Robert Mack Tarbox – Brigadier General, United States Army

From a contemporary press report

Robert Mack Tarbox, Brigadier General, United States Army (retired), died Tuesday, November 5, 2002, at the Williamsburg Landing, Williamsburg, Virginia. He was born on January 8, 1918, in Rochester, New York, the first of four sons of George Mack Tarbox and Charlotte A. Tarbox.

General Tarbox graduated from Jefferson High School in Rochester in 1935 and was encouraged by his father to think of attending West Point and making the Army a career. Bob enlisted in the Army in 1936 and won a competitive appointment to West Point, graduating in 1941.

Immediately following graduation and commissioning in the Army Corps of Engineers, Bob married Audrey Ruth Bullis, with whom he had gone to church and high school, and who had been his one and only since then.

Following initial duty with the 13th Engineer Battalion at Fort Ord and then subsequent assignments stateside, he deployed to Guam in 1944 with the 1899th Engineer Aviation Battalion with the mission of constructing B-29 airfields. He subsequently served on Guam as the 1887th Engineer Aviation Battalion Commander, 927th Engineer Aviation Regiment Commander, Army Garrison Force Engineer, and Twentieth Air Force Engineer. During the war, Bob rose from Second Lieuteannt to Lieutenant Colonel.

Post World War II activities included acquiring his masters degree in Civil Engineering from the University of California at Berkeley; Director of the Department of Extension Instruction at The Engineer School; Director of Training at the Engineer Replacement Training Center; and Deputy District Engineer, Middle East District of the Army Corps of Engineers, in Tripoli, Libya, where he helped enlarge Wheelus Air Force Base to accommodate USAF heavy bomber aircraft. Command & General Staff College was followed by a tour in the Office of the Chief of Research and Development in the Pentagon, and then the Army War College.

After being promoted to full Colonel and commanding the 36th Engineer Group in Korea, he served as Asst Director of Civil Works in the Office of the Chief of Engineers. Following that was a most enjoyable assignment at West Point as Commander, First Regiment, United States Corps of Cadets, and as Deputy Commandant of Cadets. That was followed by a tour in Frankfurt, Germany, as Engineer, Deputy Chief of Staff, and then the Chief of Staff of US Army V Corps.

After promotion to Brigadier General in 1967, General Tarbox served as Division Engineer, North Central Division, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in Chicago. Thence, he deployed to Vietnam in 1969 where he served as Commander, U.S. Army Construction Agency, and as MACV Director of Construction until December 1970. His final tour was in the Office of the Chief of Engineers in Washington, D.C.

During his many tours in Washington, he was a member of Resurrection Lutheran Church in Arlington, Virginia.

Bob retired from active duty in 1971. During his service he was awarded the Distinguished Service Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster, Legion of Merit with Oak Leaf Cluster, Bronze Star Medal (WWII), National Order of Vietnam 5th Class, and Vietnam Public Works and Transportation Medal 1st Class.

For his second career, Bob was a Vice President of IECO (Morrison Knudson) in San Francisco. He fully retired in 1986, resided in San Mateo, California, and worked as a volunteer administrative assistant in his church until 1995 when he moved to Williamsburg, Virginia, where he continued his volunteer activities at St. Stephens Lutheran Church.

His professional activities included professional engineer registration in the District of Columbia and Colorado; Fellow, American Society of Civil Engineers; Fellow, Society of American Military Engineers and recipient of the Society’s Award of Merit. He was a member of the Sons of the Revolution in the State of New York and was listed in Who’s Who in Engineering and Who’s Who in the West.

General Tarbox is survived by his wife of 61 years, Audrey; his two sons: Robert, Jr., of Rochester, New York, a Navy veteran of service in Qui Nhon, Vietnam; and, David, of Centreville, Virginia, a retired Colonel in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers; three granddaughters: Emily Tarbox of McLean, Virginia; Barie Tarbox of Rochester, N.Y, and Katherine Tarbox also of Rochester.

Interment at Arlington National Cemetery with Full Military Honors will take place on Friday, the 24 of January 2003 at 11:00 a.m., beginning with a service at the Old Post Chapel.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the West Point Fund; Association of Graduates, USMA; West Point, New York, 10996-9990.



  • DATE OF BIRTH: 01/08/1918
  • DATE OF DEATH: 11/05/2002

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