Richard, “Robbie,” served in the United States Navy for 25 years. Robbie joined the Navy in September 1937 at the cusp of WWII. He graduated with almost 40 others in his class at Pensacola; however, he was the only member of his graduating class to survive WWII. During the war – and leading into the Korean War – Robbie became a Navy pilot and flew a variety of planes. Robbie went through nine major engagements during his service. He served on the USS Anzio as an Air Officer for three years, fought in various locations including Guam, Okinawa, and Iwo Jima, and also worked in Air Force and Naval Air Intelligence.
In 1963, Robbie had to leave the Navy due to his developing Glaucoma. He retired as a Captain and received 27 awards, including a Bronze Star. Although Robbie served two years in Washington D.C., he was never able to visit any important political sites because he was often called to duty. His interest in politics and the operation of the government has only increased as he’s gotten older. Robbie dreamed of visiting Washington D.C. to see Congress, the Supreme Court, and the White House. After Robbie retired from the Navy, he volunteered his time in veterans-based organizations. Robbie was president of the Retired Officers Association, Navy League Chapter and National Sojourners Chapter. Robbie has also served as president of the Brookdale Horizon Bay at Lake Orienta’s Resident Council in Altamonte Springs, Florida for four years.
Today, Robbie is often invited to serve as a dignitary and dress in uniform at military services. At 102 years old, Robbie still considers this a duty to his country. Robbie is also very tech-savvy and enjoys helping fellow Brookdale residents learn how to use their computers and iPhones. Although Robbie suffers from Glaucoma and macular degeneration, he doesn’t let these impairments get in his way. Robbie wished he could see the U.S. Capitol, the Supreme Court and the White House before he completely loses his vision. Wish of a Lifetime and Brookdale sent Robbie and his step-son, Blake, to Washington D.C. from April 24 through April 27, 2016.
On April 25, Robbie had the opportunity to visit the Supreme Court. Here, Robbie not only sat in on a Courtroom Lecture and received a private tour, but also sat in on two oral arguments. Blake said, “Robbie was especially impressed when we sat in on the actual oral arguments at the Supreme Court. It is almost a surreal experience as the room is not huge and you are amazingly close to the actual judges. We saw a number of areas that are not seen by the general tours, like, some special meeting and social areas as well as the law library.” On April 26, Robbie toured the White House and U.S. Capitol. With a Secret Service escort, Robbie was able to see non-public areas such as the White House Kitchen. Robbie finally had the opportunity to visit, see, and learn more about our nation’s significant political sites.
Photo credit: M Harris Studios