Flag Flies for Rick Robinson

Flag Flies for Rick Robinson photo

In its mission to take history out of the textbooks by honoring a local veteran each month of the school year, the Hampton Bays School District is paying tribute to Army veteran Rick Robinson by flying an American flag in his honor throughout the month of February.

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

Members of the Hampton Bays High School Select Choir opened the Feb. 15 ceremony at Hampton Bays Elementary School with the national anthem, later following with a performance of Duke Ellington’s “It Don’t Mean a Thing.” High school senior Kevin McNamara read Robinson’s bio, and county and town officials presented the honoree with several proclamations. The ceremony culminated with the raising of the flag on the school’s flagpole.  

Robinson was born in Brooklyn in 1966. He moved to Hampton Bays in 1998 and worked in the telecommunications industry in Manhattan.

Shortly before 2007, Robinson started to feel a need to serve his country. His consideration for joining the service was reinforced when his twin brother joined the Navy at age 39. Motivated by his brother’s influence and stories, he decided to join the Army at 40 years old. It was a difficult process, since the Army typically recruits at a younger age.  

Despite the odds, Robinson would not take “no” for an answer and pursued every possible avenue to enlist. In 2007, he joined the Army National Guard, a reserve component of the U.S. Army, and completed his combined basic training and advanced individual training at Fort Benning, Georgia, aka the “Home of the Infantry.” There, he was affably nicknamed “the old man” for being much older than the other recruits, as well as his drill sergeants. Older did not mean inferior for Robinson, however, was rated in the upper half of the training platoon of 54 soldiers. His personal drive and sense of commitment to the Army drove his performance in training, and his success contributed to the unit receiving the Honor Platoon Award for being the best in the company.

After completing basic and advanced training, Robinson graduated with the MOS 11B, part of the Army Infantry. His first assignment was to B Company of the famous Fighting 69th Infantry Regiment, which originally gained its fame for its fighting spirit during the American Civil War.

In April 2008, Robinson volunteered to join with C Troop, 101st Cavalry Regiment, and was deployed to Afghanistan as part of Task Force Phoenix Seven. He was stationed at Forward Operating Base Hughey in Nangarhar Province, Jalalabad. During this deployment, he served as a gunner in the turret of a Humvee, utilizing 50-caliber and M240 weapons systems in support of ground troops and convoys. He spent nine months in Afghanistan.

Upon his return to the States, Robinson was again assigned to B Company, 69th Infantry Regiment this time on Long Island. In 2010, his unit was reassigned to Japan to train with the Japanese Defense Forces in combined operations. During the remainder of his service, where he was back in the U.S., his unit was twice activated for state emergencies that included protecting airports and train stations after the Boston Marathon bombing with the objective of deterring other acts of terrorism.

Robinson was honorably discharged in January 2017 after 10 years of service. He currently supports the local community by working at Stony Brook Southampton Hospital, and he is an active member of the American Legion – Hampton Bays Post 924 and the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 5350.