Chamberlain, Robert Lee
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August 29, 1924 - April 2, 2012
Longtime Ithaca resident Bob Chamberlain, of Pasadena, CA, died on April 2, 2012 with family at his side. He served as Commanding Officer and Professor of Military Science at Cornell University, before retiring from the Army in Ithaca in 1975. He operated his own real estate business and loved sailing and racing sailboats with his wife, Grace, and their friends and family on Cayuga Lake and Lake Ontario. Bob's wife, Grace, passed away September 25, 1997. They were married for 52 years. After her death, he moved to Laguna Niguel, CA, a favorite area for both of them. He earned a B.A. in Journalism from the University of Michigan, where he was a distinguished military graduate of the ROTC program and an M.A. in History from Michigan State University. He completed coursework at the US Army Command and General Staff College, Ft. Leavenworth, KS and the US Army War College, Carlisle Barracks, PA. Commissioned in the Regular Army on January 1, 1950, he entered active duty with the 29th Infantry Regiment on Okinawa. As a young second lieutenant, he successfully led a 40-man unit (part of the 27th Infantry Regiment, 25th Infantry Division) in combat in the Korean War. He was especially proud of being a paratrooper who could motivate his men to "Stand up, hook up" and execute the most standing landings. He was stationed in Germany twice and served two tours of duty in Viet Nam. On his second tour (1971) as Chief of Special Plans, Military Assistance Command, he was responsible for the staff planning for the withdrawal of all U.S. Forces in Vietnam. (Operations Mekong Delta) Colonel Chamberlain's awards include the Silver Star, Legion of Merit with two Oak Leaf Clusters, Bronze Star, Joint Service Commendation Medal (with OLC), the Purple Heart (with OLC) and awards and decorations from the governments of Cambodia, Korea, and Vietnam. He is survived by his daughter, Terry (Eden) Slegr, Sierra Madre, CA; son Chip (Diana), Ithaca, NY; son Andy (Marianne), Troy, MI; eight grandchildren and one great-grandson. A private service will be held in Ithaca later this year. A memorial bench at Taughannock Park commemorates the lives of both Bob and Grace, a perfect place to sit and remember these two wonderful people who are so deeply loved and missed. A Memorial Gift can be made to The Alzheimer's Organization or the USO (United Services Organization).
Published in Ithaca Journal on Apr. 12, 2012