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'It about made me cry': Hawkins vet retrieves stolen military awards, son's poster he carried in combat

Jeff Bobo • Jul 28, 2018 at 8:30 AM

ROGERSVILLE — Robbie Frost earned multiple military awards and an honorable discharge, and no one can ever take that away from him, even if the actual certificates and medals are lost.

But no one could have replaced a poster created by his son that Frost carried in his assault bag on every combat mission he participated in during his time in Afghanistan from 2007-09.

In March of 2017, Frost was serving jail time in Sullivan County for failure to pay child support.

During that period, he had all of his belongings stored in his car parked at a friend’s house in Bloomingdale, but before he was released someone cleaned the car out.

Aside from losing all his clothes and valuables, Frost also lost his military papers, medals, certificates and even his DD-214 discharge papers.

But the worst thing he lost was something his son made for him to take to Afghanistan.

“They took that little red poster,” Frost told the Times News Thursday. “I carried that thing with me on every mission and every patrol I done over there. I wouldn’t take a million dollars for it. I told him last night when I finally had it back in my hand that I’ve got one of the most important papers that I’ve had since the day he was born. He’s 14 years old now. I sent him a picture and showed him. I couldn’t believe that all four of the pictures he attached inside that poster were still there.”

Frost added, “It about made me cry. Some things money can’t buy, and that’s one of them. I carried it in my assault bag. I was an assault gunner. I carried almost 1,000 rounds of ammo in that bag, but that poster was in there everywhere I went.”

Staff at the Shepherd Center thrift store in Rogersville had found several of Frost’s military papers, medals and other personal papers in a batch of donated clothing.

The Shepherd Center turned those papers over to Hawkins County Veterans Services Officer Danny Breeding in hopes of getting them back to Frost. 

Frost had been living in Church Hill until last November, but Breeding’s attempts to find him were unsuccessful.

Earlier this month, Breeding asked the Times News to help. Frost said that on July 14, the day the article was published, he received 50-60 messages.

He has been working as a traveling crane operator, and when the article came out he was in Clarksville, but currently he’s working in Charlotte.

On Wednesday, he traveled to Rogersville to visit Breeding and pick up his property.

Not everything was there, but he was grateful for what he retrieved.

Frost was awarded a Presidential Citation for being actively engaged and returning fire in more firefights than any other unit deployed to Afghanistan.

That medal was still missing, as are all of his battalion coins.

He had five silver dollars from 1844 that he brought back from Afghanistan — two for each child he had at the time he was discharged and one for himself — and all five of those are still missing.

He also had a journal that he wrote in every day while in Afghanistan. Whether he was on patrol or guard duty, he kept a record of what happened.

“I wrote it so my kids could have it after I was dead and gone, if they ever wanted to look back through and see where I was at and what happened,” Frost said. “That was in the stuff that was stolen, but I didn’t get it back. I heard from two or three boys in the Kingsport-Lynn Garden area who said they had it at one time, but they said they don’t know who has it now.”

Whoever broke into his car even stole his children’s baby pictures that he took to Afghanistan, as well as the only photo he ever had of his father — all still missing.

“There should have been nine awards altogether and I got three of them back,” Frost said. “The awards I don’t really need. I’m proud of them and I put them up for my kids. But I got that stuff in my head until the day I die. I went to the VA to get my DD-214 (discharge papers) replaced, and I hit a dead end. It got to the point I quit telling people I was in the military at all because I didn’t have any way to prove it. I didn’t have my DD-214. That was in my paperwork that I got back.”

Frost added, “I’m so glad that someone found those papers and returned them to me. It means the world to me. I’m very grateful to everyone involved in getting this stuff back to me. It means more to me than you can imagine.”

Anyone who has other paperwork belonging to Frost, especially his journal, can drop it off no questions asked to Jeff Bobo at the Kingsport Times News office or to Danny Breeding at the Veterans Services Office on the first floor of the Hawkins County Courthouse in Rogersville.

They will make sure the property gets back to Frost.

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