BROKEN BOW–Citizens lined the roadway on Wednesday morning proudly holding American flags as the funeral procession led R. Paul Robison to his final resting place at the Broken Bow Cemetery. A private graveside service was held for the Broken Bow man and military veteran who served during World War II. Robison survived as a prisoner of war for 16 months after he and fellow crew members aboard a B-17 fighter plane were shot down in 1944.
Paul received a Purple Heart, an Air Medal, and a Presidential Unit Citation for his service in the Army Air-Corp and was the last of “The Passionate Witch” crew to pass away (May 16, 2020).
Robison returned to Broken Bow and lived a life as a husband to Anna, a father to Mike, a grandfather, and great-grandfather. He worked for the old J.C. Penney store, the United States Postal Service, Security State Bank, and the First Presbyterian Church. Click here to view the full obituary provided by Govier Brothers Mortuary.
Veterans Service Officer Emory Haynes shared his comments regarding the passing of Mr. Robison:
What can a simple Veterans’ Service Officer say about a man like Raymond Paul Robison that does him justice. He’s one of those men from America’s Greatest Generation who truly did put it all on the line to serve his country and ultimately did his part, above and beyond, to help save the world from the tyranny of Hitler’s Nazi Germany. We future generations of Americans had the good fortune to see him survive the war and the POW experience, and come back to us to share his experiences.
I feel an extra sense of pride in my own U.S. Air Force service knowing that Paul was a B-17 gunner in the U.S. Army Air Corps, parent service to the USAF. I also feel a profound sense of humility learning of what he endured as a POW. I feel a strong sense of responsibility to honor and remember him properly. A few years ago I had the chance to talk with Paul about some of his experiences in the Army Air Corps and as a POW. I wish my memory was better, so many details have faded over time, but I do remember that it was a very interesting conversation. Somehow the subject of him and his fellow POWs eating “black bread” with sawdust in it sticks in my mind and his statement, “We were glad to have it” made me feel pretty guilty about any complaints I’d ever made against dried pork patty MREs in Korea during my own Air Force days in the 1980s.
I could sense his pride in his service as B-17 gunner, and his determination to survive the trials of captivity. It’s hard to imagine what it must have felt like to be paraded at gunpoint through German villages on your way to an unknown fate at the hands of your enemy, and then to ultimately endure captivity and the uncertainties of surviving a forced march in captivity with a desperate enemy who had come to realize that they were staring down the barrel of defeat. These are things we only read about, or see in movies now, but Paul Robison lived it. I hope that we have all learned enough from him and others like him because our Greatest Generation is fast disappearing. Please take pride and be humbled by the memory of this man.
Emory L. Haynes
Custer/Blaine/Loup County VSO