Frank Jay 'Robbie' Robertson was born to Francis J. and Elizabeth (Brown) Robertson in New York City. He graduated from the Bronx High School of Science in January 1950 and entered West Point with the Class of 1954 but was turned back and joined the Class of 1955. Nicknamed P.J. by his M-l classmates, Robbie adopted Wednesday afternoon sack time and the handball courts as his hobbies.
Frank branched Infantry. He attended the Basic Infantry Officer Course, basic Airborne course, and Jumpmaster course at Fort Benning, GA prior to reporting for duty in 1956 with the 24th Infantry Regiment, 24th Infantry Division in Korea. He held various leadership and staff positions at company and battalion level until his selection as the aide-de-camp to the commanding general, Eighth Army Support Command.
Upon returning to CONUS in 1957, he served as a company commander in the Army Security Agency and later as aide-de-camp to the agency's commanding general. Frank then attended the Infantry Officer Advance Course at Fort Benning, during which time, in 1960, he branch transferred to Quartermaster.
Next, Frank was briefly assigned to Southern Area Command before to being posted to Munich, Germany as the assistant operations officer, Quartermaster Division, followed by assignment as the sub-post quartermaster in Straubing, Germany.
He returned from Europe in 1963 for his assignment as assistant professor of military science at the University of Vermont, where he did graduate work in the field of industrial management and labor relations. Frank's tour was cut short in 1966 due to the buildup in Vietnam, where he was assigned for nine months as the battalion commander of the 98th Supply and Service Battalion, 1st Logistical Command in Qui Nhon, Republic of South Vietnam. In the last 90 days of his RVN tour, he served as the task force commander at Chu Lai whose mission was to prepare the area to receive the incoming Americal Division.
Frank's next assignment was chief of purchasing and contracting at West Point. In 1968, he attended the Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth, KS. From 1969 to 1973, he was assigned to the Defense Intelligence Agency in the Pentagon as chief of logistics and engineering.
Frank then was transferred to the Systems Design Directorate, Army Logistics Center, Fort Lee, VA for a three-year tour, where he was chief of a study group that designed an automated supply management system (DS4) to replace the aging NCR 500 system.
In 1976, Frank was promoted to colonel and reassigned as chief of staff of the 1st Corps Support Command, 18th Airborne Corps, Fort Bragg, NC. Shortly after, he commanded the 2nd Support Center.
He graduated in 1978 from the Industrial College of the Armed Forces, Fort McNair, Washington, DC, then was posted to Turkey, where he served as director of operations for the Joint U.S. Military Mission for Aid. Frank was instrumental in assisting the Turkish armed forces in modernizing their equipment and logistic procedures.
From 1980 until his retirement in 1982, Frank was assigned to Fort Lee, VA as the director of Combat Developments and deputy assistant commandant, U.S. Army Quartermaster School.
During his 27 years of active service, Frank held various positions of responsibility in the fields of automated systems management, supply and maintenance management, and procurement. His decorations included the Legion of Merit, Bronze Star, Meritorious Service Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster, Commendation Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster, and two Meritorious Unit awards. He published a seminal article entitled 'Direct Support Unit Standard Supply System (DS4)' in the Army logistician magazine and co-authored a published Department of Defense study on 'The Expanded Role of Enlisted Women in the Armed Forces."
In retirement, Frank had hoped to spend time enjoying travel and relaxing time with his wife, Sandy, whom he adored. It was not to be. In less than a year after Frank retired, Sandy was diagnosed with breast cancer that had metastasized. She died only months after the diagnosis.
Their romance had started during Frank's second plebe year in M-l when his roommate, Wilson Wallace, asked a favor. Would Frank please escort his little sister when she came with their mother for a visit for the weekend? With reluctance and a healthy bit of trepidation, Frank agreed to do so. Well, it was love at first site. Frank and Sandy dated exclusively for the next four years, and on June 10, 1955, one week after graduation, Alida Alexandria (Sandy) Wallace became Mrs. Frank J. Robertson. Sandy was a bubbly, warm person and a loyal and extremely effective Army wife, mother, and companion. Their marriage produced two sons: Frank Jr. in 1958 and Wallace 'Wally' Jon in 1961.
After Sandy's death, Frank became a realtor and spent considerable time in community activities. He was vice president of the Tidewater Retired Officers Association, where he established a continuing $500 annual merit scholarship for a local student who entered ROTC. Eventually he moved to South Carolina to be closer to his four grandchildren. A major effort on his part there was forming and becoming the president of the South Carolina Grand Stand Chapter of the West Point Society. Unfortunately, his activities were significantly curtailed when he was diagnosed with diabetes in 2003. In late January of 2004, Frank suffered a fall which resulted in a serious arm fracture. While recovering in the hospital, he suffered an embolism and died. Life was not always kind, Robbie, but your part was well done. Be Thou at Peace.
TAPS Memorial Article