Robert C. Funk
Pharmacist Mate 3rd Class
U. S. Navy
WWII US Military
Dates of Service: 08/17/1943 - 03/17/1946
Medic, LST 507, LST511

Born in Hays, Kansas, Robert was the son of Lawrence W. and Margaret Julia Hastings Funk. He grew up in Manhattan, Kansas, graduated from high school in 1943, and volunteered for the U.S. Navy, along with several other boyhood friends. Robert was sent to Farragut, Idaho for boot camp, then to medical corps school, where he graduated in December of 1943. At Lido Beach, Long Island, New York, he joined Foxy 29--a first aid unit for shore duty. About 250 corpsmen and "25 to 30 doctors," as he recalls, boarded LST 507 on February 29, 1944, bound for Great Britain. Upon arriving, a mix-up in orders sent him to a Navy hospital in Milford Haven, Wales. The mistake may have saved his life. When the error was discovered and he was sent on to Southampton, England, he learned that a torpedo hit LST 507 in the English Channel on April 28, 1944. Many of the medical personnel aboard were killed. He would not learn of their fate until an article in the Shreveport Journal in 1987. On June 5, 1944, Robert crossed the English Channel on LST 511 and arrived the next morning at Red Sector, Omaha Beach for the invasion of Normandy. That day, beginning in mid morning, and the next Robert and 22 other corpsmen made several trips ashore in Higgins boats, bringing "fifteen, eighteen" casualties at a time back to the LST, where doctors treated most of them. The seriously wounded were taken back to England for more thorough medical care. Through summer and into fall, he says, LST 511 made at least 100 trips, he estimates, back and forth from France to England, delivering wounded to hospitals. Robert worked with Foxy 29 until November, 1944, when he was assigned to a Navy hospital in Cherbourg. On VE Day, Robert received orders to Norfolk, Virginia, from where he was ordered to San Diego. There, prone to seasickness and weary of riding flat-bottomed LSTs, he requested duty on "the biggest ship in the Navy." Placed on the USS West Virginia (BB 48) as a pharmacist's mate, 3rd class, he spent several months bringing soldiers home from the Pacific in Operation Magic Carpet. Robert was discharged on May 17, 1946, in Bremerton, Washington. He attended Kansas State College on the GI Bill, then went to work for American Investment Company, a St. Louis-based finance and loan company in Kansas City. Robert married Donna Louise Gunter on February 19, 1952. They would eventually have two children and four grandchildren. In October of 1952 they moved to Shreveport, where he opened a branch office of the company. He later joined Credit Bureau of Shreveport where he worked for 35 years.