Colonel Robert W. Black was born on June 15, 1926 in Carlisle, Pennsylvania. He grew up on a farm between Carlisle and Gettysburg. He enlisted in the regular Army after High School, volunteered for the Airborne and completed Parachute and Glider training. Black was serving in the 82nd Airborne Division when the Korean War began. When the formation of the first Airborne Ranger Companies in the history of the Army was announced, Black was among the volunteers. He was selected and assigned to serve in the 8th Ranger Infantry Company (Airborne).
During the Korean War one Airborne Ranger Company of five officers and 107 enlisted men was assigned to each Infantry and Cavalry Division in the Army. The company mission was to infiltrate through enemy line and attack command posts, artillery, tank parks, and key communication centers. The Rangers were highly trained in close combat, weapons, demolitions, day and night reconnaissance and combat patrolling, ambush and raids.
Ranger operations were primarily forward of friendly lines. On arrival in Korea the 8th Airborne Rangers were attached to the 24th Infantry Division.
Decorated during his three campaigns in Korea, Black was commissioned in 1954. He fought in five campaigns in Vietnam again was decorated (sic). Parachute and Glider qualified, he holds two awards of the Combat infantry
badge, the Silver Star, two Bronze Stars for valor, the Legion of Merit, the Air Medal and 18 other awards and decorations. After 30 years of Army service he became a writer and historian covering four centuries of American Ranger history. Known as "The Dean of Ranger History", his legacy is the Ranger words, "You can accomplish anything. It is all in the heart and the mind."