James W Robinson Jr
James was born on the 30th of August, 1940 near Chicago, in Hinsdale, Illinois. He went on to attend and graduate from Morton High School in 1958 and enlisted in the US Marine Corps shortly thereafter. James primarily served in Okinawa and when his enlistment was up in 1961, he moved to Virginia for work. Three years later James reenlisted, but this time in the US Army and was assigned to Panama. Once deployed to the Republic of Vietnam with the 16th Infantry Regiment, 1st Infantry Division, it was his actions that would earn him the Medal of Honor. The citation reads:
For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty. Company C was engaged in fierce combat with a Viet Cong battalion. Despite the heavy fire, Sgt. Robinson moved among the men of his fire team, instructing and inspiring them, and placing them in advantageous positions. Enemy snipers located in nearby trees were inflicting heavy casualties on forward elements of Sgt. Robinson's unit. Upon locating the enemy sniper whose fire was taking the heaviest toll, he took a grenade launcher and eliminated the sniper.
Seeing a medic hit while administering aid to a wounded sergeant in front of his position and aware that now the 2 wounded men were at the mercy of the enemy, he charged through a withering hail of fire and dragged his comrades to safety, where he rendered first aid and saved their lives. As the battle continued and casualties mounted, Sgt. Robinson moved about under intense fire to collect from the wounded their weapons and ammunition and redistribute them to able-bodied soldiers. Adding his fire to that of his men, he assisted in eliminating a major enemy threat.
Seeing another wounded comrade in front of his position, Sgt. Robinson again defied the enemy's fire to effect a rescue. In so doing he was himself wounded in the shoulder and leg. Despite his painful wounds, he dragged the soldier to shelter and saved his life by administering first aid. While patching his own wounds, he spotted an enemy machine gun which had inflicted a number of casualties on the American force. His rifle ammunition expended, he seized 2 grenades and, in an act of unsurpassed heroism, charged toward the entrenched enemy weapon. Hit again in the leg, this time with a tracer round which set fire to his clothing, Sgt. Robinson ripped the burning clothing from his body and staggered indomitably through the enemy fire, now concentrated solely on him, to within grenade range of the enemy machine gun position. Sustaining 2 additional chest wounds, he marshaled his fleeting physical strength and hurled the 2 grenades, thus destroying the enemy gun position, as he fell dead upon the battlefield.
His magnificent display of leadership and bravery saved several lives and inspired his soldiers to defeat the numerically superior enemy force. Sgt. Robinson's conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity, at the cost of his life, are in keeping with the finest traditions of the U.S. Army and reflect great credit upon the 1st Infantry Division and the U.S. Armed Forces.
The date of James' citation reads the 13th of September, 1967 and shortly after, the Robinson Secondary School was opened in 1971 in Fairfax County, Virginia, in his honor, as well as the renaming of Elm Elementary to Robinson Elementary School in Lyons, Illinois, in 1967. James was the first Virginia resident to receive the Medal of Honor during the Vietnam War and his Medal was given to Robinson Secondary School by his father for display in their main hall. James William Robinson Jr is buried in the Clarendon Hills Cemetery in Darien, Illinois, and his name appears on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial on panel 06E, row 102.