Army Veteran Robert William Patterson is today’s Veteran of the Day.

Today’s #VeteranOfTheDay is Army Veteran Robert William Patterson. Patterson served as a rifleman during World War II.

Robert William Patterson was born in August 1922 in Chicago to James and Bernice Patterson. He had two siblings, John and Margaret. He enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1943 and underwent basic training at Fort Leonard Wood in Missouri.

Patterson served in Germany and Czechoslovakia as a member of F Company of the 386th Infantry Regiment of the 97th Infantry Division. Initially, the 97th underwent amphibious assault training in preparation for combat in the Pacific Theater, but due to casualties caused by the Battle of the Bulge, the division was reassigned to Germany.

In 1945, while stationed in Bor, Czechoslovakia (currently the Czech Republic), Patterson and his unit sat down to rest and eat. He heard a gunshot while opening a chocolate bar and felt his left hand grow numb. Confused, he stood up to discover what had happened. A fellow soldier, comprehending the situation, made Patterson lie down. He had been shot by a German sniper. The sniper’s bullet had gone through Patterson’s left arm near the elbow and entered his torso. The numbness in his left was due to nerves being hit by the bullet. Medics came and bandaged his wound, and he was evacuated to Germany to undergo an operation in a military hospital to remove his spleen. Patterson was then sent to recover at a hospital in Rheims, France. He received a Purple Heart for his injuries.

After the war, Patterson attended Northwestern University, earning a degree in mechanical engineering in 1947. He joined Sargent & Lundy of Chicago the same year, an engineering and construction consulting company. By 1964, Patterson became a partner at the firm, eventually becoming a senior partner before retiring in 1983 to spend more time with his wife, Rae, and their family.

Patterson died in 2018 at the age of 95. He is buried at the Town of Maine Cemetery in Park Ridge, Illinois. He is remembered by his two children and seven grandchildren.

We honor his service.

Nominate a Veteran for #VeteranOfTheDay

Do you want to light up the face of a special Veteran? Have you been wondering how to tell your Veteran they are special to you? VA’s #VeteranOfTheDay social media feature is an opportunity to highlight your Veteran and his/her service.

It’s easy to nominate a Veteran. Visit our blog post about nominating to learn how to create the best submission.

Veterans History Project

This #VeteranOfTheDay profile was created with interviews submitted to the Veterans History Project. The project collects, preserves, and makes accessible the personal accounts of American war Veterans so that future generations may hear directly from Veterans and better understand the realities of war. Find out more at

Writer: Jack Patterson

Editors: Annabelle Cotton, Brooke Wolfenbarger

Researchers: Timothy Georgetti, David Charles Deprez

Graphic artist: Philip Levine

By DME Interns

Share this story

Published on Jun. 28, 2022

Estimated reading time is 2.5 min.

Views to date: 190

More Stories

  • Edward Carter Jr. was one of the few African Americans to be awarded the Medal of Honor for actions during World War II.

  • Today’s #VeteranOfTheDay is Spiros “Steve” Pisanos, a Greek national who flew for the British Royal Air Force as an American pilot during World War II.

  • Today’s #VeteranOfTheDay is Marine Corps Veteran Stephen W. Pless, who served in the Vietnam War and is the only Marine aviator to be awarded a Medal of Honor during the war.