Bob Fuellhart

8/12/1965  Bob & Jan Fuellhart
Army’s Lonely End in 1960 and 1961 upon the Graduation of Bill Carpenter. In ’61 he was banged up with injuries but was still a hard nosed defensive back. Killed in Action 12 August 1965 the same day his Daughter was born.


Cullum No. 24324-1962 | August 12, 1965 | Died in Vietnam

Interred in West Point Cemetery, West Point, NY

“Although he became famous as Army’s ‘Lonesome End,’ the gridiron was not the only field on which he excelled.” In this thumbnail reference to Bob Fuellhart at graduation, the 1962 Howitzer added, “We will always remember his ready laugh and good humor.”

Three years later, war correspondent Jimmy Breslin reported from Vietnam: “Fuellhart, big boned and well over six feet…was a known sports page name…but he never talked about football. He talked about being a soldier and going into action.”

Born in Tionesta, Pennsylvania, on 12 January 1939, Bob, during his early schooling and through to his graduation at the Kiskiminetas Preparatory School, developed the stamina, the sense of timing, and the dynamism for “hard hitting” action, in short, the prowess and the mold of character which foreshadowed his impressive athletic record and his leadership accomplishments at the US. Military Academy.

Bracketed with these years of schooling and vigorous physical pursuits, the military service of Bob Fuellhart is in marked harmony with the philosophy of the Duke of Wellington’s capsuled critique: “The battle of Waterloo was won on the playing fields of Eton.”

Bob did not live to wear the stars of a general officer as predicted in the 1962 Howitzer. He was killed in the far south of Vietnam, as an advisor to a Vietnamese battalion, while directing an air strike in support of his group that was battling the Viet Cong at a place called Phong Hiep in the Mekong Delta area.

A memorial resolution, adopted by the Pennsylvania House of Representatives, referred to Bob’s last mission as “an inspiring story of duty, courage, and devotion to country, in the highest traditions of the Army.”

And behind this dedicated performance, there should be chronicled the serious bent of a mature, earnest young officer, with the athletic fields behind him as a distant memory, ever striving to deepen his knowledge and to strengthen his effectiveness as a leader of men in combat.

He elected to become and was accepted as a Ranger. He attended the Airborne, Jumpmaster, Ranger, and Special Warfare Schools, and he studied the Vietnamese language at the Defense Language Institute. After service with the 25th Division at Schofield Barracks, his final assignment was with the 44th Ranger Battalion, Can Tho, South Vietnam.

Recognition of his devoted service and outstanding military character came with a posthumous promotion to the rank of captain. He had also been awarded the Purple Heart, the Bronze Star with “V,” an Oak Leaf Cluster to the Bronze Star, and the Silver Star by his own country, and from Vietnam, that country’s Gallantry Cross with Palm Leaf, and National Order Medal, Fifth Class.

Beyond this story of an unusually creditable performance of a young combat officer, there lies a deeply touching feature.

Two hours before the fatal turn in Vietnam, back in the United States, a baby girl was born to Bob’s young and pretty wife Jan, an Armed Service Junior, daughter of Colonel John A. Bell, U. S. Air Force. Due to jungle battle conditions, word never reached Bob.

However, to this daughter he has left a legacy, and to the Army, another stone in the great mound of high tradition, the memory of a brief but outstanding military career, of epic devotion to duty.

He was buried at the U. S. Military Academy with full military honors. His attachment to West Point was deep and abiding.

In addition to his wife Jan, and daughter Jami Lee, Captain Fuellhart is survived by his parents Mr. and Mrs. R.H. Fuellhart Sr., of Tionesta, Pennsylvania, and by two sisters and two brothers.

—James Kepler Davis Rear Admiral, USN, Ret.

80 – End — Fall of 59

Bobby became first team All-American at close defense and won the Schmeisser Award as the outstanding defense man of 1962.

Former Classic Stars in Action

The list of ex-Army Players grows: Pete-Dawkins To Blanda, Bill Carpenter, Dick Eckert, Glenn Blumhard, Monk Hilliard, all in Viet Nam And there was Bob Fuellhart. Maybe not all the buffs among the 102,000 will remember the name quickly, although he came three times to Broad St. pageant. He was a lean-jawed, solid kid who grew up at Tionesta, a village in the bear and deer country of Western Pennsylvania. He had been a hurdler and broad jumper at Kiski Prep before going to West Point.

Because of his fine speed, Fuellhart played the “Lonesome End” behind Bill Carpenter his first season at Army, It was ironic. Carpenter an advisor in Viet Nam for 13 months when few people could even find the Mekong Delta on a map, was wounded twice. He is now an instructor at Fort Knox, KY. and wears the Bronze and Silver star.

Fuellhart’s trips to Philadelphia were not cheerful ones. His teams lost three times to Navy. The last one was in 1961, a day memorable because Of John Kennedy’s halftime promenade across a blustery, cold field without a topcoat. Navy took that one, 13-7, although cramped by injuries, was a rangy, bitter figure on defense.

That’s how they later remembered him in Viet Nam. His Vietnamese troops called Fuellhart “The Long One,” and not only because his six-foot height towered over the 100-Pound natives. With a long cigar and the red beret of the 44th Ranger Battalion, Fuellhart was not hard to spot and he astonished the Vietnamese by standing up in battle to direct air strikes.

Large Target, Big Courage

He did it at least twice. Once he climbed out of a water-filled ditch to Point out Viet Cong targets for striking fighters. He was a large target, and Viet Cong fire shattered a banana tree over him showering leaves and debris. “It took a lot of courage ” ,said an American captain who recommended the Bronze Star, “especially for an officer in his first combat.”

On Aug. 12 Fuellhart’s jungle fighting unit ran into strong Viet Cong fire near a hamlet of thatched shacks called Phung Heip. The Viet Cong had armored carriers and an American machine gun, and it was taking a toll.

“Not as much fire at my end,” Fuellhart radioed to Capt. Jerry Devlin. “Maybe we can move in.” “Wait for another air strike”, said Devlin. Fuellhart, standing up in the mud with the radio strapped to his back, was talking to the helicopters as they hit the tree line. He went to his knees, struck by a bullet. He died a n hour before his wife, Jan, home in Tionesta, gave birth to a girl. Rabble – 1965 By Tom Sargeant, Staff Writer

The ties that bind Army Athletes

In 1952, Cadet Joe Austin of the U.S. Military Academy Lacrosse Team used a six foot stick while playing crease attack. Joe made an all-time West Point record of ten goals in one game and had a career total of eighty goals for three years of play which (when the story was told) was still a school record. He was selected 1st team All-American at attack.

In 1962, the then Captain Joe Austin of the United States Air Force, was an assistant coach of the Army Lacrosse Team. Bob Fuellhart ’62, the second Lonely End, (following Bill Carpenter) on the Football Team, was playing on the Army Lacrosse Team as a defense man. Bob became very distressed when his favorite stick was broken in scrimmage. Assistant Coach Joe Austin, who had treasured his six foot high scoring attack stick for ten years generously loaned it to Fuellhart.

The head of the stick was much narrower than we liked for defensive use in those days but Bob felt that it helped his throwing and catching. (Today almost every defense stick has a head of this size which put Bobby much ahead of his time.) Appropriately, Fuellhart became first team All-American at close defense and won the Schmeisser Award as the outstanding defense man of 1962. Bill Carpenter was recipient of the Schmeisser Award in 1960.

This would seem to be quite a rarity for two players Joe and Bob, in two opposite positions, ten years apart, utilizing the same stick to become outstanding players of their times. Both Joe Austin and Bob Fuellhart were killed in the Vietnam War in the mid 1960’s.

Joe Austin, awarded 2 Silver Stars, Distinguished Flying Cross, and Purple Heart was first declared missing 19 March 1969, and confirmed Killed In Action 25 May 79.

Bill Carpenter was nominated for the Medal of Honor received the Distinguished Service Cross.

Bob Fuellhart, awarded a Silver Star, 2 Bronze Stars (V), and Purple Heart, was Killed in Action 12 Aug 65, the day his daughter was born.

A Half Century of Lacrosse by William H. (Dinty) Moore III, the long-time Lacrosse Coach at Navy. It was told to Moore by Army Coach Jim (Ace) Adams. Edited by Butch Darrell Captain 1962 Lacrosse Team

Pa. Team Members 1959

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