The Pacolet Robinson Family and its Remarkable Military Service to our Country

Dennis Robinson was a classmate of mine in the 1955 Pacolet High School Graduating Class.  Upon graduation, Dennis joined the Air Force and served during the Vietnam war. His  family has an amazing record of military service to the country. Dennis has been kind enough to furnish his family story to go on the Pacolet Memories website. We want to thank him for this and also thank the members of his family for their service.

This is written to honor our mother and father, Tennie and Lawrence Robinson, and to keep their memories alive. May God bless them for all the sacrifices they made for their family and their country!

The Lawrence (Tobe) Robinson family set a record for Pacolet by having eight sons to serve in the military. They had five sons serve during World War II; all in service at the same time. Tennie Ruff Robinson was presented, by Governor Olin D. Johnston, a Mother’s Eagle Pin with five stars for having five sons in the armed services during WW II. Those five sons in WWII were Hubert, Boyd, Lawrence Jr, William and EllieB (LB). The other sons that served in the armed forces were Fred, Joe Dean and Dennis. That five star pin has been passed down to each of the five sons. An article written on June 21, 1959 in the Spartanburg Herald-Journal titled “Pacolet Parents See Eight Sons Leave For Service” by Barbara Crowe was an interview of Lawrence and Tennie Robinson about their family and the service of their sons. The eight sons article depicts a brief summary of the Robinson military history. Here I will give a brief military history of each of the eight brothers.

Hubert was in the Army and was in the North African invasion in November 1942. In January 1944 his company entered Italy during operation “SHINGLE” at the Anzio Beach Head which is some 35 to 40 miles from Rome. They traveled about six miles inland and met stiff resistance from the Germans. The Germans sent reinforcements and it took from January to June to reach Rome. History states that some of the most furious fighting of WW II took place there during those months. His company had lost about half of their men when Hubert was captured on June sixth 1944 near Rome. He was paraded through Rome, put on a train and sent to a prison camp (Stalag VII/A) near Munich, Germany. The German farmers came to the prison camp to get prisoners to work on their farms. Since Hubert was a big man, he was always first to be chosen. He was fed mostly cabbage soup, bread and water. He had stomach problems the rest of his life. Back home, afterwards, he could never stand to smell cabbage cooking or sauerkraut. He got seriously sick one time while working on a farm, so the guard marched him back to the prison camp, which was about three miles, where the doctor examined him, gave him some medicine and the guard marched him back to the farm. He was so ill he could hardly walk. Hubert was liberated in May, 1945. He had lost over seventy pounds while a prisoner. He was sent to Camp Lucky Strike near Paris, France to recuperate. He returned to civilian life after the war.

Boyd was in the Army when the war started and was training other solders. After the war started he was shipped to the European theater to fight there. He was in Berlin, Germany when the war ended and remained there for about three years after the war during the occupation. Boyd remained in the Army after the war was over and was sent to serve in the Korean War. He retired from the Army with the highest enlisted rank. 

Lawrence was in California when he got notice to report to the Army. He served in the Pacific Theater during the war. Lawrence was wounded during hand-to-hand combat when the Japanese tried to overrun their position. He returned to civilian life after the war. William served in the Navy and was a Gunner on a destroyer during the war. He served in the Atlantic and Pacific theaters. His ship was one of the big guns of the war. He returned to civilian life after the war; went to college and got his degree.

EllieB (LB) served in the Navy as a Gunner’s mate. He joined at a very young age of seventeen; said he wanted to serve with his brother William. Their ships passed each other one time over near Europe and LB got his signalman to signal that his brother was on board. There was radio silence at the time. As a Gunner’s mate he fired at enemy aircraft, submarines and launched torpedoes. LB was wounded during a bombing raid while off loading his ship in Belgium. LB served in the Atlantic and Pacific theaters. LB was in the Normandy invasion. After the war LB joined the Merchant Marines and served as an AB Seaman (he drove the ship and had a license to steer ships in any ocean) for about four years. He then joined the Army and served a tour of duty in the Korean War. 

Fred joined the Army in 1948 and served in Germany (with a Ranger outfit) and in the Korean War. Fred retired from the Army after serving about twenty two years. 

Joe Dean joined the Navy and served in the Pacific theater. He was also in the Korean War. He returned to civilian life afterwards and settled in San Francisco. Dennis joined the Air Force August 1, 1955 after graduating from Pacolet High. He served in Europe and in the US where he was assigned temporary duty all over the world and was in service during the Vietnam War. During his tours in Germany, his outfit flew the Hungarian refugees that came across to Germany to various locations in Europe to find new homes. His outfit was in Florida during the Cuban missile crisis where he served until the missile threat was over.

So the Lawrence Robinson family had five sons in WW II, four sons in the Korean War and one during Vietnam War. Along with two brothers-in-law that served in WW II and Korean War. The last time all eight Robinson Brothers were together was 1999. There are only two brothers living as of this writing. It’s an honor to be a part of the Robinson family and one of the eight brothers which I admire very much.

May God bless Lawrence and Tennie Robinson, all the mothers and fathers that made the ultimate sacrifice for their country and all those who served! God bless the U. S. of A. and may it always remain free.

(Written by brothers EllieB and Dennis, 2011)


Editors Note: The Robinson Family has an illustrious military history that goes back to the very beginning of our country in the Revolutionary War. William Sharp was a resident of the Grindal Shoals area and a soldier in the Revolution. He is the great, great, great grandfather of the Robinson boys described in this article. He fought both in the Battle of Cowpens and the Battle of Kings Mountain.
 
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This web site has been started as a public service to share the story of Pacolet. The web master and person to contact about putting information on the web site is me, Gerald Teaster.  Contact me at:
gteaster@pacoletmemories.com or by telephone at (843) 873-8117.  My regular mail adress is:
1311 Jahnz Ave.
Summerville, SC 29485

See more information about my Pacolet connection at Gerald Teaster.