Robert was born in Smith Valley, Indiana and joined the army in 1943. He trained as a navigator at Selman AAF, and was commissioned a 2LT in the USAAF in 1944. He was released from service in 1946, but he was recalled into the USAF in 1951 as a 1LT. In the late 1960s, he was the commander of the 4453rd Maintenance and Electronics Squadron at Davis-Monthan AFB in Tucson, AZ. He served until his retirement in 1970 as a lieutenant colonel.