2017 Honoree

Captain William Robinson

2017 Honoree

Captain Robinson served in the U.S. Air Force from 1961-1984. His story is a testament to the strength and perseverance of a true patriot, as he was held as a Prisoner of War for 8 years, which is the longest of any American in history. We were honored to recognize his service in 2017. Learn more about William's incredible experiences in the article below.

From https://valor.militarytimes.com/hero/3613 :

William Robinson was Flight Mechanic of "Dutchy 41", a rescue helicopter participating in the SAR for ESSEX 04, an F-105D piloted by Captain Willis E. Forby, who was captured when his aircraft was hit by ground fire and crashed. After "Dutchy 41" crashed Captain Duane Martin (Pilot) evaded and made his way to Laos and was captured by the Pathet Lao. Captain Thomas Curtis (Senior Pilot) and two enlisted crewman, Airman First Class William Robinson and Airman Third Class Black were captured after the crash and held in North Vietnam until they were repatriated on February 27, 1973, after seven years in captivity. All four members of the crew were awarded the Air Force Cross. He was subsequently offered and accepted a commission as a Captain in the U.S. Air Force. With Arthur Black, William Robinson shares the record as the longest-held enlisted American Prisoner of War in history.

Air Force Cross
AWARDED FOR ACTIONS
DURING Vietnam War
Service: Air Force
Battalion: 38th Aerospace Rescue and Recovery Squadron
Division: Tan Son Nhut Air Base, Vietnam

The President of the United States of America, authorized by Title 10, Section 8742, United States Code, takes pleasure in presenting the Air Force Cross to Airman First Class William Andrew Robinson (AFSN: 14782798), United States Air Force, for extraordinary heroism in military operations against an opposing armed force as a Helicopter Mechanic in Detachment 3, 38th Aerospace Rescue and Recovery Squadron, Tan Son Nhut Air Base, Vietnam, in action 40 miles south of Vinh, North Vietnam on 20 September 1965. On that date, Airman Robinson participated in an extremely hazardous attempted recovery of a downed pilot. The mission required a flight of over 80 miles, mostly over hostile controlled territory. Evaluation of the environment in which the downed pilot was located indicated that maximum performance would be demanded from each crew member if successful recovery was to be effected. Though exposed to intensive hostile ground fire, Airman Robinson, with complete disregard for his own safety, performed with courage and professional precision in a supreme effort to rescue a fallen comrade. Airman Robinson's courageous action and devotion to duty are in keeping with the highest traditions of the American Fighting Man Under Attack by an Opposing Armed Force. Through his extraordinary heroism, superb airmanship, and aggressiveness, Airman Robinson reflected the highest credit upon himself and the United States Air Force.