10th CAB Soldier receives surprise welcome home from World War II veteran grandfather
January 16, 2014
FORT DRUM, N.Y. - As Staff Sgt. Russell S. Robinsky marched into the hangar at Wheeler-Sack Army Airfield, Fort Drum, on Friday he knew it wouldn't be long before he would be reunited with his Family after a nine-month deployment to eastern Afghanistan.
What he did not know was that a very special person in his life had made the trip from Hampton Roads, Va., for his welcome home ceremony. After all, the recent severe winter weather had shut down most of the area the past few days.
After the formation of nearly 180 Soldiers from 10th Combat Aviation Brigade was released to their Families, the aviation mechanic from B Company, 277th Aviation Support Battalion, Task Force Phoenix, found his wife and daughter, hugged them and then looked up to see his grandmother and grandfather, a World War II U.S. Navy veteran.
"When I saw my grandfather, it was exhilarating, amazing," said Robinsky, his face beaming. "I was like, 'Oh my God, they're here!"
Edward J. Robinsky Sr. and his wife, Delores J., began their trek the day before the ceremony.
They said they were slowed significantly by the extremely cold temperatures and blowing snow that affected much of the Northeast and mid-Atlantic earlier in the week.
"We ran into lots of bad weather," said Russell Robinsky's dad, Edward J. "Butch" Robinsky Jr. "It was a nail-biting situation."
Robinsky Jr. said his son and his father, who served two years in the Pacific during World War II and retired as a chief damage controlman after 23 years of service, especially bonded when Russell and his older brother, Mark, were younger.
"Russell was notorious for breaking things," Robinsky Jr. said. "Pop could fix it before he got in trouble."
Mark Robinsky recalled their grandfather teaching him and his brother how to swim.
Military service has the tightened the bond between grandfather and grandson.
Although the senior Robinsky has not spoken much about his combat experiences with his son, Robinsky Jr. said he believes his father has shared these poignant experiences with his grandson.
"Before Russell deployed, he and Pop went for a walk and had a talk," said Robinsky Jr. "All Pop would say was 'I need to have a talk.' Russell came over later and said that what they talked about was between them."
Robinsky Jr. said he had an idea of what his father was sharing with his grandson when he looked out and they were hugging.
"The only story he told me was when he and one of his close friends were on a PT boat and they forgot something," said Robinsky Jr. "My father told them, 'I will go get it.' He no more than took a step and a Japanese sniper killed (his friend)."
Robinsky Sr., who said he dropped out of high school midway through his senior year before being drafted into the Navy, recalled his apprehension of learning his grandson had enlisted in the Army after two years in Reserve Officer Training Corps.
"It killed me. I wanted to chew him out," he said, before adding that although he believes his grandson would have made a great officer, he is, nonetheless, proud of his patriotism.
The 10th CAB is wrapping up its nine-month deployment to eastern and northern Afghanistan where the unit provided aviation support, to include close air, reconnaissance, escort and passenger and cargo transport through- out the region.
Several flights are scheduled throughout January to return the remainder of the unit to Fort Drum.