SSG Robert Albin Whitted, Sr. was killed on 7 February 1970. SSG Whitted was assigned to the 42ndOrdnance Detachment (Explosive Ordnance Disposal), 6th Ordnance Battalion, 45th General Support Group, Army Support Command Qui Nhon, 1st Logistical Command, Bien Hoa, Bien Hoa Province, Republic of Vietnam. SSG Whitted and SP5 Billy J. Rankin were operating out of the on-site location at Lai Khe, Binh Duong Province, Republic of Vietnam. The on-site team received a call that a booby-trapped drug cache that had been located in the unit area belonging to the 173rd Assault Helicopter Company. When they arrived, they were directed to a personnel bunker where a M33 fragmentation hand grenade with the safety pin (pull-ring) pulled was found under a sandbag. SP5 Rankin held down the sandbag, while SSG Whitted removed the grenade. SSG Whitted had reached in and depressed the safety handle and pulled the grenade out from under the sandbag. While still holding the grenade in his hands, the grenade exploded. SSG Whitted was killed instantly in the explosion and SP5 Rankin received fragmentation wounds to his right hand and arm. While attempting to remove the grenade the two men were unaware that the handle had slipped enough to allow the strike to hit the primer. SP5 Rankin returned to duty after a brief period of hospitalization in Long Bien, Republic of Vietnam. SSG Whitted was posthumously awarded the Soldier’s Medal and the Bronze Star Medal.
*This bio was researched and authored by SGM Mike R.Vining, USA (Retired). Please send any additional information and/or corrections to the author of this bio by email: firstname.lastname@example.org. The EOD Warrior Foundation is not responsible for the accuracy of the information in bio.