In Memory

Robert Vinton

Robert Vinton

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02/20/14 05:53 PM #3    

Richard Brezner

Bob was such a kind and gentle soul. Honestly, I can't even picture him being in the military to begin with so to hear that he was gone two weeks after his tour of duty even began is particularly sad.  

R.I.P. Bob. 

02/22/14 10:53 PM #4    

Ken Rini

Richard, your comments about Robert Vinton are so true. I will tell you that Bob, or Vinny as we called him, and I were good friends in high school.  Bob elected to serve his country the way he thought best- not by carrying a gun and killing people, but trying to help the wounded and sick in the battle field. He knew damn well that his job was going to put him on the front line combat zone. He is is a true hero as are all of the other soldiers who never made it home. Vinny was the reason that John Warburton and I joined the Navy to serve our country in a time of termoil  Love, Peace, No War. Help us all.  Note- When I first found out about Vinny's death I was  was stationed at a Naval Air Base in Texas. My Commander was notified that the Vinton Family had requested that I escort the body of  Vinton form  a staging point in Dover, MD to Cleveland, OH for a full military  burial. That is all I am saying about that because the stay was a blur.  As I now reflect back on these memories, I think what if !! Having to look in the eyes of a family who lost a son  and explain why.  I had no answer except that Bob did what he wanted to do- be  Bob Vinton- and he will always be our hero.  Ken Rini USN ABH-3 1966-1970 USS Okiniwa LHP-3

02/23/14 07:53 AM #5    

Robert Morris

Reading Ken Rini's comments about Vinnie made me think about families today that recieve the horrible news that Mr. and Mrs. Vinton recieved 46 years ago.  It is time for us to take our country back from the corrupt politions.  I hope I live long enough to help in the revolution.

Torchy......Thanks for all your effort in putting this together.

02/23/14 09:49 AM #6    

Jules Steinberg

Bob Vinton and I car pooled our senior year working at May Co. in University Heights.  He was kind and always friendly.  I saw Bob at a party at O.U.  He told me he was heading to Viet Nam.  The following month I was home for spring break;  and my parents told me he was killed.  I was shocked and quite depressed.  I still have the Plain Dealer notice of his KIA.   Jules Steinberg

02/23/14 01:08 PM #7    

Edward Torchy Smith

I did not know Bob that well in High School other than seeing him at a few parties and maybe Manners.  Then all of a sudden I saw him for a full week in Fort Lauderdale right before he left for Viet Nam.  We actually talked about the war but he was there just to have a good time before he left. I talked to him that week more than all of Junior high or High School. It was a week of total fun with some other Clevelanders on the beach and rented rooms.   About a month later he was killed in action. I was stunned. How could this be?  To this day he is the only person that I can say I knew who was killed in the war in Viet Nam.  He sort of represents our class for a whole period of time after high school that reflects the turmoil of those days. "Only the good die young" Not sure who said that but when I hear that verse I immediately think of Bob Vinton. 

02/23/14 01:18 PM #8    

Donna Beran (Steadman)

On a cheerie note..Bob was a friend of mine and I particularly remember the (swimming) pool  parties he hosted a his house on those hot & humid summer days.  Then there was one infamous New Year's Eve that Kenny Rini might recall .  Bob's parents were out on the town that a spontaneous party formed at the Vinton's house.  Someone had gotten a hold of some champagne, but it was warm so we put it in the freezer to chill.  However, I guees with all the other drinking going on,  we forgot  all about it and  apparently when the Vintons opened their freezer the next day, there were glass shards everywhere. Opps!   I'm sure that Bob got in a lot of trouble for that one...but he was always such a good sport and never complained.

It's a crying shame that such a good guy lost his life so young!  

02/24/14 05:33 PM #9    

Robert Mann

I didn't know Robert Vinton well but his story represents the unique time period we grew up in when so much of our lives revolved around Vietnam. The kids today don't really understand what the Vietnam War represented to our generation, how it changed so many lives and how it changed America. There were a lot of Robert Vinton's in America: 

  • 58,286 KIA or non-combat deaths (including the missing & deaths in captivity)
  • 153,303 WIA
  • 1,643 MIA (originally 2,646)
  • 725-837 POW (660-721 freed/escaped, 65-116 died in captivity)

During the Vietnam War, 30% of wounded service members died of their wounds...

Thanks to Torchy and others we have this wonderful website to communicate. Maybe we should consider dedicating or honoring this reunion to Robert Vinton?


03/19/14 02:11 PM #10    

Marc Brenner

That period of time was rough on a lot of us for one reason or another.  There were 2 sides to that war and it was difficult to decide which side to be on.   Jim Vyhnal and I were drafted  in January and February, 1968, a month apart. We didn't enlist, we were drafted and  went to serve our country.  Jim was in Viet Nam for slightly less than a month when he stepped on a hidden mine and suffered some severe injuries.  He eventually fully recovered and is fine today.  There were so many things about that period of time that none of us like to even discuss. We weren't considered heros, we were the villians.  When discharged,  we were advised to take our uniforms off in order to make it home safe, and that was here in the states.  The soldiers of today are heros and rightly so.  When I went back to school after the service, I had to hide the fact that I was ever in the military

Jim and I heard about Bob Vinton getting killed and were greatly sadden by it then and still today.  It is so much different today.  We are in another futile war with young people dying for a cause that we all have a hard time defining.  I agree with Bob Morris that we are in need of some major changes. There are other symptoms of that war that led to sooner than expected deaths from chemicals and other issues.  Charlie Walsh passed away about 4 years ago from issues  he contacted while in the service.

My kids still have a hard time grasping the concept of the draft.  We did away with the draft years ago, but they can't picture coming home and finding a letter in the mail that takes you away from your family for 2 years.  It all deals with freedom.  Personally, I have no regrets in regards to being drafted.  It was a wakeup call and changed my life dramatically.

06/04/15 02:29 AM #11    

Margaret Schwebel (Cohen)

I remember My dear friend Bob like yesterday. I remember how we shared many days studying  together while he poured out his heart to me about his love Jane Karch who every time they broke up I was his shoulder to cry on. Now maybe they can both meet up again and share their past while looking down at all of us who loved them the most. As has been said about him, he was a kind gentle soul who died far to young. I think about him often. With love, Maggie

06/04/15 03:15 PM #12    

Bennett Tramer

Bob sat right behind me in homeroom for three years at Shaker and we talked almost every school day.He was always an extrenely nice guy, and like Donna wrote, a good sport.  From "Blue Velvet" on I would treat him as if he were the singer whose name he shared, and after awhile he played along, "What do you think of my new record?" etc.  And I'd known Jane Karch since fourth grade, and always thought she and Bob were a great couple.

I remmeber in 1984 visiting the Vietnam Memorial in Washington,  whiich is stark enough, but I couldn't resist looking up Bob and Tony Culotta.  When I saw their names I couldn't help breaking down, which I don't do very often. What terrible losses that war wreaked on our generation.  And I couldn't help thinking that if I'd gone to a ghetto school there might have been thirty names I'd recognized.  But two was tough enough.

I salute all my classmates who served in that War, and I agree with Bob Morris's comments about a need for a complete overhaul in the way we look at the world.  But today let's celebrate Bob Vinton. He's obviously not in any way forgotten - look at all the classmates who are writing about him!






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