Died: Wednesday, September 20, 1944 Eindhoven, Netherlands Awards: Purple Heart with Oak Leaf Cluster
Info: INDUCTED IN AUGUST 1942 AT FORT LEWIS, WASHINGTON. VOLUNTEERED FOR PARACHUTE INFANTRY, ASSIGNED TO E (EASY) COMPANY, 2ND BATTALION, 506TH PARACHUTE INFANTRY REGIMENT, 101ST AIRBORNE DIVISION (SCREAMING EAGLES), AN ORIGINAL MEMBER OF THE 'BAND OF BROTHERS.'
RECEIVED INFANTRY TRAINING AT CAMP TOCCOA, GEORGIA AND PARACHUTE QUALIFICATION AT FORT BENNING, GEORGIA.
SHIPPED TO ENGLAND SEPTEMBER 1943 AND ON JUNE 6, 1944 (D-DAY), PARACHUTED INTO NORMANDY WHERE HE WAS WOUNDED IN ACTION SEVERAL DAYS LATER. HE RECOVERED IN ENGLAND AND REJOINED EASY COMPANY TO PARACHUTE INTO HOLLAND ON OPERATION MARKET GARDEN ON SEPTEMBER 17, 1944. THREE DAYS LATER IN HEAVY FIGHTING NEAR EINDHOVEN HE WAS KILLED IN ACTION.
Story from the website: http://www.heroesatmargraten.com
Around 1887 his grandfather emigrated from the Dutch province of Groningen to the US, and even though he is the third generation of hard working Dutch immigrants who eventually ended up in Washington State, he still spoke the dialect of the country his grandfather left more than 50 years earlier. He worked as an auto mechanic when he was drafted for the selective service less than three weeks before the Japanese attack of Pearl Harbor. And even though his physical examination report states his left eye was almost blind, he ended up in Co E, 506 PIR and won the highest scores in the company's physical competition. He survived the Normandy campaign to jump again on Dutch soil, the land of his forebears. When his battalion liberated Eindhoven, a small group of Germans was hiding on the third floor of the tall Philips factory. One can understand the surprise of the Dutch civilians who heared an American paratrooper say with a Groninger accent, "Wacht mor eevns. Wie hoaln heur der wel oet", meaning; "Hold on. We'll go get them out". This must have been Robert Van Klinken, as it is unlikely another paratrooper in the 2nd Battalion spoke the accent of Groningen. Two days later, September 20th, he would be killed when Co E was send east of Eindhoven to check out the German threat. Robert was killed by a machine gun bullit when he ran forward with a bazooka to stop the German tanks of the 107th brigade attacking Eindhoven from the east.