Vietnam Personal Accounts


Bobby Ruble


1st Tank Battalion, 1966/1967


Bob Ruble



Bob Ruble quit high school to join the United States Marine Corps (USMC), where he was hoping for Korea, but instead was selected to be a Drill Instructor at Marine Corps Recruit Depot (MCRD), San Diego. In 1956, he was transferred to MCRD, Parris Island, South Carolina, as a Drill Instructor.


Later he changed his specialty to Tank Crewman. In 1960, Ruble was assigned to a cruise with the 6th Fleet in the Mediterranean. Then landing in Turkey, they set up their tanks facing a small mountain, knowing there were Navy ships in the bay on the other side. The job was to fire the main gun into the side of the hill. While making ready for a late 4th of July celebration, they were setting up a range card for night firing, the gunner broke the Ballistic Computer, which computed elevation and deflection for the type of ammunition fired. The Sergeant asked Ruble if he could hit the side of the hill. Ruble replied, "No Problem". When night came, the command was given to commence firing. After Ruble's third round went off, the command to cease-fire was screamed over the radio. Turned out that Ruble had shot over the top of the hill and the rounds were landing in the bay in the vicinity of the Navy ships.


Ready for a change but not ready to shed a uniform yet, he joined the Tampa Police Department and was assigned to the Traffic Division as a Motorcycle Officer. He received a citation for aiding a heart attack victim at the Tampa airport. But longing for pride of being a Marine, re-enlisted and went on to serve over twenty years in the USMC. He held the position of Tank Commander with the 1st Tank Battalion in Vietnam during 1966 and 1967. After Vietnam, he again changed the direction of his military career. He served ten years in the Criminal Investigation Division (CID) and a subsequent tour in Vietnam. Upon retirement from the USMC, he served in a variety of law enforcement agencies, capping his career as Chief of Police in Kennesaw, Georgia from 1980-1986. In 1982 the Mayor and City Council of Kennesaw, passed a controversial law wherein all of their citizens armed themselves against the criminal element. Ruble was the spokesman for that gun law that was passed.


While working fulltime as the Chief of Police, he enrolled in Brenau College in Gainesville, Georgia. He worked in the day and went to college at night. He was able to teach his history class a few things about Vietnam, as well. He earned a Bachelor of Science degree when he was 51 years old.


Military honors include: The Navy Commendation Medal with Combat "V"; The Unit Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry with Palm. Police certifications include: P.O.S.T. Certified Executive Level; Radar Instructor; Forensic Hypnotist. Police Honors include: attendance at the FBI National Academy, 129th Session; Georgia State President of the National Association of Chiefs of Police; 11th District Vice-President of Georgia Chiefs of Police; J. Edgar Hoover Memorial Award for Distinguished Police Service; 1983 Americanism Award from Citizens Offering Police Support (COPS); The James Madison Award for Excellence in Journalism for the newspaper article "A Tale of Two Gun Cities"; and was listed in both the 1980 and 1983 editions of WHO’S WHO IN AMERICAN LAW ENFORCEMENT, and the 1986 edition of MEN OF ACHIEVEMENT.