Flag Flies for Robert Fabula

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In its mission to bring history to life, the Hampton Bays School District honors a local veteran every month of the school year by flying an American flag in their honor. Throughout the month of March, the district paid such tribute to Vietnam veteran Robert Fabula. 

“The district is proud to honor Mr. Fabula for his bravery and service to the United States,” Superintendent of Schools Lars Clemensen said. 

The March honoree was recognized with a ceremony at Hampton Bays Elementary School on March 16. Highlights of the event included a reading of Fabula’s biography, musical presentations by the Hampton Bays Middle School Harmonizers, and readings of Elks Americanism essays written by middle school students Paige Hopson and Kyli Villa. The ceremony culminated with a special high school diploma presentation to Fabula, followed by the raising of the flag in his honor.  

Robert Fabula grew up in Bayonne, New Jersey. Self-reliant as a youth, his schooling ended after the seventh grade, and he joined the Marine Corps in 1965 at the age of 17. The Marines provided structure and focus for Fabula, and he proudly graduated from boot camp at Parris Island in the rank of private first class.

After boot camp, he went to Camp Geiger in North Carolina for infantry training and then an assignment to the 3rd Battalion, 2nd Marines. After six months of cruising the Mediterranean, Pfc. Fabula wanted action and volunteered for Vietnam. Once he turned 18, the age required to volunteer, he served a one-year tour in Vietnam with Hotel Company, 2nd Battalion, 7th Marines. 

In Vietnam, Fabula was a fire-team leader for a four-man group on numerous insurgency patrols that included eight named operations. His first posting was Chu Lai. He was promoted to lance corporal and then corporal at this time. He also received his GED. 

After Chu Lai, Fabula was assigned to a listening post in Da Nang and was charged with detecting encroaching Viet Cong. His job was to clear the jungle of hostiles, but this was not an easy task. The “peaceful villagers” during the day became Viet Cong at night. So, the Marines required villagers to carry a light at night – those without a lamp were presumed to be Viet Cong. 

Times were tense, and there were several close calls. One day when separated and walking back to his unit, Fabula was greeted with shouts of “Du’ng lai” (“stop”). He made known who he was but was accosted by three shots, one of which ripped his helmet off.  When he retrieved his helmet the next morning, he saw one side had been peeled like a banana. 
In July 1967, at the age of 19, Fabula returned to the United States and was promoted to sergeant. He was assigned to the Military Police Corps at the Marine base at Quantico, Virginia, and remained in this position until his honorable discharge on March 20, 1969 —  the day before his 21st birthday. 

Always hardworking, Fabula worked for Bayonne General Cable, Bayonne City Parks and the Clorox Company from 1969 to 1977. From 1977 to 1998, he worked for Meadowlands Sports and Exposition Authority and Giants Stadium, initially as a stock clerk and then in the cleaning department. In 1983, he married his wife, Susan. 

From 1998 to 2002, Fabula worked for Chateau Construction as a project manager, and from 2003 to 2014, he worked for the Town of Southampton as a custodian. He has since retired and is now an active member of American Legion Hand-Aldrich Post 924 and the Knights of Columbus in Hampton Bays.