David Robinson was born on October 26, 1939, in Alexandria, Louisiana. He entered the U.S. Naval Academy on July 7, 1959, and was commissioned an Ensign in the U.S. Navy on June 5, 1963. Robinson served aboard the destroyer USS Stormes (DD-780) from July 1963 to February 1965, and then attended Naval Destroyer School at Newport, Rhode Island, from February to September 1965. He next served as Engineering Officer aboard the destroyer USS Rowan (DD-782) from September 1965 to July 1967, followed by Naval Postgraduate School at Monterey, California, from July 1967 to November 1969, where he earned a Master's Degree in Oceanography. LCDR Robinson was commanding officer of the patrol gunboat USS Canon (PG-90) from November 1969 to March 1971, and then the patrol gunboat USS Ready (PG-87) from March to October 1971. While commanding USS Canon, Robinson was awarded the Navy Cross for action in 1970 when his ship came under attack in Vietnam. He then became aide to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff in the Pentagon, where he served from October 1971 to July 1974. Robinson attended Naval Destroyer School from July to October 1974, and then served as Executive Officer aboard the cruiser USS Dale (DLG-19, reclassified CG-19 in 1975) from October 1974 to April 1976. He was made commanding officer of the guided missile destroyer USS Luce from April 1976 to July 1978, and then served with the Naval Military Personnel Command until August 1981. Robinson attended the Foreign Service Institute from August 1981 to January 1983, and then served as commanding officer of the guided missile cruiser USS Richmond K. Turner (CG-20) from January 1983 to July 1984. He served as an aide and Chief of Staff for the Commander of the Naval Surface Fleet Atlantic from July 1984 to May 1985, and then served in the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations until July 1988. ADM Robinson served as Commander of Cruiser Destroyer Group EIGHT from July 1988 to September 1989, and then served as Director J-7 on the Joint Staff until January 1992. He was then assigned as Deputy and Chief of Staff to the Commander in Chief, Pacific Fleet, from January 1992 to April 1993. ADM Robinson's final assignment was as Commander of Naval Surface Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet, from April 1993 until his retirement from the Navy on June 1, 1996. ADM Robinson and his wife, the former Juliet Gene Kirkpatrick of Denton, Texas, have two children, Donald and David. He was inducted into the Surface Navy Association Hall of Fame in 2004.
His Navy Cross Citation reads:
The President of the United States takes pleasure in presenting the Navy Cross to David Brooks Robinson (669469), Lieutenant Commander, U.S. Navy, for extraordinary heroism while serving as Commanding Officer of the Patrol Gunboat, U.S.S. Canon (PG-90), during operations against enemy forces in the Republic of Vietnam on 11 August 1970. While Lieutenant Commander Robinson was directing his ship's harassment and interdiction fire as the craft proceeded up the Bo De River, the ship suddenly came under intense enemy automatic weapons, rocket and small arms attack from an estimated forty-man force located in well-concealed positions in a mangrove swamp on both banks of the river. During the initial hail of enemy fire, Lieutenant Commander Robinson sustained a broken leg and numerous shrapnel wounds when a rocket exploded on the port side of the flying bridge. Despite his serious wounds and loss of blood, he continued to direct his ship's fire until the enemy attack was suppressed. Refusing medical evacuation, Lieutenant Commander Robinson submitted to first-aid treatment and then requested that he be strapped in a stretcher and placed in an upright position so that he could continue to direct the actions of his ship until it cleared the enemy ambush site. Only after the ship was anchored at an advanced tactical support base and he was assured that his ship and crew were capable of continuing their assigned mission, did he allow himself to be medically evacuated. By his extraordinary courage, resolute fighting spirit and inspiring personal example in the face of a fierce enemy attack, Lieutenant Commander Robinson upheld the finest tradition of the United States Naval Service.