Gagne, Robert Omer, 1LT

Fallen
 
 Photo In Uniform   Service Details
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Last Rank
First Lieutenant
Last Service Branch
Air Defense Artillery
Last Primary MOS
2162-Operations & Training Staff Officer (G3 S3)
Last MOS Group
Adjutant General (Officer)
Primary Unit
1967-1967, HHC, Military Assistance Command Vietnam (MACV)
Service Years
1965 - 1967

Air Defense Artillery


Ranger
First Lieutenant


 Last Photo   Personal Details 

13 kb

Home State
Massachusetts
Massachusetts
Year of Birth
1942
 
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Casualty Info
Home Town
Chicopee, MA
Last Address
Chicopee, MA

Casualty Date
Jul 28, 1967
 
Cause
Hostile, Died of Wounds
Reason
Gun, Small Arms Fire
Location
Bien Hoa (Vietnam)
Conflict
Vietnam War
Location of Interment
Saint Rose De Lima Cemetery - Chicopee, Massachusetts
Wall/Plot Coordinates
24E 012

 Official Badges 




 Unofficial Badges 

Artillery Shoulder Cord


 Military Association Memberships
Vietnam Veterans Memorial
  2013, Vietnam Veterans Memorial [Verified] - Assoc. Page

 Photo Album   (More...


 Ribbon Bar

Combat Infantryman 1st Award
Parachutist (Basic)

 
 Enlisted/Officer Basic Training
  1961, US Military Academy (West Point, NY), D
 Unit Assignments
3rd Battalion, 5th Air Defense ArtilleryMilitary Assistance Command Vietnam MACV
  1965-1965, Basic Airborne Course (BAC) Airborne School
  1965-1966, Army Ranger School
  1966-1967, 3rd Battalion, 5th Air Defense Artillery
  1966-1967, (DLI South-West) Vietnamese Language Course
  1967-1967, HHC, Military Assistance Command Vietnam (MACV)
 Combat and Non-Combat Operations
  1967-1967 Vietnam War/Counteroffensive Phase III Campaign (1967-68)
 Colleges Attended 
United States Military Academy
  1961-1965, United States Military Academy
 Additional Information
Last Known Activity

Robert Omer Gagne

Cullum: 26038
Class: '65
Cadet Company: D2

 

   

FIRST LIEUTENANT ROBERT 0MER GAGNE died from wounds received in action as a member of Advisory Team No. 98 in the Republic of Vietnam. Robert lived his short life dedicated to the Army, his Country and his God. Born 27 November 1942 in Chicopee, Massachusetts, he was the only son of two children born to Mr. and Mrs. Omer A. Gagne. He attended elementary school at St. George’s Parochial School where he graduated first in his class. He participated in the Boy Scouts, played baseball, and was President of his Class. He then attended Chicopee High School where he excelled in football and tennis. Upon graduation he was honored by the American Legion Post 452 for his excellence in sports and high academic rating. He received his appointment to the Academy through a competitive examination given by Congressman Boland of the 3d Congressional District.
 

Robert had an outgoing personality. He formed lasting friendships but had strong likes and dislikes and was ready to argue the pros and cons of issues with anyone. The following quotation from the HOWITZER sums up his personality, “While he spent his time at West Point in search of Academic excellence, this search was often interrupted by a bridge game, or anything else that seemed like fun at the time.” This was true, but while fun loving and a believer in the comforts of life, his “easy going” ways covered a seriousness and determination of mind that was not easily detected by persons who did not know him well. His completion of Airborne and Ranger training, for example, surprised many of his classmates who thought he would not make it, but Bob was not one to give up easily.
 

After attending branch school at Fort Bliss, Texas, and completing Airborne and Ranger School he was assigned to Battery A, 5th Artillery (Air Defense), at Windsor Locks, Connecticut, where he served for one year. The missile site being only a few miles from home, Bob’s family were fortunate to have him live at home, for which they thank God. It was a happy year, one in which Bob and his Dad grew closer together and exchanged ideas about the Army, as his Dad is Sergeant Major of the 104th Infantry, Massachusetts National Guard, Springfield Armory. Father and son had much in common.
 

After receiving his assignment to Vietnam, he went to Fort Bragg for six weeks training and then to language school at the Defense Language Institute Support Command, Biggs Field, Texas. Bob arrived in Saigon on 29 June 1967 and was assigned to the 98th Advisory Team in Tan Uyan. He quickly won the respect and friendship of his fellow team members and the Vietnamese with whom he worked and was able to influence and assist them in many ways. He unhesitatingly accepted the dangers inherent in combat operations. Wounded on 18 July 1967 in a search and destroy mission, he died on 28 July 1967. Robert was a devoted son. This was apparent in his every act. His family have suffered a great loss. He will forever hold a respected place in the memory of all those who knew him no matter how briefly.
 

First Lieutenant Robert 0. Gagne was awarded posthumously the following decorations: Bronze Star Medal with “V” Device, the Purple Heart, the Combat Infantryman Badge, the Government of the Republic of Vietnam National Order of Vietnam, Fifth Class, and the Gallantry Cross with Palm.

This page is provided as a service by West-Point.Org.
   
Comments/Citation
Vietnam Wall Panel coords 24E 012
 
THE CHICOPEE FLASH: Last night, about midnight, I went to The Wall. I went to visit our 23 West Point classmates who were killed in Vietnam. They were all there: our First Captain, Bob Arvin; our class comic, Patrick O’Toole; our first fatality, Gary Kadetz, whose death had been a great personal shock when I had tripped over his body bag, another midnight, at the airstrip at Cu Chi. But last night I went, mostly, to see my roommate from senior year: “The Chicopee Flash.” Bob’s nickname was a deliberate misnomer. He was from Chicopee, but he was no flash. Like Patton, it took him five years to get through West Point. Unlike Patton, Bob was slow and laid back, in part because of his natural inclinations, and in part because he was overweight. He was seldom on time, seldom had his shoes shined, and was at the bottom of the class in both academics and military aptitude. He was “Mr. No Sweat,” and he loved to play cribbage. The perspectives now are changing as we change and get older. I started to cry and turned away from The Wall. Finally smoked a cigarette Ranger School style between cupped hands, and I found a new perspective as I faced out from the wall that Jack Wheeler, the freshman across the hall, had built.

The perspective of the Chicopee Flash looks out from The Wall at the Hart statue of the three soldiers, and the Women’s Memorial. To the left, the Washington Monument, to the right, the Lincoln. Two of our finest Presidents, and the Chicopee Flash shares the mall with them, and our other classmates, the other members of the Long Grey Line who gave their lives in Vietnam—and the 58,000 other soldiers, men and women, whose service The Wall honors. And I thought, my God, what a privilege, what an honor, to have roomed with the Chicopee Flash, the Corps of Cadets’ finest cribbage player, who was also one of our country’s finest soldiers.

When I was a child, I climbed the steps of the Washington Monument, the fewer steps of the Lincoln, and dreamed, intermittently, of the idea of West Point that I had seen in pictures. And in my life it was my great privilege to play cribbage with a man who now has a monument alongside those two Presidents; the Vietnam memorial had not been there when I was a child. The radiators banged, the minute callers yelled the number of minutes remaining until formation, and we still played cribbage, oblivious to the legacy that would be ours, the shared service to country, or the monument the would be his own, The Chicopee Flash. He graduated before the weight rules were that strictly enforced and he weighed 230 when he got to Fort Benning. He ate only one steak and drank only water each day of jump school and still lost nothing. Despite that, he made it through, earned his parachute wings, and then soldiered on through Ranger School, losing only five pounds in the process. It took courage and it took guts, but he made the mark and went on to lead our soldiers in Vietnam.

But the weight finally got him. It complicated a stomach wound from a small caliber rifle bullet that would not heal, and things got worse, and after thirteen days, there was no more cribbage, here, for The Chicopee Flash. And we miss him. And Bob Arvin and Patty O’Toole, and Gary Kadetz, and all the others. We mourn their loss—we each deal with those losses in various ways. A trip to The Wall, as Jack Wheeler intended, really will help heal the nation—and the individual. Bob was an unlikely hero, but he was a hero. How fortunate we were to have known him, how much richer our lives for his sacrifice, and our collective service. And now his name is on the mall, on The Wall, next to the monuments with the names of Washington and Lincoln. And I suspect this midnight, in Heaven, it’s after Taps, and Bob Gagne’s got the blanket over the windows, and he’s running the biggest cribbage tournament up there. And I’ll bet they still call him. . .The Chicopee Flash.
**********
Posted by: LTC John K. Swensson; USA, Ret
 
   
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