Robert C. Knight

1943 - 1993

Air Force
Vietnam War

Their Story

Robert C. Knight was born on March 11, 1943, to Robert and Helen Knight in Sioux City, Iowa. He had two other siblings named Carolyn and Thomas.1 After high school, Robert attended the University of Iowa as a finance major. In February of 1966, he graduated and received a Bachelors of Business Administration.2

However, Robert did not join the workforce upon graduating. Instead, he enlisted in the Air Force during the Vietnam War. In 1967, Robert was promoted to second lieutenant after graduating from the officer training school at Lackland Air Force Base in Texas. He was then assigned to William Air Force Base in Arizona for pilot training.3 He eventually earned his rank as a captain. Robert earned the Distinguished Flying Cross award.4 This award is given for outstanding achievement in aerial flight participation.5

During the Vietnam War the U.S. Air Force had many responsibilities. In the beginning, the role of the Air Force was to train the South Vietnamese Air Force. They also organized radars, air control, counterinsurgency capacities, and reconnaissance. During 1964, the U.S. Air Force began to grow their presence and involvement in the war. New types of aircraft arrived in Vietnam. They also bombed specific areas in North Vietnam. They targeted North Vietnamese airfields, power plants, and radio stations. The Air Force had specialized bombs in order to destroy parts of the jungle for better sight into it. With more Air Force action came more casualties and prisoners of war. During the war the U.S. lost 531 aircraft, 547 airmen, and about 800 airmen and Navy were taken as prisoners of war. On the bright side, the Military Airlift Command was able to evacualte around 400,000 medical patients in their aircraft. They also improved military infrastructure by creating engineering and construction groups to repair and fix airfields, wells, buildings, and roads.6

Later in life, Robert married Linda Zander. They had a son named Christoher. Robert resided in Arizona where he was employed as an insurance broker at Horizon Insurance Company in Phoenix.7

Robert passed away at the age of 50 at the Good Samaritan Medical Center. He was buried at the Rock Island Arsenal for his service during the Vietnam War.8


1Robert C. Knight.”The Dispatch. July 16, 1993. Accessed July 1, 2022.

2 University of Iowa. Personal Interview. July 1, 2022.

3 Neilson, Sharon. “Our GIs.” Quad City Times. July 26, 1967. Accessed July 1, 2022.

4Robert C. Knight.”The Dispatch. July 16, 1993. Accessed July 1, 2022.

5 The Distinguished Flying Cross Society. “The Distinguished Flying Cross.” Accessed July 1, 2022.

6The U.S. Airforce in Vietnam .” Accessed July 13, 2022.

7Robert C. Knight.”The Dispatch. July 16, 1993. Accessed July 1, 2022.

8Robert C. Knight.”The Dispatch. July 16, 1993. Accessed July 1, 2022.