Robert Andrew Hetz, Jr.

NO. 17556  •  

Died 31 March 1980 in Fleetwood, Pennsylvania, aged 52 years
Interment: Gethsemane Cemetery, Laureldale, Pennsylvania

BOB HETZ. A few classmates knew him by the nickname "Zeus" ‑ in mythology ‑ the god of social values. The notoriety which some in the illustrious Class of 1950 were to enjoy passed Bob and, indeed, most of us, by. But, assuredly, he was a distinguished and proud marcher in the long gray line of those who have now gone to peace. To be sure, there were never enough like him. Bob Hetz. A name that quickly revives many fond memories of a cadet who was academically outstanding and personally appealing.

Bob was fiercely loyal to friends and causes, and his days as a cadet revolved as much around his avid support of the New York Yankees and his skill as a bridge player as his official duties. Though not indifferent, he was not thirsty for pure academic knowledge. Bob Hetz. Yes, this is the same cadet who nodded off to sleep in class ‑ even while the P was giving a somewhat long‑winded answer to a question posed by Bob himself!

Who among his friends can forget Bob's frequent forays to the library and the many books he brought back to his room. Interestingly, it seemed as if these trips were more frequent around WGR time. Not, as you might believe, to bone up for exams, but simply to help Bob bide his time while others studied.

Bob's education did not stop upon graduation. In 1966 he was awarded an MS in personnel administration from George Washington University, in Washington, D.C., and he earned an MS in education from Alfred University, Alfred, New York, in 1973. In addition Bob graduated from the Command and General Staff College in 1964.

A keen student of military history, Bob often expressed deep pride in his Germanic heritage and was even combative in extolling the successes of the Prussians. Oh how he took great joy in needling his Southern friends by insisting Robert E. Lee was but a lieutenant colonel, his highest rank in the U.S. Army.

Born 19 November 1927 in Scranton, Pennsylvania, Bob acquired an interest in West Point early in his childhood when his family vacationed nearby and annually visited the Plain. Bob's father was an officer in a savings and loan association in Scranton who delighted in taking his wife and four children to Orange Lake from which they often toured West Point.

His quest for a military career yielded him first an appointment to the Naval Academy, which he declined. The following year he obtained his coveted appointment to West Point and eagerly joined the Class of 1950. For Bob Hetz, then, what became his Alma Mater was ever near to his heart.

On 1 September 1951, Bob and his favorite drag at West Point, Rose, were married. Together they had six children, including a son who graduated from USMA in the Class of 1975. Other sons graduated from the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy. He has two daughters, one a school teacher and the other a registered nurse. Bob loved ‑ and thoroughly enjoyed ‑ his large family. Shortly before he died Bob fulfilled a longtime ambition of exploring Alaska. In the summer of 1979 he, his wife and two youngest sons motored from Pennsylvania to Homer, Alaska in a most memorable odyssey.

During his military career Bob saw service overseas in such areas as Japan, Korea, Germany, Iran and Vietnam. A proud paratrooper and infantryman, Bob had a career in the Army that spanned 26 years. In early days he was connected with combat units but later his duties were in the area of personnel administration and training. Notable among his interesting assignments was as action officer in Berlin for President Kennedy's celebrated visit to Europe and the Iron Curtain in the early 1960's.

Among his varied duties on behalf of the United States Army, Bob was operations officer ‑ Berlin Brigade; schools and training advisor to the Imperial Iranian General Forces; staff officer in an infantry brigade in Vietnam; and Professor of Military Science at Alfred University. He also served in the ROTC training unit at Rutgers University. Bob's final military assignment was as post commander, Fulda Military Post, West Germany.

Following his retirement in 1976, Bob was employed as area director, Eastem Area, Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency. In that role he was responsible for disaster planning and operations in a twenty county area.

It was on 31 March 1980 when Bob succumbed to a sudden heart attack. Easily could this memorial be ended now by merely quoting that nostalgic refrain that his work on earth is done. But not so, however, for Bob Hetz. His family counts as the great legacy; he bequeathed them his strength of character and his integrity. As classmates, that realization by his family comes as absolutely no surprise to us. For we are kindred legatees of those attributes in our memories of Bob Hetz.

Edward J. Reidy, Class of 1950