Roscoe Robinson Jr.

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Roscoe Robinson Jr.
Roscoe Robinson2.jpg
General Roscoe Robinson Jr.
Born (1928-10-11)October 11, 1928
St. Louis, Missouri
Died July 22, 1993(1993-07-22) (aged 64)
Buried at Arlington National Cemetery
Allegiance United States United States of America
Service/branch Emblem of the United States Department of the Army.svg United States Army
Rank General
Commands held 82nd Airborne Division
82nd Airborne Division CSIB.svg
United States Army, Ft. Bragg,NC
Camp Zama, Japan
Battles/wars Korean War
Vietnam War
Awards Distinguished Service Medal ribbon.svg Distinguished Service Medal
Silver Star ribbon.svg Silver Star (2)
Legion of Merit ribbon.svg Legion of Merit (3)
Bronze Star Medal ribbon.svg Bronze Star
Distinguished Flying Cross ribbon.svg Distinguished Flying Cross
Air Medal ribbon.svg Air Medal (11)
CIB2.png Combat Infantry Badge 2nd Award

Roscoe Robinson Jr. (October 11, 1928 – July 22, 1993) was the first African American to become a four-star general in the United States Army. He was born on October 11, 1928, in St. Louis, Missouri. He attended St. Louis University for only a year and then transferred to the United States Military Academy at West Point in 1947. He graduated with a degree in military engineering in 1951.

Robinson as a West Point cadet

After graduating, Robinson served in the Korean War in 1952 as a platoon leader and rifle company commander. For his actions he received the Bronze Star. Sent back to the United States a year later he became an instructor in the Airborne Department of the United States Army Infantry School. He then went on to graduate from the Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas in 1963. The following year he received his master's degree from the University of Pittsburgh in international affairs.

In 1967 he served as battalion commander in Vietnam. For his achievements there he received the Legion of Merit, the Distinguished Flying Cross, 11 Air Medals, and two Silver Stars.

After Vietnam he served at the National War College for three years as the executive officer to the Chief of Staff. He was promoted to Brigadier General and in 1975 became Commanding General of the United States Army Garrison, Okinawa. In 1976 he was promoted to Major General and assigned to command the 82nd Airborne Division at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. General Robinson was the first African-American to command 82nd Airborne Division.

His final assignment was as U.S. Military Representative to the NATO Military Committee from 1982-1985. After he had completed 34 years of service to the U.S. military he retired in 1985. He was then awarded with the Defense Distinguished Service Medal and two Distinguished Service Medals.

After his retirement, he was asked to look over a panel of people who were examining the Korean War performance of some highly criticized army units. He also served on the board of Northwest Airlines. After a battle with leukemia, Robinson died on July 22, 1993, at the age of 64, and was buried at Arlington National Cemetery.[1] In April 2000, there was a ceremony and a dedication at West Point for a new auditorium, named the "General Roscoe Robinson Jr. Auditorium" in his honor. The Roscoe Robinson Health Clinic at Womack Army Medical Center at Fort Bragg is also named in his honor.[2]

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