HEROES
#19 in a series
TC 1/c Donald Michael Robl, Marshfield Wisconsin
By Paul A. Roales



In 2014 I acquired a photo scrapbook belonging to TC 1/c Robl who served in the Navy in the Pacific in WW2. It contains 336 photos of ships, friends, and family. A few have information written below them in the scrapbook, or on the reverse...but most do not.

Donald Michael Robl was born 10 Jun 1919 in Marshfield Wisconsin. He enlisted in the Navy on 6 Nov 1940. He was assigned to the USS Vincennes (CA-44) on 7/20/41 as a Seaman 2/c. He was a GM3/c on the Vincennes when she was sunk on Aug 9, 1942 near Savo Island. He survived the sinking and was assigned to the USS Santa Fe (CL-60) when she was commissioned on November 24, 1942. He remained on the Santa Fe for the rest of the war gradually being promoted to TC 1/c (Turrent Captain, Petty Officer First Class). On Feb. 27, 1946 he was transfered to the USS Guam (CB-2) and later to the USS Fargo (CL-106) for her post-war cruise of the Mediterranean Sea. He returned to the US aboard the U.S. Army Transport SS Thomas H Barry and was discharged on 5 Jan 1947.

He married Joan Revi in 1946 (that is his wedding photo on the left) and they had three sons. She preceded him in death. After his enlistment he worked for International Telephone and Telegraph as a repair technician. He died 19 Jun 1997 in Springfield, Ohio.

The photo below was taken from Robl's scrapbook. It was taken on the USS Santa Fe (CL-60). In case you cannot read the writing around the picture it says: "Survivors of Vincennes still on the Santa Fe. Taken Nov. 30, 1945". On the back of the photo are the signatures and rank of nine of the sixteen men pictured. Interestingly this same photo was printed in the book A LOG OF THE VINCENNES by Donald H. Dorris and Others (The Standard Printing Company, 1947). Their copy of the picture was provided by Earnest M Riggins GM 1/c of the USS Santa Fe...his signature is the second one on the back of my copy of the photo as a USS Vincennes survivor. About 100 sailors that survived the sinking of the USS Vincennes were assigned to the USS Santa Fe when she was commissioned. In that book Riggins states: "In this picture you can see men who have been awarded every medal from the Commendation Letter, Purple Heart, Bronze Star, and the Silver Star. Do not get the idea that I am bragging now, as I just want you to know The Old Vinny Spirit did not go down". He also identified all 16 men: himself (first man stooping at far left), E. J. Ridgeway, Charles L. Zanny (next to last in front row), F. J. Savel, A. W. Luczynski, Luke G. Lee, Eugene Livingston, R. V. Brown, W. E. Donald, W. E. Pewitt, J. M. Yawn, F. W. Palenski, K. L. Fisher, W. V. Babbitt, Floyd Sutton, and Donald Robl (misidentified as Donald Robb). Note that one of the men who signed my copy of this photo is NOT identified by Riggins. He is Marion L. Sorrels. So there may be some confusion in the identities.

Shown below are two views of the USS Vincennes (CA-44) from Robl's scrapbook.





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