Robert William Moinester

Lieutenant (junior grade)
United States Navy
15 July 1943 - 31 January 1968
Lynbrook, New York
Panel 36E Line 025

Silver Star

Purple Heart, National Defense, Vietnam Service, RVN Gallantry Cross, RVN Campaign medals
Robert W Moinester

The database page for Robert William Moinester

30 Jun 2002

On the morning of January 31, 1968, the Tet Offensive began in Hue, Republic of Vietnam. You organized your men, consisting of US Navy, Marine Corps and Army personnel, into an infantry platoon and led them in house-to-house clearing operations, leading the assault against the well entrenched enemy. The enemy were driven from their reinforced positions, enabling the Marine tanks to continue into the city. You received a posthumous award of the Silver Star for your bravery, conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action.

Your Silver Star, Purple Heart, and your many other medals hang proudly on our wall. The US Navy commissioned a Navy Man of War in your honor - USS MOINESTER (FF 1097) - and throughout her many years of service in the active fleet she earned many awards and honors, her crews and Commanding Officers were all of outstanding character. They were the family you gave to us and quite a family it became. Many years have passed but you have always and often been remembered in many ways on many occasions. We are most proud of you, you are an example to the family that came after you. You are much loved and that love will continue into eternity. God Love You and may You Rest In Peace.

From his mother,
Mrs. Gertrude Moinester
E-mail address is not available.

07 Jul 2002

My husband was Robert's commanding officer at the time of the Hue attack. He had written often of his fondness for and pride in Robert's performance of duties and Robert personally. He was deeply affected by his loss and those others with him. He instigated the recommendation to the Secretary of the Navy that a ship be named for him.

I never met Robert personally, but when the decision was made for a ship to be so named, we attended the christening of the ship and met the wonderful Moinester family. Gertrude, his mother, christened the ship and that very quickly became the spirit of her son. She enjoyed and thrilled in every award the ship won and followed its movements and was a true part of the lives of everyone who ever served aboard her, still hearing from many of them. I too remain in contact with her and she is truly an inspiration. I write this instead of my husband, who now too is deceased. Gertrude helped me through this first year without him and we will be friends until we join with our men again in eternity.

My husband would have been so pleased to praise Robert!

Mary-lin Jackson
wife of RADM Dempster M. Jackson
E-mail address is not available.

28 Jul 2002

Ray, thanks for sharing the memorial to your brother Robert with me. I only met Robert once, but he made a lasting impression on me. To have so clear a recollection of an event nearly 40 years ago is quite uncanny. It was the night of our 8th grade dance. Remember? We wore the St. Ray's traditional graduation dance outfit -- black pants and white jackets. After the dance we wanted to take the girls for ice cream at Janz ice cream parlor. Robert picked us up at the school and drove us to Janz, and then waited outside in the car while we slurped down our ice cream and felt like big shots. When we came out, he was happy and cheerful, enjoying the fact that we were having a good time. We all crowded into the back seat and I can clearly see Robert's face as he turned around -- his arm on the front seat, and with a big smile asked us all if we had a good time. I remember thinking at that time -- and many times since -- what a neat guy. Surely an older brother has much better things to do on a Friday night than chauffer his little brother and friend around Lynbrook with their dates. But he did it and enjoyed it. For him it was obviously a great way to spend a Friday night. If he made such an impression on me during our brief meeting so many years ago -- imagine how many other lives he influenced for the better.

Thanks for sharing this with me.
Bob Donnelly
LTC, U S Army (Ret)

25 Aug 2002

Although I never met Robert personally, I feel as if we were good buddies and comrades in arms through my association with his parents, Gertrude and Bob. I became acquainted with the Moinester family while teaching a course on the Vietnam War at Locust Valley High School. From our New York Times photo op through the end of my teaching career my fondest memories were those spent showcasing Robert's exploits in Vietnam serving his country to my students. Even today many years later, former students tell me this was by far the BEST course they ever took!

In 1995 I was honored to attend the decommissioning ceremonies of the USS Moinester in Pensacola, Florida. I will never forget standing on the bridge with Robert's brother Raymond, an infantry Marine like me, while orders came through to disembark. I told Raymond to wait and to take my photo at the helm. Symbolically, I wanted to be the last American on the bridge before the ship was decommissioned.

FF1097, like Robert, may be gone now but the memories linger on and provide a lasting memorial to Robert Moinester. Well done, Lt. Moinester. We miss you.

From a friend,
Bill Ober
5 Tracy Drive, Huntington, New York 11743-1965

5 Feb 2005

37 years have passed since I left Vietnam but certain memories are so vivid. I recall the night before departing the U.S. and enjoying a movie with my new buddy, LTjg Robert Moinester. Bob and I had just met and both being from Long Island, we hit it off immediately. We soon determined we were both heading for the Naval Support Activity, DaNang. I can still recall the movie we saw that evening - "Night of the Generals" with Peter O'Toole.

On the long flight the next day, we spoke about our growing up on Long Island, our ultimate goals after the war and our families. Although separated upon arrival in DaNang, Bob and I kept in touch; he in Hue, me in Dong Ha. Although the entire country came under attack during the Tet Offensive, I heard how the Hue Ramp had been overun and my first concern was Bob's welfare. I heard several weeks later from a senior officer about Bob's death and bravery. I wasn't surprised. Bob was the type of officer who cared about his men. I'm a better person for having known him.

From a friend,
Paul L. May
703 Hanover Lane, Marietta, Ga. 30067

19 Aug 2006

I am deeply honored to inscribe an entry on The Virtual Wall site for LT Robert Moinester. Robert was my best friend during most of my years at Saint John's University where we both earned BBA's in 1965. I have had many friends over my lifetime but I can honestly say the Robert was the one friend who epitomized what a person and friend should be. I found Robert to be a person of real character and maturity well beyond his years. Besides numerous backyard basketball games we shared deep conversations on religion, family, values, education and our career goals. We found that our upbringings gave us very similar values and direction.

Despite only knowing Robert for a few years he has been with me in spirit for a lifetime. I am as saddened today as I was the day I learned of his death from his meritorious actions in Vietnam. I do thank God for bringing Robert into my life as a true friend and inspiration.

Allan G. Brown
Smithtown, New York

31 Aug 2006

At the time of Bob's death, I was the Air Ops Officer of NAVSUPACT Danang and the primary pilot of its one airplane, a C-117. I had met Bob the previous year as we were the major source of transportation in I Corps, and we had become friends. Bob had revealed to me that he had started out in flight training and missed flying. From that point on I began putting him in the copilot's seat when I picked him up, and let him get some stick time.

At the time of Bob's death (his death wasn't known to any of us until more than a week later), we were returning from a flight to Dong Ha. As we approached Hue from the North, we received a call from the "White Elephant" (our headquarters), directing us to relay information from our Hue detachment on the Perfume River. These orders probably came from Commander Dempster Jackson, our NAVSUPACT Ops Officer. TET had begun and Bob's detachment was under attack. Hue was a mess, covered with a pall of smoke, yet lit by explosions and tracers. Hueys and Cobras were everywhere, so we climbed above them and commenced a tight orbit at 2500' AGL above the detachment. I thought I was talking to Bob, but found out later that he was already gone. Their last words were "they're coming over the wire!" and the line went dead. We all believed them dead or captured.

Perhaps a week had passed, when we received a message informing us that 14 of our men had escaped via the river and made it to our Embassy in Hue. The Marine Colonel put them on the line with his men; his message complimented their bravery, saying "he would take them into the Marine Corps anytime"!! He said, further, that he could get them to the Hue/Phu Bai airport if we could come get them. I believed I was going to pick up Bob and 13 of his detachment!

As we approached the airfield, I couldn't raise the tower for approach clearance. The reason was quickly apparent; they were under attack and the tower personnel had fled to their bunker. We could see a group of people standing by the tower as if lost. Incoming was still 300 to 400 yards away, and I believed if we acted quickly we might still get them out. I asked my crew if they were game for it (silly question). I told them landing on the runway would clue in the NVA, so I planned to make a "short-field landing" on one taxiway, swing the tail to a stop. I told my crew to drag or throw them aboard, not to worry about seats, just lay on the deck. Once aboard I planned to make a "short-field takeoff on the other taxiway. It worked perfectly; on our takeoff roll mortar bursts were no closer than 50 to 75 yards, and we didn't get a scratch. Only once airborne was I informed that Bob wasn't among them. The word I received was that he was killed by an enemy grenade on the way to the airfield.

Years have passed with my belief in this erroneous info. Last year the "Traveling Wall" came to our town, and I visited it to find Bob's name. I needed the correct spelling of his name, so I "Googled" it and found this website. I like the true story and have been in touch with his Mom and Dad. For this little adventure, all of my crew was awarded the Air Medal and I received the Distinguished Flying Cross with "V".

Some were privileged to know Bob as a friend, a few as a Hero; I am proud to say, I knew him as both.

Bill Cantrell

From a friend,
Cdr. William A. Cantrell USNR (Ret)
E-mail address is not available.

15 Dec 2006

My name is Joel Richard Watkins and I also served in Vietnam 69-70. Even though I was not fortunate enough to have meet Robert I was able to meet his brother at a book signing in Augusta, Maine, on Dec 10, 2006. He spoke with such love and pride of his brother I just had to find this web page and write something of my own.

Such sacrifices as Robert's have a way of getting lost with time and I for one would never want that to happen, for it was real and it was final and for this we should never forget. I have never forgotten the men I served with as an Infantryman in Vietnam and I will always do my best to never let our country forget such sacrifices that men such as Lt. Robert Moinester made for thier country.

Joel Richard Watkins
Vietnam 69-70

13 Jan 2007

To the family of Bob Moinester -

My name is Bill Bacher. I attended Saint Agnes High School and Saint John's University with Bob. I remember him as a friendly and intelligent person who always smiled.

I first heard about Bob's passing from a high school teacher of ours, Sister Campion McDermott. She was a homeroom and biology teacher at Saint Agnes. I was very sad to hear of his untimely death. He is in God's hands now.

My prayers to him and to his family,
his friend,
Bill Bacher

03 Jun 2007

Early in 1967, enroute to duty in the Republic of Vietnam, I was in the same survival school course with Robert. The course was adminstered by the Naval Amphibious Base in Coronado, CA and included weapons training at Camp Pendleton, lectures/instruction, and a week's stint with the Survival-Evasion-Resistance-Escape (SERE) group at North Island and out in the Mount Palomar wilderness northeast of San Diego. Robert impressed me throughout as a diligent, competent, and highly motivated Naval Officer. I was not surprised at his performance or valor at Hue. During my Navy career I was privileged to stand beside heroes. I certainly stood beside a hero when I met your son! May the Moinester family always have fair winds and following seas...

Warm regards,
Richard D. Scharff
Captain, SC, USN (Ret)
Coronado, CA
E-mail address is not available.

Notes from The Virtual Wall

Robert Moinester was born 15 July 1943 in Brooklyn, New York, the son of Robert and Gertrude Moinester. He entered the United States Naval Reserve on 21 July 1965 following graduation from St. John's University. After completion of training at the Naval Amphibious Base Coronado, California, LTJG Moinester was assigned to the United States Naval Support Activity, Danang, in the Republic of Vietnam.

On the morning of 31 January 1968, LTJG Moinester was serving as Officer in Charge of the Hue Ramp Detachment. Unaware that the city had been infiltrated by a large number of North Vietnamese Army units during the night, LTJG Moinester and his ramp personnel were enroute to their assigned work areas in Hue when they came under hostile mortar fire. LTJG Moinester organized his men into an infantry platoon and led them in house-to-house clearing operations under intense hostile fire. Observing enemy soldiers in a building to his front, he organized a frontal attack. Although LTJG Moinester was killed during the attack, the enemy were driven from their positions, sustaining heavy casualties.

In addition to the Silver Star, LTJG Moinester was posthumously awarded the National Order of Vietnam and Gallantry Cross with Palm from the Republic of Vietnam. His citation reads in part

"with a ready zeal and a commendable response, he fought on to the enemy in every mission and set a brilliant example for his fellow soldiers. He died in the performance of duty. Behind him he leaves the abiding grief of his former comrades-in-arms, Vietnamese as well as American."

Lieutenant (junior grade) Moinester received the following awards and decorations:
  • From the United States:
    The Silver Star, Purple Heart, National Defense, and Vietnam Service medals.
    He is authorized to wear the Combat Action Ribbon and the Presidental Unit Citation Ribbon.

  • From the Republic of Vietnam:
    The National Order of Vietnam, Gallantry Cross with Palm, and the Vietnam Campaign medals.
USS Moinester (FF-1097)


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With all respect
Jim Schueckler, former CW2, US Army
Ken Davis, Commander, United States Navy (Ret)
Memorial first published on 30 Jun 2002
Last updated 08/10/2009