SCHWEITZER, ROBERT JAMES Deceased Name:Robert James Schweitzer Rank/Branch: United States Navy/O5 Unit: Date of Birth: Pennsylvania Home City of Record: Philadelphia PA Date of Loss: 05 January 1968 Country of Loss: North Vietnam Loss Coordinates: 204900 North 1064100 East Status (in 1973): Returnee Category: Aircraft/Vehicle/Ground: A4E Missions: Other Personnel in Incident: Refno: Source: Compiled by P.O.W. NETWORK from one or more of the following: raw data from U.S. Government agency sources, correspondence with POW/MIA families, published sources, interviews. REMARKS: 730314 RELEASED BY DRV
SOURCE: WE CAME HOME copyright 1977 Captain and Mrs. Frederic A Wyatt (USNR Ret), Barbara Powers Wyatt, Editor P.O.W. Publications, 10250 Moorpark St., Toluca Lake, CA 91602 Text is reproduced as found in the original publication (including date and spelling errors). ROBERT J. SCHWEITZER Commander - United States Navy Shot Down: January 5, 1968 Released: March 14, 1973 I was born and raised in upstate Pennsylvania - graduated from Germantown High School in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1950. I enlisted in the U.S. Navy in June 1950; served at the U.S. Naval Air Station, Willow Grove, Pennsylvania until February 1952. I took flight training as a Naval Aviation Cadet at NAS Pensacola, Florida and NAS Corpus Christi, Texas. Finishing in June 1953, I was commissioned an Ensign, USNR and designated Naval Aviator. From August 1953 to August 1956 I flew with Attack Squadron 95, flying A-1 's at NAS Alameda, California and two WESTPAC cruises aboard U.S.S. HORNET CVA-12 and U.S.S. ORISKANY CVA-34. From September 1956 to August 1959 I served as Flight and Academic Instructor at NAS Whiting Field, Milton, Florida; from then until January 1962 I was on the staff of the Commander-in-Chief, U.S. Pacific Fleet, Pearl Harbor. From February 1962 to December 1964 my assignment was Attack Squadron 155, flying A-4's at NAS Lemoore, California and two WESTPAC cruises aboard U.S.S. CORAL SEA CVA-43 and U.S.S. KEARSARGE CVS-33. In February 1965 and until December 1966, I served as Officer Assignment Officer, Bureau of Naval Personnel, Washington, D.C. (with ex-POWs Capt. By Fuller, Commander Ev Southwick and Commander Ed Estes). My last assignment began in January 1967. On 5 January 1968, while flying A-4's with Attack Squadron 144 at NAS Lemoore, California and aboard U.S.S. Kitty Hawk CVA-63, I was shot down and captured by the North Vietnamese. From that date until 14 March 1973 my residence was the Hanoi Hilton. During this incarceration, my wife, Gwen, and my parents, Mr. and Mrs. Fred L. Schweitzer of Oreland, Pennsylvania were extremely active in POW-MIA affairs, making appearances, speeches and distributing bracelets. I married the former Gwen Yelland of Clarksburg, California on 15 September 1956. Our two sons, Karl and Eric, were born on 1 January 1959 and 30 October 1960, respectively. When a man returns from a long, frustrating period of degradation, deceit and misinformation, he is subconsciously apprehensive of changes in his homeland. To be sure, the new clothing styles, grooming habits, "liberation" of magazines and entertainment media could all have a "shock" effect - until you realize that these are only surface indicators of a new awareness, a new reality, a new concern for people. This was poignantly demonstrated by the spontaneous, overwhelming outpouring of love and pride bestowed upon us returning POWs at every stop on our route and continuing here at home. I have never felt so humble nor so proud of my country and especially, my countrymen. Though we have problems and dissentions, this new awareness, reality and concern will certainly bind us and our efforts for a better America and a better world. Cdr. Schweitzer died in an automobile accident 24 January 1974. He was promoted to Captain posthumously and buried at sea from USS Ranger, 4 February 1974. To the last he was making speeches to tell of his experiences and to generate concern for the MIA 's.