104. General Roscoe Robinson Monument

This monument is part of the Buffalo Soldier Commemorative Area located at 290 Stimson Ave, Fort Leavenworth, KS 66027


General Roscoe Robinson, the first African American four-star general and self-proclaimed “best handball player in the Army,” served in both the Korean and Vietnam Wars and was honored with this Eddie Dixon bust at Fort Leavenworth in 1995. GEN Robinson had previously been on the Buffalo Soldier Monument Committee’s Honorary Board of Directors, which spearheaded the construction of the original memorial. In Korea, GEN Robinson was a platoon leader, rifle company commander, and battalion intelligence officer all in the same year. In Vietnam, he served as a battalion commander. He was promoted to general in 1975 and went on to become the first Black Commander of the 82nd Airborne Division, which he had served in previously, in 1976. In 1982, he was promoted to four-star general and appointed as the U.S. representative at NATO’s Military Command, a position he held for three years until his retirement. GEN Robinson received numerous decorations throughout his service, including but not limited to the Bronze Star, Silver Star, and West Point’s Distinguished Graduate Award.

GEN Robinson’s academic career is equally as impressive as his military one. He completed his bachelor’s at West Point in 1951 before serving in the Korean War, then attended the Command and General Staff College (CGSC) here at Fort Leavenworth and the Army and National War Colleges in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, and Washington D.C.. GEN Robinson went on to earn a master’s degree in Public and International Affairs from the University of Pittsburgh in 1964. There’s a room in one of the buildings at Pitt as well as an auditorium at West Post that are named after him, testaments to his impact on the academic institutions he attended. These achievements of GEN Robinson’s demonstrate how much he valued education in relation to building the leadership skills that he utilized throughout his life, which aligns with the goals of the CGSC. Another interesting fact about him is that one of his adoptive children, now a retired lieutenant colonel, is white. Interracial adoption was extremely rare in the 1960s, and Black families adopting white children was almost unheard of. This points to GEN Robinson’s commitment to building an accepting world, which he practiced not only in the workplace but in all aspects of his life. Notably, as the Army transitioned to being an all-volunteer force and also began to include women more fully, GEN Robinson was at the forefront of ensuring that it was welcoming to all soldiers, regardless of race or gender, so that they would want to remain enlisted and do their best work.

Sources

Patrick, Bethanne Kelly. “Gen. Roscoe Robinson Jr.” Military.com, October 31, 2017. https://www.military.com/army/gen-roscoe-robinson-jr.html.

Riley, Rachael. “Breaking Barriers: Gen. Roscoe Robinson Was Army’s 1st Black General.” Fayetteville Observer. February 8, 2022.  https://www.fayobserver.com/story/news/2022/02/08/who-first-black-african-american-army-general-82nd-airborne-commander-roscoe-robinson/9246390002/.

Russell, Alex. “Posvar Room Dedicated to First Black 4-Star General.” The Pitt News, March 29, 2009. https://pittnews.com/article/21638/archives/posvar-room-dedicated-to-first-black-4-star-general/.