Henrico County Historical Society
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Oral History
 >Robert Hawkes,
   Sr. & Jr.

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Oral History - Robert Hawkes, Sr. and Robert Hawkes, Jr. - Two Generations of Veterans

Robert E. Hawkes, Sr.

Corporal Robert E. Hawkes, Sr. and wife, Eunice Sheppard Hawkes.

Robert E. Hawkes, Sr., was a veteran of World War II and served the rank of Corporal with the Engineer Corp., Third US Army under General George S. Patton. After having just married in July, Robert Hawkes, Sr., reported for duty at Fort Belvoir in September 1943. On June 10, 1944, 4 days after D-Day, and the new father of young Robert, Jr., Corporal Hawkes landed with his unit at Normandy and began an arduous trek across France, Belgium, Luxembourg, and Germany. The Battle of the Bulge blocked communication with home, and from December to February of 1944, his family had no word of his safety.

Interestingly, two of his friends from Glen Allen, Virginia, went into the Army at the same time as Robert, Sr., stayed together throughout the war, and came home together on the same ship. After the war, Mr. and Mrs. Hawkes (left) raised a family of three children in the Lakeside area. Wartime couple, Corporal Robert E. Hawkes, Sr., and wife Eunice Sheppard Hawkes and (below) two Christmas cards he sent home.

1944 Christmas card picture. 1944 Christmas card greeting.

1944 Christmas card greeting. 1944 Christmas card greeting.

Robert E. Hawkes, Jr.

Robert Hawkes, Jr. and son, Robert Hawkes, III.

Colonel Hawkes began his military experience while attending the University of Richmond and participating in the ROTC program.

He graduated in 1965. He had to leave his wife, Marguerite and small son (left with his father), when he went on his first tour of duty with the US Army, on May 15, 1968.

He worked in military intelligence in Vietnam and Germany, and his family did not know too much at that time of his military activities because of the operations in which he was involved. It is known, however, that in Saigon, he did not wear his uniform but dressed in civilian clothes with it only a military-issued pistol in his possession for protection.

It is said that many civilians who knew him in Vietnam did not know he was with the military and that he possibly was a minister.

Robert Hawkes, Jr. in fatigues on his way to R&R.

Robert E. Hawkes, Jr. in fatigues on his way to R&R.

The following is a note written to his mother while there:

8 September 1968,
Saigon, Vietnam.

Dear Mother,

I hope you enjoy using your tablecloth. I think it is very lovely. The scenes embroidered on the cloth remind me of the farmers in Phu Tay Provence.

Today I finally got a chance to go to the PX and purchase these cards. The last two weeks have been busy. Today at the PX outlet at Tay Son Nhut it was as if everybody was there.

Mother, I hope you can understand why this card is delayed. I feel bad about it, but everything that I have ever learned has taught me that duty comes first, then personal life.

I wish you a Happy Birthday! I am as always,

Your loving son,

Colonel Hawkes received the Meritorious Service Medal, Defense Service Ribbon, and the Vietnam Service Medal with four stars. He returned from Vietnam May 6, 1969, and continued his career with the US army until discharged January 24, 2003.

He was buried with honors at Arlington National Cemetery on August 27, 2007.

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