Robert French Starbuck

United States Marine Corps
17 July 1941 - 04 February 1967
Montgomery, New York
Panel 14E Line 121


Silver Star

Purple Heart, Good Conduct, National Defense, Vietnam Service, Vietnam Campaign

The database page for Robert French Starbuck

1 Jan 2001

He was my Drill Instructor 9/65 at MCRD Parris Island. He taught toughness, responsibility, and loyalty. Starbuck left a lasting impression on me. This is my thanks. God bless him and all the others.

Semper Fidelis

From a recruit and friend,
John Fahey

28 Oct 2005

From my "Watch Fires '99" ...

I also thanked Sgt. Starbuck for those words of encouragement he gave me on Parris Island the night before he left for his second tour in Vietnam ... the one that he never returned from.

From a Marine recruit who was in Sergeant Starbuck's platoon in March 1966,
Sal Latina

06 Feb 2007

I always thought me and Corporal Starbuck had a special bond at Parris Island (Platoon 206, 1965). I was like the black sheep of the platoon, but ended up with the most honorable position, carrying the guidon. I survived recruit training because of Corporal Starbuck. He led by example, and was the epitome of the Marine Corps. I ran into him in Vietnam just before he gave the last full measure of devotion to the country he loved. He's on the top of my hero list. Please see If you knew Sergeant Starbuck, you had the high privilege of knowing one of the finest men on earth. I would like to learn more about his life and the circumstances surrounding his death ... please email me.

From a friend and fellow Marine,
Richard Harrison
P. O. Box 43, Flat Rock, N. C. 28731

A Note from The Virtual Wall

Sergeant Robert Starbuck was the team leader of a recon team from 2nd Plt, A/1st Recon, inserted near the abandoned village of Sa Khom on a mountain top about 10 kilometers southwest of the Duc Pho airfield. The body of the post-patrol report contained in the 1st Recon Bn's Feb 1967 Command Chronology follows [editorial comments in brackets]:

1. Size and Composition: 11 Enlisted.

2. Mission: Establish an OP [Observation Post] vicinity BS7533.  Primary
direction of observation to southeast.

3. Time of Departure: 031330H February 1967 [1:30pm 03 Feb]

4. Time of Return: 040800H February 1967 [8:00am 04 Feb]

5. Route: None

6. Synopsis: This patrol covered a period of 18-1/2 hours with 1 sighting
of 3 VC.  Patrol was attacked by an estimated reinforced platoon of VC at
032103H [9:03pm, 03 Feb].  Patrol had 4 KIA and 5 WIA.  Flare ship was
over area.  Both radios were hit.  Patrol was extracted at 040800H.

7. Observations:
031835H BS723334  3 VC observing patrol. 1 khaki, 2 blk PS's.
032103H BS723334  Patrol received 1 frag grenade.
032210H BS723334  Patrol hit with grenades, rockets and S/A fire.
                  M-60 machinegun taken by VC.
032215H BS723334  Patrol reports 1 USMC KIA
032230H BS723334  Requests flare ship
032234H BS723334  Patrol reports surrounded
032235H BS723334  Patrol reports 1 USMC WIA
032237H BS723334  Patrol requests air [support], reports being overrun
032240H BS723334  Lost communications, both radios hit
032255H BS723334  Helo for extract arrives
032300H BS723334  Patrol leader KIA
040125H BS723334  Huey checked position, no movement.  Patrol had dug in
                  and waited for light, poped [sic] smoke, AO [aerial ob-
                  server] called helos for extract.
8. Other information: Patrol location BS734341, radio transmissions from
2210 - These SOBs are coming at us
2215 - Think we got 1 friendly KIA. (Lots of noise and screaming in back-
2230 - Request flare ship
2234 - Here they come again
2235 - They're coming all around us again.  We've got one friendly WIA.
2237 - How long before air?
2240 - Jesus Christ we're being over run.  Get us out!

Recon Command Group with C/7 CP [C Company, 1/7 Marines Command Post]:
2210  2240 Requested arty illum, flare ship, and emergency extraction
2255 - Helicopters arrived vicinity of patrol.  Could not contact on

9. Results of encounters with the enemy: Unknown.

10. Condition of Patrol: 4 USMC KIAs, 5 USMC WIAs 4 critical

11. Conclusions and Recommendations: None

12. Comments by Debriefer: None

                                J. L. WILLIAMS
                                GySgt USMC

The four Marines who died in the assault were

  • Sgt Robert F. Starbuck, Montgomery, NY (Silver Star)
  • Cpl Robert L. Shafer, Windsor, IL
  • Pfc Robert L. Armitage, Everett, WA
  • Pfc Edward F. Smith, Easton, MA
Since the post-patrol report includes the names and service numbers of the eleven men we know the five wounded survived their injuries.

Top of Page

Virtual Wall icon

Back to
To alpha index S
NY State Index . Panel 14E

Contact Us

With all respect
Jim Schueckler, former CW2, US Army
Ken Davis, Commander, United States Navy (Ret)
Memorial first published on 1 Jan 2001
Last updated 08/10/2009