Robert Baldwin was born on October 19, 1917, in Los Angeles, California. He entered the Aviation Cadet Program of the U.S. Army Air Corps on September 28, 1939, and was commissioned a 2d Lt and awarded his pilot wings at Kelly Field, Texas, on June 22, 1940. Baldwin served as a flight instructor until September 1943, and then flew P-38 Lightnings with the 71st Fighter Squadron of the 1st Fighter Group in Italy until the end of the war. After the war, Col Baldwin served as a military observer in Palestine in 1948, and then served as Assistant Deputy for Maintenance and Chief of Flight Operations with Headquarters Oklahoma City Air Material Area at Tinker AFB, Oklahoma, from December 1948 to July 1949. He attended Air Command & Staff College at Maxwell AFB, Alabama, from July to December 1949, and then served as Commander of the 56th Maintenance and Support Group at Selfridge AFB, Michigan, from December 1949 to March 1950. Col Baldwin was Deputy for Operations of the 56th Fighter-Interceptor Wing at Selfridge from March 1950 to June 1951, and then served on the staff of Headquarters Air Defense Command at Ent AFB, Colorado, from June 1951 to February 1953. His next assignment was as Commander of the 51st Fighter-Interceptor Group in Korea from February to September 1953, during which time he was credited with the destruction of 5 enemy aircraft in aerial combat plus 3 damaged. He was Base Commander of Kisarazu AB, Japan, from September 1953 to June 1955, followed by service as Commander of the 4750th Air Defense Group at Vincent AFB, Arizona, from June 1955 to November 1958. Col Baldwin next served with Headquarters U.S. Air Force in the Pentagon from November 1958 to June 1962, and then served on the staff of Headquarters Allied Air Forces Southern Europe from June 1962 to July 1965. His final assignment was as Assistant Deputy Chief of Staff for Plans with Headquarters Air Training Command at Randolph AFB, Texas, from July 1965 until his retirement from the Air Force on June 1, 1966. Robert Baldwin died on April 7, 1994, and was buried at the Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery in San Diego, California.
His Silver Star Citation reads:
Colonel Robert P. Baldwin distinguished himself by extraordinary meritorious service with the 51st Fighter Interceptor Wing on 22 June 1953. Colonel Baldwin while leading four (4) F-86 type aircraft on a fighter sweep along the Manchurian Border sighted four (4) enemy MIG-15 type aircraft pressing an attack against two (2) friendly aircraft and immediately led his flight into the enemy. After successfully breaking up the enemy attack, Colonel Baldwin rolled down on the trailing MIG and fired a short burst into his left wing and fuselage. Colonel Baldwin continued to score numerous hits as heavy smoke poured from both wings and the enemy aircraft went into a steep dive through the clouds. Colonel Baldwin followed him through the cloud layer and pulled up sharply to avoid hitting the ground. Later reports confirmed the destruction of the MIG. By his personal courage and exceptional flying ability in this action, Colonel Baldwin is credited with destroying his fifth (5th) MIG-15 type aircraft. Throughout his tour, Colonel Baldwin's aggressive spirit and mental alertness have brought great credit upon himself and the United States Air Force.