TBS roommate

Shared by Rich Andrews on 10th December 2018

Bob, Vern Arndt and I were roommates at TBS in 1967. Bob was married and lived off base. Therefore he didn’t spend many nights in our room except when we had night exercises or something very early in the day. Consequently we didn’t get to know Bob as much as we would have liked. Based on all the memories and stories posted on his memorial, we really missed out.

I remember him as a tough little guy with no quit in him. He was quick to smile and had a good sense of humor. I could tell by the gleam in his eye and wry little smile that he was definitely full of it.

After TBS, everyone went separate ways, but we all ended up “over there.” We were young and gung ho and in spite of all of our training, had no real idea of what we were in for. Vern and I both did our tours in Viet Nam as 0302 (infantry) platoon and company commanders, the same as Bob. After 50 years those experiences are still vivid in my mind. Bob did TWO tours which I can not imagine and I salute him. Bob, Vern and I were among the lucky ones who came home to marry, raise children, enjoy grandchildren and live a full life. I thank God every day for all that He has given me in my life.

My sincerest condolences to Judy, Scott and Bob’s other children and grandchildren.

May God grant you eternal rest Bob and bring peace to your family.

Rich Andrews

Alamo, CA

August 22nd, 1966

Shared by Scott Arboleda on 9th December 2018

Story from David McCreary

Bob Arboleda as I knew him

Bob and his wife came from a small town in northern Minnesota. They appeared at Minneapolis’s airport, then named Wold-Chamberlin Field, on Monday, 22 August 1966. Eight or nine of us OCS candidates, recruited by a Captain Blanchard, waited for the flight to D.C. For some reason our flight got cancelled or delayed, thus we sat. Bob and I got to talking as did our wives. The pain of good-byes to our wives and family had been said, only no one left. We had to wait, and wait.

A friend of mine met me in D.C. and he had room in his car, so Bob, and maybe two others got a ride down to Quantico. We arrived late. Sergeants Hill and Barron welcomed us: “Up against the bulkhead maggots.” I think platoon assignments went as candidates arrived, thus we late Minnesotans all went into E-4.

Last name ending in A put Bob on an end of the squad bay. Being an M put me in the middle. It seemed like the shit flowed from A-Z, with more on the A-end. On one of our “hikes” we came to a large puddle in the road. Our thoughtful Sergeant Instructors (not Sergeant Inspectors) ever attentive to our safety, feared alligators lurked in the muddy water. They ordered Candidate Arboleda and another to wade through the waist deep puddle to check for alligators.

Come TBS they assigned us to platoons alphabetically, so I never saw Bob, although our wives who had driven out from Minnesota together, met on occasion. Bob got pulled out of the three-day war to meet his new daughter. Upon TBS graduation we went our separate ways. Bob had orders for flight training. Causalities in Nam changed those orders for Bob, and he went over to WestPac as a 0302.

In June 1970 we met by chance at Camp Pendleton. I a 1st Lieutenant on my way to WestPac, and Bob a combat-changed Captain. Bob taught combat leadership to field grade officers. He certainly possessed the experience: Khe Sanh, Hue and the many other battles of 1967 and 1968. Bob invited my wife and me over for dinner. Our wives left us alone to talk. I listened as Bob told of his time in Nam. One image in particular remains with me: Khe Sanh in the rain and shell fire with Bob huddled in his bunker with a rat he couldn’t kill because it appeared as cold, wet and miserable as himself. I admired Bob then, as I do now, for his courage, humanity and humility which makes him a hero in my eyes.

We never met again. Some months back I wanted write to Bob on his last birthday to say hello. I should have. I didn’t. Tomorrow never comes the way it should.

Shared by Amber Harris on 8th December 2018

One of my favorite times with Uncle Bob, was about 15 years ago. We all camped out at the cabin for a couple of summer nights, my kids were little. Uncle Bob and I went out trolling on his pontoon out on Norway lake and I caught my very first northern pike. I was so tickled and he kept laughing at my excitement. The next morning he caught a dogfish, in which most of us had never seen, what an ugly fish! Sitting around the campfire, uncle Bob talked to me a little about his military career which I had never heard him talk about before. I admired him, loved him, and always enjoyed being around him. All of my childhood summer memories are from being at the cabin, building forts, swimming, playing...Uncle Bob will be missed by many. He was a great Uncle and I loved him very much.

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