daddy. I understand in war there must be casualties but it saddens my heart to know I had to be one of them. I wish I could feel the warmth of the sun one more time on my face. Yes, I am but a memory now and all I ask is that you rejoice the years you had me and not mourn the years I have been gone. We shall meet again someday, you and I. Till then keep me close in your heart.
By Ruth A. Lukkari
In loving memory of Timothy G. Robinson
March 22, 1968
Dear Mom, Dad, Ruth, Pat,
We are located somewhere around Phu Bai and Hue North. It sure is a dirty hole here, you wear the same clothes until they fall off of you and then they give you a new pair. This country is not worth fighting for but the good we do for Vietnam is good, these people are so far back in the world that it's sad. Over here we don't know even how the war is coming along. Boy would I give everything in the world to be home. That's the place where everyone belongs.
Tim as a baby
March 28, 1968
Dear Mom, Dad, Ruth, Pat
I'm in the field now in the hills. From the hill I'm on now you can see Hue, so we are far north. We have a battalion of NVR trapped down in the valley and have been hitting them with mortars and bombs for the last 3 or 4 days. The first day they sent me out here to meet up with my platoon we moved out from the top on one hill to the next and on the way we ran into snipers and had four men killed and four men wounded. The good Lord was with me coming down the hill because I wasn't hurt but some of the men in front of me and along side of me were hit. Death is sad over here to see these young men rolled up in a poncho. I had to go out and get one guy that had got hit and then caught on fire, he was still burning when we got to him. It was a sad mess. I've never been so scared in my life as I was that day and I have been praying ever since that day. I'm a machine gunner now in my squad. If you think this letter is grubby that's because we live that way. On top of the hills for weeks without shaving, washing, or brushing your teeth. At night you have to sleep with a few grenades in your pocket because you never know when you might get hit by something.
Your Son & Brother
April 7, 1968
Dear Mom. Dad, Ruth & Pat,
It would be nice to get a package from home about once a week if you could because your son is starving over here. Some of the things you can send are cans of fruit, cookies, apple sauce, hard candy, canned meat, anything in cans or jars, honey or some strawberry jam, joke book, hot rod books, papers, baked foods and kool-aid, the water over here tastes like hell. About once a month send some stationery like I'm writing on now. I hate to write and ask for food like a pig, but I'm losing weight fast. Love and miss ya all lots.
Your loving son
The following is the last letter Tim wrote to his family back home.
April 14, 1968
Dear Mom, Dad, Ruth & Pat,
I hope the Easter Bunny doesn't forget me this year because the last 21 years it's been real good to me and will always be so dear to my heart, "right Mom". Remember when we were kids on Easter the girls would be all dressed up in new hats, pretty dresses and new gloves and us boys with new shoes and shirts and off to church we would go and after come home to look for our Easter baskets. What good times. I hope God will bring me back home so that I may marry the girl I love, which will be in March if things go OK. Then I can watch my kids get all dressed up and head for church and live that day over again. Holidays are no different then any other day. Every day is Monday in Vietnam. Must go now, "God Be With You All".
Your fighting son & Brother
Sisters and brothers: Tim, Ruth, Pat, Peg, and Nancy
Letter to uncle and family, they also thought of Tim as their own son, they were very close.
April 17, 1968
Dear Herman, Joyce and Kids,
I'm a machine gunner in my squad. I hump that and about a 65 pound pack over mountains, across the flat lands through rice paddies and fight my way through the jungles. We move everywhere between one mile to about twelve a day. I've been shot at and had grenades flipped at me, helped put dead in ponchos and seen wounded bleed and can tell you for a fact that this war is hell and that more praying goes on over here in one day then it does in one week back in the world. May the good Lord take care of you all as good as He has been taking care of me.
Love you old son and brother
That was the last letter Tim wrote. On 4/19/68 he stepped on a land mine in Thua Thien. He is sadly missed by his sister Ruth and his family.
Tim was killed in action April 19, 1968 as a ground casualty by an "explosive device-hostile", in
Thua Thien Province, South Vietnam. Tim's body was recovered. His home of record was Hoyt Lakes, Minnesota. He was born September 20, 1945 and died at age 22. A Caucasian male, Tim was single. His religious affiliation was Lutheran.
CAACF Record Number: 56502427
Epilogue: A trip to the Wall
This last November I went to the Wall for the first time. It was something that I wanted to do for many years. There were always two things keeping me from going there, money and fear. So, I saved up my money and faced my fears. It was also hard to find the right person to go with. My niece who is 23 said that she would go with me and she did and I couldn't have picked a better person to go with, she knew how to connect with how I was feeling and also she connected with my brother's name on the Wall. We got to DC on Saturday and that night we went on a tour of DC after dark. It was dark and raining when we got to the Wall, we entered from the west side and my brother's name is on the east side. Walking down all the panels of the west side we could see all of the names very clearly but when you got to the apex and started on the east side, the whole Wall looked like it was empty with no names visible because of the rain. It took us some time to locate panel 51 east. That whole Wall appeared blank, but when we got to that panel I knew what line Tim's name was on and when I wiped the rain off the Wall his name seemed to appear like magic. It was easy to hide my tears in the rain because no one knew. When I stood in front of his name tears would just fall and not stop. But as soon as I walked away from that panel things would change, I was then left wondering how many of those names had never been touched by anyone.
We went back there on Veteran's Day and I left flowers for some other names on the Wall and at my brother's name I left flowers, the book that I had helped publish (his picture was on the front and back of the book) and a teddy bear with a letter I wrote to him. While I was standing there a young man came and knelt down and read the letter and as he was reading it he was wiping away his tears, no one knew it was me that left that letter. A little later a Vietnam vet came and knelt down and read the letter also and he was crying and then he took several close up pictures of the letter. It didn't make me feel good to see them sad, but it did feel good that they were able to somewhat feel the pain that I did in missing my brother.
I know that I have to go back to that Wall someday because I am not far enough along in my healing to be able to say "goodbye" and "hello". Maybe next time. I never felt like the Wall was underground but rather I felt like it protected me from the elements of the weather and stretched out like two big arms to protect those there. I could see that it was a place to honor the dead and to help heal the living. I have seen my brother's name on that Wall and the Wall in Minnesota and the Wall in Duluth and on the Moving Wall and it never seems to get any easier. I was really proud of my brother even before he died, having him as a big brother was so very special for me, he was so kind hearted and so aware of others feelings. Someday, maybe I will be able to understand it all. I just need time and education for that.
During the search for someone who might have known my brother in Vietnam I have come across many good friends, including a guy who lost his brother in Vietnam and we have adopted each other as sister and brother, it is easy to relate to him because he has and is going through the same things as I am and do.
People act differently to that Wall. I have seen lots of vets who are still angry and don't want a thing to do with that Wall and that Wall will do nothing for them either until they face some of that anger they are carrying. Sure I have anger too, but I get over it quickly because I know it is a negative feeling that will get me nowhere. Everyone reacts differently to that Wall, it all depends upon how you are related to that name on the Wall and where you are in your grieving, so everyone who goes there feels something different and walks away with something different. The reason it was put there was to honor the dead, but it has done a lot more then that. Funny how the most visited monument we have can have such a different effect on everyone who goes there.
When that Vet rode his horse down the pathway to the apex of the monument, I thought that was very moving, he felt in a way that I can not feel but that I can relate to and he can not feel how I feel but he can relate to me also. When a vet lost a friend in Vietnam, they lost him in a different environment then the ones the families knew him in, but then again the vets did not have a long term relationship with them like the families did. They saw their friends die in a situation of fear, killing, and dying. But we were the ones that saw them go to their first school dance, drive for the first time, their first dates, buy their first cars, in other words we each knew that person in a different environment.
We both suffer a loss but it is a loss from two different worlds.