Telling Alaska’s Story: World War II veteran featured on the VA’s Wall of Heroes
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - At the Veteran’s Administration Clinic in Anchorage there’s a wall reserved for heroes. The wall has photographs of veterans who served their country honorably during the World War II and the Korean War eras. One of those faces belongs to R. C. Roberts, a WWII Army veteran who lives in Chugiak.
Roberts is 99 years old, he lives in his own home, by himself, but his granddaughter lives nearby. He remembers being a 17-year-old in Texas in 1942, trying to enlist in the Army with his cousin.
“We was going to volunteer and when we got down to the place I chickened out and he went on,” Roberts said. “And then the next year, when I come 18, they drafted me, and in a year’s time I was overseas.”
Roberts fought in some of the biggest battles of the war, including the invasion of Normandy, France. He remembers landing on Omaha Beach on D-Day, June 6, 1944, and watching soldiers die around him. Roberts, who said he was “praying all the time,” credits his faith with keeping him alive.
After completing three years of service, Roberts left the military. He had earned the rank of Corporal and three bronze stars. He moved first to California and, in 1965 to Alaska where he worked construction.
“This is the best state that I’ve ever been in, and praise Him, I’ve been here ever since,” Roberts said.
Roberts met his wife in Alaska and raised a family, including his great granddaughter who he took into his home when she was just three weeks old. Robert’s granddaughter, Cheryl Jones, said her grandfather was active in his church as well as civic organizations. He worked hard, kept his faith and made his family proud.
“He has such a strong will and determination that you know that’s why he’s lived a strong life,” Jones said.
This coming February, Roberts will turn 100 years old, and the family is planning a big party. They’re proud of the fact that he served his country and that his portrait hangs on the VA Wall of Honor.
Samuel Hudson, Public Affairs Chief for the Alaska VA Healthcare System, said the wall is accepting new photographs. Veterans must be living, served in the World War II or Korean War eras and have a connection to Alaska. People who would like to submit a photo or learn more about the wall can call the public affairs office at (907) 257-5490 or email Samuel.Hudson@va.gov
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