Bob Cupp: A Son and Brother

 

Bob Cupp: A Son and Brother

by Emogene Cupp and Sue Rampey

ROBERT WILLIAM CUPP is honored on Panel 60W, Row 27 of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial.

 

Cpl. Robert William Cupp, son of James Russell Cupp and Emogene Moore Cupp, was born June 17, 1947 in Alexandria, Virginia. 

Bob attended Bush Hill Elementary School, Mark Twain Middle School and Edison High School.  He loved baseball and would throw the ball against our brick house and catch it.  There were two large picture windows on the second floor of the house. He must have pitched that baseball thousands of times against the house between those windows and never broke a window!  Every year that he was eligible, he played Little League Baseball and was fortunate enough always to be on the winning team.

He was drafted into the Army on August 24, 1967, and after receiving his basic training and his advanced training, he was shipped to Ft. Lewis, Washington for deployment to Vietnam.

Bob’s leave at Christmastime 1967 was a surprise to his family. We were so happy to see him, not realizing that it would be our last Christmas together.

We took him to Dulles Airport in February 1968 for his flight to Ft. Lewis, Washington, and from there, he went on to Vietnam.  Paul Copeland, an Army buddy he had gone all through training with, said he and Bob sat side by side on the flight to Vietnam.  When the two arrived, they were put in different units. When their units crossed paths again, Paul learned that Bob lost his life when he stepped on a land mine.

There is no other feeling like opening your door to a knock and there stands a military man; you know it is bad news.  He told us that Bob had been killed instantly on June 6, 1968 when he stepped on a land mine.  The funeral was held on his 21st birthday. 

Bob’s friend from their school days, Steve Davenport, has always kept Bob in his heart.  He sent roses to Bob’s funeral, remembering the pact the two made: that whoever died first, the other would send roses.  Steve also made one of Mrs. Cupp’s favorite possessions.  It is a beautiful 25” x 25” black lacquer display box containing the medals Bob earned, his picture and his name etched in the glass from a rubbing on The Wall.  He made a duplicate and placed it at The Wall, and it is now in the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Collection of items that have been left at The Wall. 

Bob’s mother was pleased to be able to go to Vietnam in August 2002 and see where Bob was killed. Thanks to the veterans of the Dusters, Quads & Searchlight Organization for making the trip possible. Bob and Susan Lauver, Mike Sweeney and Greg Dearborn were great caring individuals to accompany the mothers and have so much compassion for them.  Vietnam is a beautiful country just like Bob said in his letters.

Jim, Bob’s father, died on June 26, 1990.  His parents, with scars on their hearts, will always remember their loving son, Robert William Cupp.

 

This article was written by his mother, EMOGENE M. CUPP, and his sister, SUE A. RAMPEY, both of whom regularly attend ceremonies at The Wall and are involved in other VVMF programs.

Shortly after Bob was killed, a member of the Alexandria Chapter of the American Gold Star Mothers asked Mrs. Cupp to join. She became active in the organization and was elected National President in 1978.  She met Jan Scruggs when he and Bob Doubek, also from VVMF, visited the Gold Star Mothers National Headquarters in Washington, D.C. looking for office space from which to lead the fight for a national memorial to those who served in Vietnam. They left without office space, but they gained the support of Mrs. Cupp, who volunteered to help in any way she could. A dedicated supporter from the beginning, Mrs. Cupp was a speaker at the groundbreaking ceremony and unveiled the first panel.