Robert Hardrick arrived in Vietnam on September 1968. He was assigned to the 2nd platoon of Hotel Company. Just like everybody else who arrived in Vietnam, Robert started with an Infantry MOS (even though his specific MOS was Mortar). This was due to the fact that there was no need for his MOS at the time.
Robert’s first encounter with combat was during Operation Maui Peak. Some of the other operations that he was involved in were Operation Henderson Hill, Operation Mead River, Operation Taylor Common I and II, Operation Muskogee Meadows, and Operation Forsythe Grove. Before Operation Mead River, Robert was assigned to a machine gun team and in Operation Mead River, he was finally assigned to Mortars.
In an article that he wrote about his time in Vietnam (you can read it in the link below), Robert recounts many things. He remembers the chaos of the mess hall, someone getting hit by friendly fire, another Marine getting hit by a mortar that didn’t go off and thus surviving, and he even talks about the funny moments like that time in Forsythe Grove where the NVA were talking to them in loudspeakers trying to get them to go to Chu Hoi. He even tells of a story when a group of Vietnamese kids was dragging a large python, causing panic among the Marines.
Eventually, after about a year in Vietnam, Robert received his orders to return back home. For him, getting his orders meant finally being able to “return to the world.”
Today, Robert lives in Las Vegas, keeping busy by following up with phone calls to his Marine Corp buddies (us) challenging all of us to stay focused on “kindness to his fellow Marine family”.
He has struggled with a bad heart for the past few years but has had a pacemaker installed along with 5 bypass surgeries, which have helped him to live a healthy normal life. We are thankful for doctors and medical technology. When you ask him over the telephone “how are you doing today”, he always answers the same “Well, I woke up this morning!”.
Robert has always been our key communicator for our Hotel 2/5 Reunions. He is a great networking individual calling many of us weekly to keep track of how we are doing and what we are doing. He’s always informing us about what each other of us is doing.