WWII Hero is #1 Cubs Fan - Marion VA Medical Center
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Marion VA Medical Center

 

WWII Hero is #1 Cubs Fan

Proud WWII Veteran shows off his medals and Cubbie regalia

Proud WWII Veteran shows off his medals and Cubbie regalia

By Williams Martinez, Public Affairs Specialist
Tuesday, November 1, 2016
A nurse pops into his room to play a brief rhythm of the Go Cubs Go anthem – “Baseball Season’s underway” plays as Robert Perkins’ radiant smile and big eyes light up the room.

WWII Navy Veteran Robert H. Perkins is visiting the Marion VA Community Living Center for a short stint to re-build strength. Although his physical condition isn’t quite up to par, his spirits and love of the Cubs sure are. “I’ve been a Cubs fan since I can remember,” shares Perkins. His grandfather, a WWI Veteran, used to take him and his siblings to watch the Cubs at Wrigley field. “We just enjoyed being there, the atmosphere was nice and it was a beautiful old stadium,” remembers Perkins.

Being a Cubs fan is his legacy: “My grandpa even gave up half his pension to get seats to watch them win the Series in 1908."

During his service he recalls listening to baseball games. They would gather around the chow hall and listen as the Series played in 1945, the last time the Cubs made it that far.  “Every chance I had to listen to the Cubs, I made sure to listen.” Robert Perkins son worked with the VA to help him get the medals he never received. In 2014 his son Jack finally gathered his father's medals and presented them to him as a gift.

Robert Perkins son worked with the VA to help him get the medals he never received. In 2014 his son Jack finally gathered his father's medals and presented them to him as a gift.

The WWII Veteran War Hero


As a Veteran, Robert Perkins served for 6 years in the Navy as a Radar Operator. Perkins jokes about how he had trouble keeping his mouth shut as a young adult, but as an Operator his job was top secret, so he had to keep his lips sealed. 

“All the other personnel hated us, especially our officers because they wanted us to tell them what we knew. But we had red tags on our uniforms to remind us of our loyalty to Uncle Sam. We even had special chow privileges, boy were the other sailors jealous,” laughs Perkins. 

But it wasn’t all fun and privileges, Perkins spent 5 years in the Pacific Ocean fighting the Japanese from one island to the next.

Robert is now 94 and recalls the horrific scenes he had to witness as a young sailor in the Pacific. He tears up as he remembers, but his pride in his country and fellow Veterans gives him strength in sharing his experiences.

“We rode on smaller ships that were 100 feet long and only 40 feet wide. We would get so close to the enemy that you could hear them breathing. It was 5 years of living hell,” states Perkins.

When he isn’t working with our physical therapists, Perkins still lives alone. His son and Vietnam Veteran Jack Perkins, tells us that his father Robert “still washes his own dishes in the evenings. Don’t let his age fool you, he still gets around and manages to live on his own. He is still independent and strong as ever.”

The Marion VA Medical Center is sincerely grateful and are proud to care for and honor Robert Perkins for his service, as well as the Military traditions of his family. His Grandfather, Father, Brother and Son are also proud Veterans. THANK YOU for your courage and GO CUBS! Perkins showing off his favorite player's Jersey, Anthony Rizzo.

Perkins showing off his favorite player's Jersey, Anthony Rizzo.

His job in the service required him to keep quiet about intelligence, but he sure isn’t quiet at all about being s a cubs fan! We took the opportunity to ask him about his favorite team:

Who are your favorite players now?
Anthony Rizzo

Who are your all-time favorites?
They were both pitchers, Lon Warneke and Guy Bush.

Where will you watch the Series?
Down at the Veterans lounge area in the Community Living Center. They have a big TV screen for us.

If they win this World Series, how are you going to celebrate?
Well… I’ll clap and feel good. I can’t get too excited with my old age, I might pass away (says Perkins jokingly with a grin.)

If the Cubs invite you to go watch them play, would you?
Yeah, I would love to go!

Lyrics from the Go Cubs Go Anthem:
Baseball season's underway
Well you better get ready for a brand new day
Hey, Chicago, what do you say
The Cubs are gonna win today
They're singing
Go, Cubs, Go!
Go, Cubs Go!
Hey, Chicago, what do you say?
The Cubs are gonna win today
Go, Cubs, Go!
Go, Cubs, Go!
Hey, Chicago, what do you say?
The Cubs are gonna win today
They got the power
They got the speed
To be the best in the National League
Well this is the year
And the Cubs are real
So come on down to Wrigley Field

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