KIA April 3, 2011
Operation Enduring Freedom
Assigned to 201st Brigade Support Battalion, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division, Fort Knox, Kentucky
1LT Robert Welch III died April 3, 2011 of wounds sustained when a rocket was launched by insurgents into Forward Operating Base (FOB) Salerno, in the Khost Province near the Pakistani border. According to his father, Retired Army LTC Robert Welch II, when they got 1LT Welch to the air station for surgery, they ran out of his blood type. When word got out that they needed blood, over 200 of his fellow Soldiers volunteered to give blood, but the wounds were so severe that he did not survive. 1LT Welch began his military service in October 2008, and was only three months into his first combat tour of duty.
Rob was born on November 30, 1984 in Ft. Benning, GA. He wanted to join the military and be a Soldier at an early age; his dream was to follow in his father and grandfather’s footsteps. In Rob’s hometown of Wylie, Texas, he played football, participated in Junior ROTC, Civil Air Patrol, and served as a leader in his church youth group. Rob had a clear, strong faith and was a man of God. He was hard working, determined, funny, generous, kind, and always took the time to reach out to help others. He graduated from Wylie High School in 2003 and enlisted in the Texas Army National Guard in 2005, as a Private First Class. Wylie is where Welch met his wife, Becky. Together, they had a son, Robert Welch IV, and full custody of his nephew, Aaden Vann.
In 2008, Rob graduated from UT-Arlington in with a degree in Military Science. He was then commissioned into active duty Army as an Ordnance Officer, which was precisely what his friends and family knew he would do. In the UT-Arlington Corps of Cadets, Rob had a reputation as a superb listener and motivator for the younger cadets, according to his commandant, Retired Army MAJ Ricardo Diaz. During his military service, 1LT Welch was awarded the Bronze Star, Purple Heart, Army Commendation Medal, Army Achievement Medal with oak leaf cluster, and numerous other awards.
1LT Robert F. Welch was 26 years old from Wylie, Texas.
Original portrait was presented to his family on May 26, 2012 at Liberty Fest in Farmers Branch, Texas.