On September 20, 1965, Airman 1st Class Bill Robinson began a typical mission day as part of the team trying to rescue a downed pilot in North Vietnam. Enemy ground fire downed their helicopter and the crew and pilot were captured. The Vietnamese would not release Robinson for seven years and five months, making him the longest-held enlisted man in US military history.

On Friday, September 15, Robinson will be the guest speaker at a luncheon in honor of National POW/MIA Remembrance Day. The event is part of Visit Clarksville’s Welcome Home Veterans Celebration and begins at 11:00 a.m. at the Wilma Rudolph Event Center, 1190 Hwy. 48.

Robinson was born in 1943 in Roanoke Rapids, North Carolina. He enlisted in the U.S. Air Force in 1961. After spending 2,703 days in captivity, Robinson was released during Operation Homecoming on February 12, 1973. He retired as a captain from the Air Force on December 1, 1984.

The closing of his Air Force Cross citation reads, “Through his extraordinary heroism, superb airmanship, and aggressiveness, Airman Robinson reflected the highest credit upon himself and the United States Air Force.”

Luncheon tickets are $22 and are available at www.welcomehomeveteranscelebration.com.

As the premier sponsor for the Celebration, AARP is offering its members an 18% discount on all ticketed events with the code WELCOME50.

To volunteer or participate in any of the activities or events, please contact Frances Manzitto by email at frances@visitclarksvilletn.com or call 931-245-4345. For a full schedule of Celebration events, please visit www.welcomehomeveteranscelebration.com.


Photo from www.veterantributes.org/