Born Robert B. Merz on 4 December 1920 in Elizabeth, Union County, New Jersey.
He enlisted (ASN: 12093765) as a Private in the Army Air Corps on 26 June 1942 at Newark, New Jersey. He was selected for aviation cadet training and assigned to the 38th Flying Training Wing; completing pre-flight ground school, Primary and Basic flight training.
Graduated with Class 43-J for Advanced multi-engine flight training at Marfa Army Air Field, Texas and was commissioned a Second Lieutenant (ASN: O-758601) in the USAAF. Subsequently, he underwent B-29 aircraft operational combat crew training at Smoky Hill Army Air Field near Salina, Kansas.
In September 1944, he deployed from Mather Field, California (with re-fueling stops at Hawaii and Kwajalein Atoll in the Marshall Islands) to the central pacific theatre of operations and was assigned to 20th Air Force, XXI Bomber Command, 73rd Bomb Wing, 499th Bombardment Group (VH), 877th Bomb Squadron stationed at Isley Field on Saipan in the Mariana Islands.
On 2 April 1945, he flew in the right seat as a Pilot aboard a Boeing B-29 Super Fortress (nicknamed Jug Haid II) tail code V-Square-2 (serial #42-24650) of the 877th Bomb Squadron.
It was one of 115 aircraft launched in a multi-group formation to bombard the Nakajima aircraft plant near Tokyo, Japan. After a flight of approximately six hours and some 1,200 nautical miles, his aircraft reached their check-point above Mount Fuji on the main island of Honshu, and began their bomb-run north-east towards Tokyo. His aircraft was hit with flak from anti-aircraft artillery while over the target area, and crashed in Ituka, near Kawasaki City in the Kanagawa Prefecture of Japan.
He was initially listed as MIA, and declared Killed-In-Action after the war ended.