Charles D. Robinson—June 2005 Shipment Honoree
Army Capt., 29, of Haddon Heights, N.J.; assigned to the 1st Battalion, 7th Special Forces Group, Fort Bragg, N.C.; killed June 3, 2005 when his convoy vehicle was struck by an improvised explosive device at Forward Operating Base Orgun-E, Afghanistan. Also killed was Staff Sgt. Leroy E. Alexander.
Army Capt. Charles D. Robinson’s Life Spanned the GlobeSource: Groups 7th Special Forces Group (Airborne)
A resident of Haddon Heights, N.J., Robinson was commissioned in the Army immediately following graduation from Cedarville College in Ohio May 1998, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in foreign trade. His first military assignment was with the 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 82nd Airborne Division, Fort Bragg, N.C. Robinson graduated from the Special Forces Qualification Course and was assigned to 7th SFG in December 2003. Robinson deployed to Afghanistan in January 2005 in support of the Global War on Terrorism.
Army Capt. Charles D. Robinson’s life spanned the globe. The son of missionaries based in Haddon Heights, Robinson spent much of his life in Paraguay, where he developed a love of languages and a bond with other Americans stationed overseas. At Baptist Regional School in Haddon Heights, Robinson played soccer and kept in touch with friends after his family resumed their travels. And after the Special Forces sent him to Afghanistan in January as part of Operation Enduring Freedom, Robinson asked his family to mail him care packages of candy. He planned to give them to children in villages he was helping rebuild.
Robinson, 29, was one of two Special Forces soldiers killed Friday when a bomb exploded near the ground mobility vehicle he was traveling in during operations near Orgun-e, in the southeastern region of Afghanistan. He had been assigned to the First Battalion, Seventh Special Forces Group at Fort Bragg, N.C.
“He put his heart and soul into everything he did,” said his maternal grandmother, Doris Anderson of Woodstown. “He was outgoing in a quiet sort of way.”
During Robinson’s childhood, his parents, Charles and Janet, were missionaries based at Haddon Heights Baptist Church. Robinson and his brother and sister were home-schooled by their mother in Paraguay, his grandmother said. During one family furlough, Robinson spent his freshman and sophomore years at Baptist High School, which is affiliated with the church, head administrator Lynn Conahan said.
“He was easygoing, friendly, outgoing, and he could take a joke,” said Conahan, whose son, P.J., was a friend of Robinson’s. After Robinson’s family returned to Paraguay, he continued to write letters to P.J., Conahan said.
Robinson later graduated from Asuncion Christian Academy in Paraguay, said his brother, Jeffrey. In Paraguay, Robinson and his family developed a kinship with American military officials and other Americans living abroad, his grandmother said.
He later majored in international studies and global economics at Cedarville University in Ohio, graduating in 1998, according to university spokesman Roger Overturf. That was where he met his wife, Laura, a native of Iowa, said Overturf, who remembered the couple. Several of Robinson’s and his wife’s relatives attended the tight-knit, 3,000-student university, Overturf said. “We’re all pretty devastated here.”
Robinson became involved in ROTC in college, which led him into the Army after graduation. He was first assigned to the 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 82d Airborne Division, based at Fort Bragg. But “he wanted more than that,” Anderson said. Robinson completed a rigorous training program over more than two years and joined the elite Special Forces in December 2003.
He lived with his wife in Fayetteville, N.C., and they were hoping to start a family soon, Anderson said. The family was hoping Robinson would return in August. Laura Robinson said yesterday she did not want to comment. Robinson’s parents, who live in Pemberton Township, could not be reached yesterday.
Maj. Robert Gowan, a spokesman for the Army’s Special Forces Command, said Robinson had been riding in a ground mobility vehicle. “It is a modified humvee,” Gowan said, and was “heavily armored.” Also killed in the explosion was another member of Robinson’s group, Staff Sgt. Leroy E. Alexander, 27, a Special Forces engineer sergeant from Dale City, Va.
Captain Robinson is buried at Arlington National Cemetery. Robinson is survived by his wife, Laura; and parents, Charles and Janet Robinson of Brown Mills, N.J.
His awards and decorations include: the Army Commendation Medal, the Army Achievement Medal, the National Defense Service Medal, the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, the Army Service Ribbon, the Parachutist Badge, the Combat Infantryman Badge, the Expert Infantryman Badge, the Special Forces Tab and Ranger Tab. He was posthumously awarded the Bronze Star Medal, Purple Heart, the Meritorious Service Medal, and the Afghanistan Campaign Medal.
The members of Landstuhl Hospital Care Project were honored to remember Charles during the month of June 2005 with our shipments to the Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany, and U.S. military hospitals in Iraq and Afghanistan. Our thoughts and prayers remain with Charles’s family and friends today and in the years to come.