The 35th Infantry Regiment Association salutes our fallen brother, SSG Robert Edwin Knoll, who died in the service of his country on September 27th, 1968 in Quang Duc Province, Vietnam. The cause of death was listed as Small Arms/AW. At the time of his death Robert was 20 years of age. He was from Holland, Michigan. Robert is honored on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial at Panel 42W, Line 30.
The decorations earned by SSG Robert Edwin Knoll include: the Combat Infantryman Badge, the Bronze Star, the Purple Heart, the National Defense Service Medal, the Vietnam Service Medal, the Vietnam Campaign Medal and the Vietnam Cross of Gallantry with Palm Unit Citation.
(Below supplied by Bob's sister Jennifer)
Excerpts from Bob's letters home. I hope they bring back a memory or two and maybe a smile for some.
Dear Mom and Dad,
May 21, 1968
As soon as I got here I got a squad. I have 13 men in my squad. I have one machine gun and a 106 recoiless attached. The guys are all right. I haven't had any problems yet and I doubt if I will because we all get along great.
June 3, 1968
You said the monsoons end in Sept. Boy I sure hope so. This rain is unbelievable when you live in a hole. My hole is pretty nice though. It is about 10' long and 6' wide. We built bunk beds out of old ammo cases so there are four guys sleeping with me. I think I am pretty smart though. I looked into the future and saw our hole filled with water so I took a top bunk. At least I know I will be the last one to get wet. After it started raining I found I wasn't so smart---the roof leaks. Oh well, that just adds to the fun. I feel like I am really roughing it now. All we get in the line of clothes is clean socks and clean fatigues about once a week. Notice I didn't say anything about towels or underwear. That's all right as long as you don't put out barb wire and rip the seat out of your pants. Anyway I know I will get new pants in a week. That's not to long. Time goes pretty fast around here. I'm just going to have to watch what I sit on.
July 27, 1968
I am still in the same place. We are just outside a town called Ban Me Thout. I like it here except yesterday we had a little unfriendly contact. We called in artillery on them all day. It was raining, and all in all I think they had a miserable day. I don't think they will be back for a while.
Aug 2, 1968
Today we captured 2 jeeps. They are American made but the VC have been using them. One still runs but the other is all shot up. We had a lot of fun with the one that ran. We drove it all around the perimeter smashing logs and trees, just like at John's junkyard.
Today we stopped five elephants and searched them. That is fun. Yesterday we were searching an elephant and one of my men accidently dropped a case of Vietnamese rum on the trail. We gave them a case of C-rations and we kept a couple of the bottles that didn't break. It tasted about like 86 proof floor wax but it was pretty effective.
I am no longer platoon sergeant. In the past week we got an old E-7 and E-6 in the platoon so little E-5 me lost his job. After being platoon sergeant for over 3 months it is kind of depressing to have to go back down to squad leader. All is not lost though. I heard some rumors that my orders for E-6 are in the rear. If that is true I am getting paid for it now.
Sept. 22, 1968
I appreciate your concern about my feet but- what in the world am I going to do with all that foot powder? The army issues foot powder. You know how my luck is. Right now we are out of C-rations again but we got mail, I got 2 packages and I thought WOW---CHOW !!! What do I get - foot powder and socks so I am still hungry.
Bob was much loved by his family and friends and is greatly missed.