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I grew up in Hawaii and Virginia, the son of a naval officer (USNA class of ’39). From an early age my dad told me he was raising his own relief, so there was no question as to my career choice. Following graduation I was awarded a Fulbright to France for 1965-66 (I still teach in France for a few weeks every summer). When I returned I was ordered to the USS DEWEY (DLG 14). We did a tour in the Tonkin Gulf rescuing pilots shot down over North Vietnam who could make it to the coast. When the USS Pueblo was captured by the North Koreans, we headed for the Sea of Japan. Several weeks later I left the ship and after naval gunfire/survival school, I joined the 26th Marines as Naval Gunfire Liaison Officer (’68-’69) in the area of Hue/Phu Bai. During my year in Vietnam, the ships I worked with fired 30,000 rounds in support of my regiment, including 90 sixteen-inch projectiles from the USS NEW JERSEY (BB&NBSP;66) against Viet Cong units harassing convoys in the Hai Van pass above Danang. When our position was overrun in February 1969, a destroyer was on hand to provide illumination.
Robert Green in 1960
Following my return from Vietnam, I was stationed at what was then the Naval Weapons Laboratory, now NSWC, at Dahlgren, Virginia, for two years. During this period I worked in the Vietnam Laboratory Assistance Program that provided technical solutions for problems encountered on the battlefield. I left the navy in 1971 and earned a Ph.D. in musicology at Indiana University and taught at Northern Illinois University, west of Chicago, for 25 years. Following my retirement I returned to Bloomington five years ago where I have been teaching part time at IU as a visiting professor. Since 1991 I have shared my life with my partner Lee who worked at Fermilab as a software engineer and now is pursuing his dream of applying mathematics to the creation of abstract art. On May 5, 2011 we were married in Boston.
Robert and Lee
While I was proud of my Naval Academy background and my years of naval service, I often felt the outsider, especially at class reunions. USNA Out has provided a missing link.