Robert Fritz Speer

Specialist Five
Army of the United States
09 June 1948 - 24 April 1971
Dallas, Texas
Panel 03W Line 009

Combat Medic

DFC (3 awards), Bronze Star (2 awards), Purple Heart, Air Medal (4 awards), Army Commendation, Good Conduct, National Defense, Vietnam Service, RVN Campaign medals
Robert Fritz Speer
Photo courtesy of Doug Wilson

The database page for Robert Fritz Speer

1 Jan 2001


I never met Robert myself but all of my life I knew exactly who he was and what he did for his country and fellow soldiers. I salute all Vietnam's victims whether claimed during the war or not. I could never imagine being faced with such an uncertain event. I look at my husband (who is a U.S. Marine) and wonder what I would feel if I had to send him off to a war like Vietnam. I can only wish I will never know.

I pray each day for the ones who fought and died during this war.

A memorial initiated by a friend's daughter,
Stephanie Baldree-Morgan
E-Mail address not available.
Please update with the
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13 June 2003



17 May 1971

Dear Mr. Speer:

It was with sadness that I learned of the passing of your son, Specialist Five Robert F. Speer, in Vietnam.

I know that the loss of a loved one is one of the most difficult things a person has to face, but perhaps you may find some measure of comfort in knowing he served his Nation with courage and honor at a time of gret need.

The memory of his service will be treasured by a grateful Nation because he has joined the long line of American soldiers who in times on national peril have given their lives for freedom and peace. In Vietnam today, as on other fields in earlier days, we are defending the right of men to live in dignity and freedom.

On behalf of the United States Army, I express heartfelt sympathy to you.



General, United States Army
Chief of Staff


DAAG-PSA-BP Speer, Robert F.
SSAN 456-84-6957 (24 Apr 71)

4 JAN 1972

Mr. Fritz Speer
Terofalstrasse 5
Munich, Germany

Dear Mr. Speer:

This is in response to an inquiry on your behalf concerning awards for your late son.

I have the honor to inform you that Robert has been awarded posthumously the Distinguished Flying Cross (Second Oak Leaf Cluster) with "V" device for heroism, Bronze Star Medal with "V" device for heroism with First Oak Leaf Cluster, Air Medal (Second through Fourth Award) Third and Fourth Award with "V" device for heroism, Purple Heart, and the Combat Medical Badge. Arrangements have been made to provide you with a duplicate set of these awards.

Prior to death, Robert had been awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross with First Oak Leaf Cluster, Air Medal, Army Commendation Medal, Good Conduct Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Vietnam Service Medal, Vietnam Campaign Medal, and the Sharpshooter Badge with automatic rifle bar.

The Commanding Officer, United States Army Support Center, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania has been instructed to send these awards to you in the near future.

I am inclosing certificates, citation, and general orders announcing the award of the Distinguished Flying Cross (Second Oak Leaf Cluster) with "V" device for heroism, Bronze Star Medal with "V" device for heroism with (First Oak Leaf Cluster), Air Medal (Second through Fourth Award) Third and Fourth Award with "V" device for heroism, and the Purple Heart.

I trust my action fulfills your wishes in this matter. Again, my continued sympathy is with you.



Major General, USA
The Adjutant General

Army unit gives medic's brother overdue salute
By Jack Dorsey
The Virginian-Pilot
� August 6, 2004

HAMPTON - More than 30 years after being saved by an Army medic who was later killed by a Viet Cong sniper, retired Chief Warrant Officer Frederic Behrens finally got a chance to publicly thank the medic's family Thursday.

He had been looking for the family, split by divorce and living between Texas and Germany, ever since that day in Vietnam.

Sgt. Robert Fritz Speer, of Dallas, died April 24, 1971, as part of an air ambulance platoon trying to evacuate wounded from the rugged A Shau Valley.

Behrens was flying their helicopter as the five-man squad rescued the crew of another downed helicopter, but then his chopper was shot down as well. One member died in the second crash. Others were wounded. "I already had been shot four times in the leg, unable to do anything, but Fritz worked his way down to get the two pilots out, then returned to me," Behrens, of Powhatan County, said at the 101st Airborne's 59th reunion, held this week at the Holiday Inn-Hampton Coliseum.

Speer, who was 22, moved the wounded to a safer defensive position, treating those around him throughout the night and into the next day while they waited for other Rangers to save them.

Behrens was then shot again, in the foot, by friendly fire.

When Speer went to his aid, a sniper shot the medic in the chest, killing him instantly.

Behrens located the sniper and took him out.

Ever since, following his medical retirement from the Army after a year in the hospital and all through his long-term work with the 101st Airborne Association, Behrens has tried to find Speer's family. Speer was born in Germany but was reared in Dallas by his mother after his parents divorced. His other brothers remained in Germany with the father.

One brother, German Air Force Sgt. Maj. Bruno Speer, of Wiesbaden, younger by five years, had been looking for information too. He learned of his brother's death six months after the fact. He could find out little more. Their mother had died, and by the 1980s, so had their father.

"But a year ago, I went on the Internet with a message on the Vietnam War Memorial and was able to locate Frederic. We have been in communications since," Speer said. Behrens is now president of the Hampton Roads chapter of the 101st Airborne Association, and at the ceremony Thursday, the 101st surprised Speer by presenting him with his brother's burial flag.

It is because of Fritz Speer's "selflessness and his fellow medics, we do not have more names on that somber Vietnam memorial wall," U.S. Rep. Robert C. "Bobby" Scott said as he presented the flag to Bruno Speer.

"And it is with gratitude to - Speer and other medics like him - that some of your are here today," he told the 101st Airborne veterans.

For Bruno Speer, who has since gathered his brother's medals - the Distinguished Flying Cross (second Oak Leaf Cluster) with "V" device for heroism; a Bronze Star Medal with "V" for heroism with first Oak Leaf Cluster; an Air Medal (second through fourth awards); a Purple Heart and a Combat Medical Badge - there is a special place for the American flag as well.

"I have a room in my home where I have put them, and this flag will go there," he said. "This is so wonderful. It touches my heart every time."

Retired Chief Warrant Officer Frederic Behrens meets
German Air Force Sgt. Maj. Bruno Speer,
more than 30 years after Speer's brother,
U.S. Army Sgt. Robert Fritz Speer, saved Behrens'
life during the Vietnam War.

Written by Jack Dorsey
Photo by Stephen M. Katz, The Virginian-Pilot
� August 6, 2004 by the
The Virginian-Pilot
Reprinted with permission.

From his brother,
Bruno Speer
Sergeant Major, German Air Force

Notes from The Virtual Wall

On 23 April 1971 a medevac flight from the 326th Medical Battalion (UH-1H tail number 66-16588) was downed by automatic weapons fire. One of the five crewmen died in the crash, and the other four men had to defend themselves from ground attack before they were rescued by friendly forces. Only two of the five survived:
  • CWO2 Frederic A Behrens, pilot, survived
  • 1LT Roger J Madison, copilot, survived
  • SP5 Michael Lee Brummer, crew chief, died in crash
  • SP5 Robert Fritz Speer, medic, shot to death 24 Apr 71
  • SP4 David Phillip Medina, crew chief, died of wounds 30 Apr 71

Robert Fritz Speer was born in Germany and raised in Dallas, Texas. He had completed a previous tour in Vietnam and was a veteran of TET 68 and Lam Son 719. His mother and two brothers reside in Munich, Germany.

Visit John Dennison's
Medics on the Wall
memorial which honors the
Army Medics and Navy Corpsmen who died in Vietnam.

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With all respect
Jim Schueckler, former CW2, US Army
Ken Davis, Commander, United States Navy (Ret)
Last updated 11/13/2010