C. Robert Arvin was born in Ypsilanti, Michigan, on January 19th, 1943, the son of Carl and Dorothy Arvin. At Ypsilanti High School, Bob demonstrated incredible intellect, athletic ability, and leadership qualities. Bob was a member of the National Honor Society, quarterback of the football team, captain of the wrestling team, president of the student council, and class president. He capped his brilliant high school career as valedictorian of his graduating class. His athletic director remembers Bob as “one of the outstanding students and leaders to graduate from Ypsilanti High.”
Bob entered West Point in July 1961 as a member of the Class of 1965, where he quickly established himself as a class leader. He became one of the top intercollegiate wrestlers in the nationally competitive East Coast Intercollegiate Association and was named as captain of the Academy’s 1964-65 season.
In August 1965 Bob reported to Fort Benning, Georgia, for Airborne and Ranger training. In the brief span of 23 months’ service in the Division, Bob demonstrated outstanding professional competence and leadership. After a brief stint as a platoon leader and executive officer, he became the youngest company commander in the Division.
Bob received orders for Vietnam in early 1967, and he was awarded the Silver Star and Purple Heart for combat actions in September 1967. In October 1967, Bob was mortally wounded by small arms fire and died on the field of battle. His heroic actions in the battle assisted his battalion in defeating a superior enemy force and were recognized by an award of a second Silver Star.
Captain C. Robert Arvin was buried at West Point on October 17th, 1967 with military honors. General William C. Westmoreland, Commander of United States military forces in the Republic of Vietnam, wrote, “He was one of the most outstanding young men I have had the privilege of knowing. The Army has lost one of its future leaders.”
For twelve years, the Captain C. Robert Arvin Foundation made scholarship awards to exceptional Ypsilanti area high school graduates, honoring more than 110 students and distributing more than $110,000. The Captain C. Robert Arvin Scholarship Fund was established at the Ypsilanti Community Fund in 2015 upon the transfer of assets from the Captain C. Robert Arvin Foundation. It is awarded graduates of Ypsilanti Community High School who excel in academics, athletics and leadership.