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Fri, 07.13.2012

Roscoe Robinson, Army Commander, and Engineer born

*Roscoe Robinson, Jr. was born on this date in 1928. He was a Black Army commander, engineer, and administrator.

He was born in St. Louis, Missouri. He attended St. Louis University and transferred to the United States Military Academy at West Point in 1947.  Robinson graduated with a degree in military engineering in 1951. After graduating, he served in the Korean War in 1952 as a platoon leader and rifle company commander. For his actions, he received the Bronze Star. Sent back to the United States a year later, he became an instructor in the Airborne Department of the United States Army Infantry School. Robinson graduated from the Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, in 1963. The following year he received his master’s degree from the University of Pittsburgh in international affairs.

In 1967 he served as a battalion commander in Vietnam. He received the Legion of Merit, the Distinguished Flying Cross, 11 Air Medals, and two Silver Stars for his achievements there. After Vietnam, he served at the National War College for three years as the executive officer to the Chief of Staff.  He was promoted to Brigadier General and, in 1975, became Commanding General of the United States Army Garrison, Okinawa, the first Black to become a four-star general in the United States Army.

He also commanded America's Guard of Honor, the 82nd Airborne Division, as a Major General at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, in 1976 and was renowned for earning the love and respect of his men, his fellow Paratroopers, during his Command, which was noteworthy for, General Robinson was, the first Black to Command The All-American Division. His final assignment was as U.S. Military Representative to the NATO Military Committee from 1982-1985.

After he had completed 34 years of service in the U.S. military, he retired in 1985. He was then awarded the Defense Distinguished Service Medal and two Distinguished Service Medals. After his retirement, he was asked to look over a panel of people examining the Korean War performance of some highly criticized army units. He also served on the board of Northwest Airlines. After a battle with leukemia, Roscoe Robinson, Jr. died on July 22, 1993, at 64, and was buried at Arlington National Cemetery.

In April 2000, there was a ceremony and a dedication at West Point for a new auditorium, named "General Roscoe Robinson, Jr. Auditorium," in his honor. The Roscoe Robinson Health Clinic at Womack Army Medical Center at Fort Bragg is also named in his honor.

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Black is what the prisons are, The stagnant vortex of the hours Swept into totality, Creeping in the perjured heart, Bitter in the vulgar rhyme, Bitter on the walls; Black is where the devils... THE AFRICAN AFFAIR by Bruce M. Wright.
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