Robert Dean Frost

Company B 1/22 Infantry

4th Infantry Division

KIA 02/22/70

 

 

 

 

MOS: 11B20 Infantryman

 

Robert Frost was killed in action during an engagement with hostile forces
at grid reference BR490016, approximately 35 kilometers west of Van Canh airfield.

 

 

SP4 Robert D. Frost's decorations

 

 

 

Bob Frost

 

 

Robert Dean Frost July 7, 1949 – Feb. 22, 1970


Robert Dean Frost first became a part of my life in Nov of 1969. I was assigned to Bravo Company
1/22 Inf 4th Infantry Division in the Republic of South Vietnam. Frost had already been in Vietnam since July
and was a seasoned veteran. We were in the 2nd Platoon of Bravo Company. At this time, in the 4th Division,
the infantry usually worked in platoon size units. There were normally 20 – 25 men in each platoon.
This meant a person became very close to the men around them. Frost was sometimes referred to as “Rawhide”;
I don’t recall the origin of this nickname, at other times Bob or simply Frost.

A platoon normally had two or three, or even more, different soldiers who walked point.
Walking point was very dangerous and took a person of above average courage and daring to be a successful point man.
This was because often times the point man was the first person to encounter the enemy. He was always the first person
to encounter the hazardous anti-personnel booby traps. In other words, the point man was always the first man,
and first is a bad place to be in a war zone.

In 2nd platoon we had three men who alternated walking point. Frost was one of these men.
Bob was the type of young man who seemed very much at home in the heavy triple canopy jungle that we operated in.
Besides the virtually impassable, thick ground cover, we also operated in the Central Highlands.
The Central Highlands were home to some incredibly steep mountains and equally deep valleys.
We had a saying that there was no “top” or “bottom” to Vietnam. Just when you thought nothing could be steeper
or higher than the mountain you just climbed, it was time to go down the other side. Well, Bob Frost led 2nd platoon
on far more than his share of these patrols. He was the type man who considered it his duty to walk point,
since he was so good at it. He was the type point man who made everyone else breathe easier knowing it was Frost
in the lead. He was the type point man who when he wasn’t walking point, everyone else wished that he were.
This is a very abbreviated summation of walking point in Vietnam, I could write an entire book on that topic alone,
and others have. Such a book would center on Robert Frost and men like him. Those who saw a self-sacrificing duty
to others and made the commitment to carry through, even if it cost them their lives. Perhaps John 15:13 says it best
“Greater love hath no man than this, that he lay down his life for his friends”.

Of course, Frost wasn’t always walking point. He liked to gather with a few of his really close friends
like Ed Bennett and Jesse Johnson and talk of home and life in Southern Oklahoma. Sometimes the talk would center
on country music, which Bob enjoyed. This was before it was know as Country Western Music,
it was simply Country Music. In our platoon there was no such thing as an AM Radio. I guess no one
was willing to carry even the slight extra weight the radio would entail. Everything we owned was carried on our backs.
Even if one had such a radio, airtime was very limited as to what was on and when. Unlike present day radio
where any time day or night, stations are on the air. In any event, I recall one time when someone had a radio
out in the field. Bob and a few others gathered around it to try and tune in either Hee Haw or Grand Ole Opry,
I can’t recall which. Of course the only way this was permitted was if they kept the volume so low
that you had to have the radio right next to your ear in order to hear anything! But, I guess it was as much
the spirit of camaraderie as it was the actual event.

In many respects Bob was like the vast majority of the men serving in Vietnam at the time.
All were very unlike the Hollywood stereotype or the type portrayed on TV and in books and by the news media.
For some strange reason they have always seemed to focus on the evil underbelly of Vietnam,
which may have existed in some infinitesimally small amount, but was such a small percentile that I spent a year there
and never saw even a fraction of what is viewed by many as common place. The Vietnam War was not fought
by evil misfits, it was fought by your sons and brothers and fathers and husbands and they were for the most part
honorable men.

Robert Frost was a young man who may not have wanted to be in a far away land fighting a war,
but one who when called upon by his country to serve, was proud to do his part. Bob lived his life
doing what he believed in, serving his country as called upon. His dedication and perseverance to the tasks before him,
regardless of the dangers and hardships, were the embodiment of what it means to be a true American.
He was a man who placed the greater good of the majority above his own personal needs.

Nothing related to Vietnam angers me more than to hear someone say, “They died for nothing”,
even if it is said in the best of intentions. Let me tell you something -- it is you and I who will die for nothing.
The brave men, like Robert, who gave their life for their convictions have no equal on this earth
and if you believe he died for nothing and that his sacrifice was in vain than I pity you for you have
“ Lived for nothing” and it is you who will “Die for nothing”. The righteousness of the cause is irrelevant
to the righteousness of the sacrifice.

Robert Frost’s death was the first of many in my life, which served to forge a philosophical viewpoint on death,
which has served me these past 30 years. How, when, and where a person dies is of little importance.
It is how we live that matters. And Bob Frost lived his life doing what he believed in. It has been said
that a warrior dies the only honorable death because he dies for what he believes. The rest of us, simply die.
Frost was an unquestionably brave and courageous young soldier. Highly looked upon and respected
by those around him. A man who could always be counted on when needed or when the chips were down.
Those with whom he served admired Bob’s skills and art as a woodsman.
He had no betters and few equals as a point man.

So Bob taught me not only in life but also in death. It is often said that when a person we love dies
a piece of us dies with them. This is undeniably true, but I prefer to view it as a two sided coin
and I say when a person we love dies, a piece of them lives with us forever. His death taught me lessons
that I carry to this day. I carry a little piece of him with me everywhere that I go. I’m the better man
for having known Robert Frost and I’ll never forget him.He was a good man. He was my friend.

James Henderson

 

 

 

Robert D. Frost +

 

 


 

 

 

Bob Frost

 

 

A rubbing of Robert Dean Frost's name from the Vietnam Wall
submitted by James Henderson

 

 

 

 

Birth: Jul. 7, 1949
Waurika
Jefferson County
Oklahoma, USA
Death: Feb. 22, 1970, Vietnam

Burial:
Duncan Municipal Cemetery
Duncan
Stephens County
Oklahoma, USA
Plot: Sec.38

 

Cemetery monument for Robert Dean Frost +

 

Grave marker for Robert Dean Frost +

 

 

 

+ From the Find A Grave website

 

 

 

 

 

 


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