‘He was a True Hero’: The Story of One Lambda Chi Alpha’s Heroic Actions During the Vietnam War
“Everybody relied on him.”
Colonel Robert W. Hubbard was the kind of man that looked as though he knew exactly what was going on at all times, someone who could be trusted with anything, a calming force.
This sentiment would prove true the morning of Jan. 30, 1968, during the heat of the Vietnam War.
Hubbard and a fellow Marine Captain, Raymond Lau, were given the task from the CIA to “win the hearts and minds” of the Vietnamese people; they were asked to demonstrate to the people how life could be under a democratic government and urge the people to take an interest in freedom rather than a communist government.
Because of this responsibility, both men were assigned to a house with a few other men, when on Jan. 30, that house came under fire.
While Lau and the other men fought back amid the booms and cracks of gunfire, Hubbard and Sgt. Howard Vaughn arrived at the house to offer their support.
Immediately, Vaughn was shot, the bullet going through his lungs. Though he did not die instantly, he was mortally wounded. The men knew they could not abandon Vaughn, and so they barricaded themselves in the house and began a four-day escape attempt.
Finally, when a window opened for the men to escape, they made a mad dash to a nearby bridge. Hubbard was only armed with a grenade. As they reached the bridge, they saw there was a small opening in the aqueduct.
While the rest of the men made it through the tunnel successfully, Hubbard soon realized that he was far too large. And so, the young man from Auburn University, a Lambda Chi Alpha man, gave his life so that his fellow soldiers could escape.
Though he died at a young age, he was and continues to be remembered as a man of courage and character. John Davis recalls that his father was a fast friend of Hubbard’s and what the fraternity meant to both of them.
“I think it taught them the value of loyalty and friendship,” said Davis.
Carol Hubbard, sister of Robert, recalled that Lambda Chi Alpha was more than just a fraternity for him, it was a home.
“It was actually more like his home more than his real home; he was what I would call a big man on campus, a lot of people liked him,” she said.
Davis recalls Hubbard coming to stay with his family over many holidays and when he was on leave. Davis’s father was in the Marine Reserves, while Hubbard served as a Marine Corp officer, and their friendship lasted up until Hubbard’s last minutes.
Because of the bravery he showed on that day in Hue, Hubbard was post humanely awarded the Navy Cross for his dedication and bravery in the face of danger.
But while Hubbard has rightfully been honored time and time again, Davis has a sneaking suspicion that recognition from his fraternity would have meant more than all the medals in the world.
“I think of all the honors and tributes that he received, none would mean more to him than to be acknowledged by Lambda Chi Alpha,” affirmed Davis.
“He was the strong, loyal, dependable friend that would always be there for you,” Davis continued. “The same guy that he was at Auburn University in ’62 was the same guy he was in the city of Hue in February of 1968 [when he died].
“He was a true hero.”
To read more about Hubbard’s heroic acts during the Vietnam War, click here.
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