Command Sergeant Major Robert M. Delia, U. S. Army (Retired)
Date of Retirement: 30 June 1978
Length of Service: 30 years, 3 months, 7 days
Command Sergeant Major Robert M. Delia, U. S. Army (Retired) passed away on January 12, 2023 at the Edith Nourse Rogers Memorial Veterans Hospital in Bedford, MA. He was 91. CSM Delia was born on March 20, 1931 in South St. Paul, Minnesota son of the late Katharine (Kovacs) and Charles Delia.
When promoted to Sergeant Major in January 1967, he was one of the youngest Sergeant Majors in the Army at the age of 35 years with 18 years of service. The average age and years of service were 45 years old and 24 years of service at that time.
He was one of the first Sergeants Major to be appointed to Command Sergeant Major, July 1968, the month when the US Army first created the Command Sergeant Major rank. He served as Battalion CSM for 1st Bn, 13th Infantry and 2nd Bn, 68th Armor in Baumholder, Germany, interrupted by two assignments to Vietnam where he served as Battalion CSM for the 2nd Bn, 28th Infantry and the 158th Aviation Battalion.
Since 1978 he had been a member of the Chief of Staff of the Army New England Area Retiree Council and was its Co-Chairman for many years. He was a member of Groton Pepperell Rotary from 1978 to 1994 and was its President 1983-84. He was a member of the Board of Management of the Ayer Armed Services YMCA from 1985 to 1992 and was the Chairman during all of this period. On 19 June 1988 he was awarded the “National Civilian Volunteer Leader of the Year 1987” plaque for exceptional volunteer leadership and involvement with the U.S. military and their family members at the YMCA General Assembly in Boston, Mass. He is a member of the Board of Trustees of the Boston Armed Services YMCA. From 1991 to 1994 he served as Vice-President for Non-Commissioned Officers and Enlisted Affairs for the Association of the U.S. Army First Region encompassing the nine North Eastern States; Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania. He is also a Board Member of the Minuteman Chapter, Association of the U.S. Army.
He was a life member of the following: Military Order of the Purple Heart, AMVETS, Disabled American Veterans, The Retired Sergeants Major and Chiefs Association, Combat Infantrymenʼs Association, and the three Divisions he was in combat with – 1st Cavalry Division Association (Korea), Society of the 1st Infantry Division (Vietnam) and the 101st Airborne Division Association (Vietnam). Member of the Association of the United States Army, National Association of Uniformed Services, American Military Society and Special Forces Association
His wife of 51 years, Joan, died on October 5, 2004. She was the epitome of the Army Wife – “Army Wife, the toughest job in the Army.” She was a great partner while he served in the Army and after his retirement. Joan accompanied her veteran husband on his many military assignments in the United States and overseas. They served three assignments at the former Fort Devens, where her husband served as Post Command Sergeant Major from 1973 – 1978. Joan was very well known in the Fort Devens Community for her active membership on numerous boards and helping soldiers and their families. She also worked at the post dental clinic as a Red Cross dental assistant. Mrs. Delia was recognized for her selfless service with the many awards she received from the military units and associations she and her husband belonged to. She was also a recipient of a service award from the Boston Armed Services YMCA.
Together with Joan, Mr. Delia raised four children: daughter Kimberly was born in 1954 in St. Paul, MN; son Bruce was born in 1955 at Fort Carson, CO; son Terry was born in 1959 at Fort Devens, MA; daughter Robin was born in 1962 at the Presidio of San Francisco, CA. He also had two grandchildren, Benjamin and Terry.
Bob had been active in all his retirement years in helping retirees get information on their benefits and helping them get their benefits from the VA. He had taken them to the VA Admin Office in Boston, VA hospital in Boston and the DAV office in Boston. He also enjoyed traveling with Joan, exploring many inns and beds and breakfast in New Hampshire, Maine and Vermont.
In accordance with Bob’s wishes, no public services will be held. He will be laid to rest during a private ceremony at Woodlawn Cemetery, Pepperell alongside his late wife, Joan.
Enlisted in the US Army 23 March 1948
Basic Training – Fort Knox, Kentucky
Japan July 1948 to June 1950
Korea June 1950 to August 1951 – Korean War
USA August 1951 to November 1956
Korea November 1956 to March 1958
USA March 1958 to December 1961
Korea December 1961 to January 1963
USA January 1963 to August 1967
Germany August 1967 to July 1969
Vietnam August 1969 to August 1970 – Vietnam War
Germany October 1970 to June 1973
USA June 1973 to June 1978
Principal Duty Assignments the Last Fifteen Years of Service
Robert M. Delia, Command Sergeant Major
Jun 1973 to Jun 1978 Post Command Sergeant Major, Fort Devens, Massachusetts
Aug 1970 to Jun 1973 Battalion Command Sergeant Major, 2nd Battalion 68th Armor, Baumholder Germany
Feb 1970 to Aug 1970 Battalion Command Sergeant Major, 158th Aviation Battalion, Vietnam
Aug 1969 to Feb 1970 Battalion Command Sergeant Major, 2nd Battalion 28th Infantry, Vietnam
Aug 1967 to Aug 1969 Battalion Command Sergeant Major, 1st Battalion 13th Infantry, Baumholder, Germany
Jan 1967 to Aug 1967 Chief Enlisted Advisor (Sergeant Major), 76th Reserve Training Division, West Hartford, Connecticut
Jul 1965 to Jan 1967 First Sergeant, HQ XIII US Army Corps, Fort Devens, Mass.
Feb 1963 to Jul 1965 US Army Reserve Officer Training Corps (New England Area Colleges and Universities) Admin/Operations Non-Commissioned Officer, HQ XIII US Army Corps, Fort Devens, Massachusetts
Combat Infantrymanʼs Badge w/star (2 awards) (Korea and Vietnam)
Legion of Merit
Bronze Star Medal w/V device w/3 Oak Leaf Clusters (4 awards)
Purple Heart medal w /Oak Leaf Cluster (2 awards) (Korea and Vietnam)
Meritorious Service Medal
Air Medal w/4 device (5 awards)
Army Commendation Medal w/2 Oak Leaf Clusters (3 awards)
Good Conduct Medal w/5 Silver Knots (10 awards)
Army of Occupation Medal, WWII
National Defense Service Ribbon w/Oak Leaf Cluster (2 awards)
Korean Campaign Ribbon w/6 battle stars
Vietnam Campaign Medal w/4 battle stars
Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry w/Bronze Star
United Nations Medal (Korea)
Vietnamese Service Medal w/60 device
American Unit Presidential Citation (2 awards)
Valorous Unit Award w/Oak Leaf Cluster (2 awards)
Korean Presidential Unit Citation
Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry w/Palm (5 awards)
Vietnamese Civic Action Medal w/Palm (5 awards)
Korean War Service Medal
Order of Saint Maurice Recipient – Centurion L – Medal