Robert Edmund Taft

Second Lieutenant
Army of the United States
31 July 1942 - 15 November 1965
Highland Park, Illinois
Panel 03E Line 062


Combat Infantry

Purple Heart, National Defense, Vietnam Service, Vietnam Campaign

The database page for Robert Edmund Taft

24 Oct 2002

Robert Edmund Taft was born in Highland Park, Illinois on July 31, 1942. He was born during WWII. He entered the military as a reserve and then he went to war. He was a Second Leutenant when he left for his tour on Wednesday, August 18, 1965. He bravely fought the enemy for the last month of his life. He was a single male and he died at the young age of 23. He was on the ground fighting in South Vietnam when he lost his life on Monday November 15, 1965. If you want to see his name on the Wall, he is on Panel 03E-Row 062.

Dane Schroder
E-Mail address not available

27 Apr 2003

Thank you for your courage and bravery.
God rest your soul.

From one who remembers.
E-mail address is not available.

08 May 2003

Bob was my OCS classmate, my Ranger buddy and my room mate. My heart cries for him. I know that he is in our Savior's arms, free of pain and grief. One day we will be together again in the Army of God fighting side by side. The Victory belongs to the Lord.

Frank R. Vavrek

05 Jun 2003

As a resident of Highland Park,
and a person planning on joining the military
I am grateful that 2Lt Taft made the ultimate
sacrifice in order for future generations
to live a world free from great tyrannical
oppression. Thank you sir. And may you rest in peace.

Tim Bloomquist
E-mail address is not available.

12 Dec 2003

I knew Bob when I went to Highland Park High School with him from 1956 to 1960. He was a good guy, very friendly and was a member of one the best swim teams in the state.

After graduation all of our 500+ graduation class went our separate ways and we never knew what happened to him because he never showed up at our 10th reunion or any other reunion. The reason of course was that he had died in 1965. I did not know what happened to him until 1980 when I visited the Wall and found his name on the Wall courtesy of the Park rangers and their information kiosk next to the Wall. I did not know what happened to him in Vietnam until I read the book "We Were Soldiers Once - and Young". I brought the book to our 40th class reunion in 2000 and was suddenly a center of attention as everybody wanted to read the book and find out what had happened to Bob. A lot of his friends started copying down the title of the book and wanted to know where to find the book. Fortunately Borders and Barnes and Noble started carrying the book and I think I was responsible for selling a few dozen of them. I went to the movie and was very impressed by the portrayal of the battle and saddened by the pain and suffering portrayed in the movie.

In our reunion yearbook I stated that Bob and his friends gave their tomorrows for our todays and it still holds true today.

John Chiappe

11 Jul 2004

Robert E. Taft was a great friend and classmate of my brother, Richard W. Meyers, in Highland Park High School, where I also graduated a year before them. Bob and Rich grew to be the brightest and best our country has to offer. Bob used to come over and eat with Rich at my aunt Gertrude's always friendly house, where we lived with her, uncle Myron, and our cousins Billy and Charlie. We all cherish our thoughts of Robert, or Bob as we called him. We give thanks to his parents for his and their sacrifices so that we may live free.

Rich was in Medical School at Northwestern before he was a Navy and Army physician, and I was a soldier at Fort Huachuca when Bob gave the soldier's ultimate gift to us. When we heard, we each took it with great pain and solemnity. Bob Taft was a great American, a great friend, and a great soldier. My brother and I will honor Bob Taft as long as we breathe.

I am grateful that I have been able to serve my country as a United States Army scientist for over thirty years. I have tried to give our warriors the warrior's edge, and to fight for justice in the ways I can. But I am most grateful to, and humbled by, the Bob Tafts who cheerfully face death for us.

The Vietnam War was a tough but noble war. Bob Taft helped to free people he never met. Kissing the face of liberty every day are Americans like my friends, Lanvy, an Amerasian who just had twins, and Mai Hua, who after 10 tries and three years escaped from a Vietnam prison. What is nobler than fighting to keep our freedom and to give others theirs?

I visited the Vietnam War Memorial Wall for the second time in 1996 and traced Bob Taft's tear chiseled name on a piece of tear graced paper in the summer early morning dew. The first time I visited the Wall was to see the name of my roommate Pete Tweedy. And one frosty winter day, I think in 2000, my son Marc reverently photographed Bob's sun-lit name emblazoned on the Wall. I saw what Bob Taft did in "We Were Soldiers" and cried when I saw his name at the end, for the same reason soldiers cry for soldiers in all seasons. I will visit Bob at the Wall again and again with my dear brother Rich and dear wife Genevieve before the sun goes down.

From a friend,
Ron Meyers

30 May 2006

Several years ago I visited the Wall and found Bob's name and broke down crying. I went to Elm Place School with Bob, and we played softball every day we could. It's hard to believe in such a few short years he would give his life for his country. He was a great kid then and I am certain he was an excellent and brave officer.

I grieve for Bob and the life he didn't get to live. I thank him for his sacrifice and will always honor his memory.

Tom Wilson
EPS Class of 1956

2nd Lieutenant Robert Taft
died in the fighting in the
Ia Drang Valley
November 1965.

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Landing Zone X-Ray site

and The Virtual Wall's
Ia Drang Memorial

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With all respect
Jim Schueckler, former CW2, US Army
Ken Davis, Commander, United States Navy (Ret)
Memorial first published on 24 Oct 2002
Last updated 08/10/2009