Bob Wagner was born on May 5, 1933, in Kalamazoo, Michigan. He enlisted in the U.S. Navy on June 12, 1950, and completed basic training at NTC Great Lakes, Illinois, in August 1950. His first assignment was as a Boatswain's Mate aboard the light aircraft carrier USS Monterey (CVL-26) at Naval Station Norfolk, Virginia, from September 1950 to January 1951, and then aboard the ship based out of NAAS Saufley Field, Pensacola, Florida, from January 1951 until he received an honorable discharge from the Navy on February 26, 1954. During this time he also served on the Navy Boxing Team, and was the Alabama State Golden Gloves heavyweight boxing champion in 1951. After leaving active duty, Bob worked for the Marine Corps Supply Depot in Barstow, California, before returning to active duty in the Navy on January 21, 1959. Petty Officer Wagner served as a Storekeeper at NAF Naha, Okinawa, from January 1959 to July 1960, and then attended Underwater Demolition Team Replacement Accession training with Class 028 at NAB Coronado, California, from July 1960 to June 1962. His next assignment was with SEAL Team ONE at NAB Coronado from June 1962 until he was killed in action in South Vietnam on August 15, 1968. During this time he deployed to Southeast Asia with his Team from August 1963 to February 1964, from September 1964 to February 1965, from June to November 1965, from March to September 1966, from October 1966 to June 1967, and from June 1968 until his death on August 15, 1968. Bob Wagner was buried at Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery in San Diego, California.
His Legion of Merit w/Valor Citation reads:
For exceptionally meritorious conduct in the performance of outstanding service while attached to SEAL Team ONE from 1 January 1962 to 1 May 1968. Petty Officer WAGNER completed seven tours of duty in the Republic of Vietnam which encompassed every facet of SEAL operations employed. While attached to SEAL Team ONE, Detachment GOLF, he participated in numerous unconventional warfare missions and combat patrols against Viet Cong forces in support of GAME WARDEN Operations in the Rung Sat Special Zone. In June 1966 he was given an assignment in which he was largely responsible for the establishment of a program for which he personally drew up plans for a training camp, supervised its construction, compiled lesson plans, and set up the training curriculum. This program has since become one of the most fruitful ever devised in unconventional warfare. Upon returning to the United States, he set up a Special Operations training program designed to train SEAL personnel in unconventional warfare techniques. Through his initiative and resourcefulness, he was highly instrumental in locating and procuring a suitable training area. Through the efforts of Petty Officer WAGNER, SEAL Team ONE has been able to accomplish the desired training in a much shorter period and at extremely less expense to the government. By his constant attention to duty, inimitable foresight and sincere desire to improve the military forces, Petty Officer WAGNER contributed greatly to our country's defense posture and our efforts in Southeast Asia. Petty Officer WAGNER's inspiring devotion to duty, outstanding sense of responsibility and professionalism upheld the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.
The Combat "V" is authorized.