Military Wiki
Robert Sink
Robert Frederick Sink as a Lieutenant General
Nickname Bob, Five-Oh-Sink
Born (1905-04-03)April 3, 1905
Died December 13, 1965(1965-12-13) (aged 60)
Place of birth Lexington, North Carolina
Place of death Fort Bragg, North Carolina
Place of burial Arlington National Cemetery
Allegiance United States
Service/branch United States Army seal United States Army
Years of service 1927–1961
Rank US-O9 insignia.svg Lieutenant General
Commands held

506th Parachute Infantry Regiment
7th Armored Division
44th Infantry Division
XVIII Airborne Corps
Strategic Army Corps (STRAC)

Caribbean Command, Panama Canal Zone

World War II

Korean War
Awards Silver Star ribbon.svg Silver Star (3)
Legion of Merit ribbon.svg Legion of Merit (2)
Bronze Star ribbon.svg Bronze Star (2)
Air Medal ribbon.svg Air Medal (2)

Lieutenant General Robert Frederick Sink (April 3, 1905 – December 13, 1965) was a United States Army officer during World War II, the Korean War, and early parts of the Vietnam War, though he was most famous for his command of the 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment of the 101st Airborne Division. Sink was portrayed in the television miniseries Band of Brothers by Captain Dale Dye.

Early career

Sink attended Duke University (then known as Trinity College) for one year before securing an appointment to the United States Military Academy. He graduated with the West Point Class of 1927, 174th in a Class of 203 (Cullum Number 8196) and commissioned as an Infantry Officer. Sink's initial assignment was to the 8th Infantry Regiment in Fort Screven, Georgia as a second lieutenant.

Sink took assignments in Puerto Rico (1929, 65th Infantry Regiment), at the Army Chemical Warfare School (1932), at Fort Meade (1932), 34th Infantry Regiment, with the Civilian Conservation Corps (1933 at McAlevy's Fort, Pennsylvania), and returned to the 34th Infantry Regiment before heading off to attend the United States Army Infantry School at Fort Benning, Georgia (1935).

In November 1937, after assignment to the 57th Infantry Regiment at Fort William McKinley, in the Philippines, Sink returned to the United States and was assigned to the 25th Infantry Regiment at Fort Huachuca, Arizona, where he served successively as company commander and regimental operations officer.

World War II

In 1940, he was assigned to the 501st Parachute Infantry Battalion at Fort Benning. Sink became one of the four percent of the army's paratroopers qualified as a master parachutist and celebrated his birthday each year by making another jump.

He later commanded the 503rd Parachute Infantry Battalion and (later) Regiment. In July 1942 he was named as commander of the 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment at Toccoa, Georgia; Fort Benning, Georgia; and Fort Bragg, North Carolina. Sink commanded the 506th throughout World War II, turning down two promotions during the war to remain with the unit[1] (the regiment sometimes being referred to as the "Five-Oh-Sink') and became a close personal friend to Major Richard Winters. He made two combat jumps in command of the 506th (D-Day and Operation Market Garden), and commanded the Regiment at Bastogne during the Battle of the Bulge.

Post war career

On August 12, 1945, Sink was named assistant division commander of the 101st Airborne Division. In December 1945, Sink returned to the United States, and the following month assumed command of the infantry detachment of the United States Military Academy. He entered the National War College at Fort Lesley J. McNair in Washington, D.C. in August 1948, graduating in June 1949. Sink then was transferred to the Ryukyus Command, and became chief of staff in October 1949. In January 1951, he was named assistant division commander of the 7th Infantry Division in Korea.

He returned to the United States and became assistant division commander of the 11th Airborne Division at Fort Campbell, Kentucky, in December 1951. In February 1953, he assumed command at the 7th Armored Division at Camp Roberts, California. In November 1953, he became commanding general of the 44th Infantry Division at Fort Lewis, Washington. In October 1954, Sink was assigned to the Joint Airborne Troop Board at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. In early 1955, he was transferred to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and in April 1955 assumed the dual functions of chairman of the United States Delegation to the Joint Brazil-United States Military Commission and chief of army section, Military Assistance Advisory Group, Brazil.

He returned to the United States and assumed command of the XVIII Airborne Corps and Fort Bragg in May 1957. In May 1958, he was announced as commander, Strategic Army Corps (STRAC), United States Army. His last major role was as commander of US forces in Panama (CinC, Caribbean Command, Quarry Heights, Canal Zone). Lieutenant General Robert Frederick Sink retired in 1961, and died in 1965.


Sink was married and had three children and two stepchildren.

Awards and decorations

General Sink's ribbon bar

Combat Infantry Badge.svg Combat Infantryman Badge
US Army Airborne master parachutist badge.gif Master Parachutist Badge with two combat jump stars
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Silver Star with two oak leaf clusters
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Legion of Merit with oak leaf cluster
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Bronze Star with oak leaf cluster
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Air Medal with oak leaf cluster
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Presidential Unit Citation with oak leaf cluster
American Defense Service Medal
American Campaign Medal
Bronze star
Bronze star
Bronze star
European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal with 3 service stars and arrowhead device
World War II Victory Medal
Army of Occupation Medal with Germany clasp
National Defense Service Medal
Korean Service Medal
Distinguished Service Order (Britain)
Order of Leopold (Belgium), Officer grade with Palm
Croix de Guerre with Palm (Belgium)
Fourragère (Belgium)
Croix de Guerre avec Palme (France)
Bronze Lion (The Netherlands)
United Nations Korea Medal
Presidential Unit Citation (Korea)

Dates of rank

U.S. Military Academy COA.png United States Military Academy Cadet - Class of 1927

Insignia Rank Component Date
US-OF1B.svg Second Lieutenant Regular Army 14 Jun 1927
US-OF1A.svg First Lieutenant Regular Army 31 Aug 1933
US-O3 insignia.svg Captain Regular Army 13 Jun 1937
US-O4 insignia.svg Major Army of the United States 31 Jan 1941
US-O5 insignia.svg Lieutenant Colonel Army of the United States 01 Feb 1942
US-O6 insignia.svg Colonel Army of the United States 03 Nov 1942
US-O8 insignia.svg Major General Army of the United States 11 Apr 1948
US-O9 insignia.svg Lieutenant General Army of the United States 08 Sep 1959



  • LTC Robert F. Sink Library at Fort Campbell, Kentucky, was dedicated in 1967.[2]
  • COL. Robert Sink Memorial Trail up Currahee Mountain in Toccoa, Georgia was dedicated on November 4, 2000.[3]

In popular culture

  • The character of "Colonel Robert Stout" in the film A Bridge Too Far (1977), played by Elliott Gould, is also based on Sink.
  • Robert Sink was portrayed in the HBO/BBC miniseries Band of Brothers (2001) by Vietnam veteran and retired U.S. Marine Corps Captain Dale Dye (also the military advisor on the series).
  • Robert Sink was also portrayed in the video game Brothers in Arms: Hell's Highway, also played by Dale Dye.


External links

Military offices
Preceded by
Clark L. Ruffner
Commanding General of
the Third United States Army

Succeeded by
Herbert B. Powell

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