Title: Army Private, Korean War, Killed in Action
Birthdate: March 23, 1933
Death Date: October 29, 1951
Plot Location: Section D, Lot 11
Robert was born just to the west of Philadelphia in Delaware County on March 23, 1933. His mother was 19 at the time, and his father was 23, a drill press operator who worked with thousands of others at the big General Electric plant in southwest Philly.
He had a younger sister, and he attended Prospect Park High School. After the end of his junior year, at age 17, Robert enlisted in the Army on July 12, 1950. He probably knew that his grandfather, Lawrence Elmer Kennedy Sr., was a Private in the Marine Corps from 1900-1905. His service in the Philippines was considered part of the Spanish American War era.
After basic training Robert landed in Korea on September 18 with Company I of the 27th Infantry Regiment in the 25th Infantry Division. North Korea’s army had just invaded South Korea three months earlier, quickly occupying most of the country. Robert’s unit saw heavy action in driving them back north. The 27th was considered the “fire brigade” for the 25th Division, making first combat contact with enemy forces and pushing them back. First the terrain worked against them, then the weather.
It was said that as many men on both sides froze to death in North Korea as those hit by enemy fire during that first winter. For more than a year, Robert exhibited grit and sacrifice. He was killed in action on October 29, 1951, and was posthumously awarded the third-highest military decoration for valor in combat, the Silver Star.
Robert was also recognized with the Purple Heart, the Combat Infantryman’s Badge, the Korean Service Medal, the United Nations Service Medal, the National Defense Service Medal and the Korean War Service Medal. His parents are buried beside him, and his grandfather, the Marine, was buried in Section 19, Lot 43 following his death in 1958.
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