• ridgefield
  • Bergen
  • September 27, 1945
  • May 14, 1968
  • Army
  • RANK:
  • PFC
  • KIA
  • South Vietnam


Robert D. Murphy was born on September 27, 1945, to Madeline and James Murphy. His home of record is Ridgefield, NJ. Robert had two siblings, James and Maureen. He graduated from Bedford Park Academy in the Bronx, NY, in 1963. Robert continued his education at New York Community College, graduating with a degree in accounting, and then worked for Pan American Airlines as an accountant.

He served in the US Army with the 199th Light Infantry. He attained the rank of Private First Class (PFC). Murphy completed basic training at Fort Jackson in October 1967 and arrived in Vietnam on April 11, 1968.

Murphy was killed in action on May 14, 1968. He died of wounds received during a battle a few days earlier.

He was awarded numerous medals and decorations including the Bronze Star with "v" for Valor, the Purple Heart, the Good Conduct, the National Defense Service Medal, the Vietnam Service Medal, the Republic of Vietnam Ribbon and the Combat Infantryman Badge.

Robert was buried in Gate of Heaven Cemetery in Hawthorne, NY.

I always thought Murph was a native New Yorker. He was a real funny guy. Three years older than myself. I had just turned 19 he was 22. It was a strange sort of story, which I have shared with few people, but since you have an attachment to Vietnam Vets I will share it with you.

There were three of us from basically the same area in New York City. Murphy was living in the Bronx and there was another guy named Kevin Ross who was 26 and living in the Bronx too. Ross was married and I remember was an electrician and a member of Local Three. Ross and Murphy were inseparable. Where you saw one you were sure to see the other. I kind of tagged along with two older soldiers. We went through basic training together at Fort Jackson. That was in October of 1967. The three of us wound up in the infantry and went together to AIT.

After AIT we all got a thirty-day leave before shipping out to Nam. While on leave I spent most of my time drinking and hanging out in the bars in my neighborhood in the Inwood section of Manhattan. Inwood is north of the George Washington Bridge up in the 200 streets. Mostly an Irish area back then.

Well, one night I'm in the bar and about 2 in the morning I decide to leave. I go outside and who the hell is standing between two parked cars taking a leak - none other than my buddy, Murph. Back in the bar we go. Needless to say we closed the place. We agreed we would meet at the airport and fly out to California together since we had the same travel orders, me, Ross and Murphy. The night came and I was standing around the airport to leave and Murphy and Ross never showed up. I went to Oakland and they still did not show up. I shipped out to Nam and arrived at the 90th Replacement Center at Long Bien. Still no Murphy and Ross. I wound up being assigned to the 17th Air Cav in the Central Highlands.

They had a beer hall at the Replacement Center so the night before I was to head up north I went to have a few beers. Next thing I know in parades Murphy and of course, Ross. The two of them were happy as clams in mud. They decided to stay in New York an extra two days figuring what the heck is the Army going to do? They were right, the Army just sent them on their way. I told them where I was going and told Murph I would see him back in New York. Just about a month later I was out in the boonies and was reading the Stars and Stripes newspaper. They would list on the back page the casualties from the previous week. There they were listed together. Robert Murphy and Kevin Ross, Bronx, New York. For thirty-years I thought they were together when they were killed. Turns out they went to separate units but were KIA on the same day. I always wondered if things would have been different had they met me at the airport.

Written by Ronald DeBoer, Friend

Sources: Maureen Hartwig (sister), Ronald DeBoer (friend), newspaper clippings, various websites and NJVVMF.


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