|Robin was born
on February 12, 1948 in Wisconsin Rapids, Wisconsin, the
second child of Andrew and Corinne Arnold. He and his
older sister would be followed by 4 more siblings. Because
of his penchant to make a rather odiferous mess in his diapers,
the family began calling him "Stinker". Soon,
this became "Tinker" and finally shortened to
just "Tink". Even as he got older, Tink couldn't
get his family to stop calling him that but to his friends, he
was known as "Arnie".
In 1959, his mother and
father divorced and he moved with his mother and siblings to
Illinois, just outside Chicago. As the oldest male in the
household, he often assumed the responsibilities of the
"man of the house" while his older sister took care of
the young ones.
By his early teens, his
family had settled in to a house in Streamwood, Illinois,
situated 30 miles northwest of Chicago. He attended Larkin
High School in Elgin, but left before graduation in order to
Tink's dream was to be a
Marine. He couldn't wait. As soon as he hit 17, he
enlisted. He signed up under the "buddy plan"
with his best friend from Streamwood, Tom Wingrenn.
According to the recruiter, they would never be split
up. Off they went to Camp Pendleton. They
went through Boot together. Everything was
Tom was about 6 months
older than Tink and, when he finished boot camp and turned 18,
they shipped him off to Nam. Tink was furious. He
argued with everyone and anyone about it. He even went so
far as to write President Johnson. To no avail.
Johnson returned a letter saying that he was sorry, but it was
against the law to send a 17 year-old to Nam.