Vet still finds reason to get Gateway diploma, fulfill parents' dream
By Jacquie Harris
Published: Wednesday, March 13, 2013, 9:01 p.m.
A Monroeville man is proud he received his high school diploma even if it was more than 40 years late.
Robert W. Arbster, 61, received the diploma from Gateway High School on Feb. 26.
He didn't graduate with his class because he went to Vietnam, where he was deployed in 1970.
“I wanted to get this for my parents,” Arbster said about obtaining his high school diploma.
“I didn't get to fulfill that dream while they were alive, but I fulfilled it.”
Arbster served in the 1st Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment as a truck driver.
He was honorably discharged, and he recently found out he could receive his high school diploma through a state program.
Operation Recognition is a program through the state Department of Military and Veterans Affairs that allows school officials to grant a high school diploma to veterans who left school to serve in World War II, the Korean War or the Vietnam War.
About a month after inquiring about the program, Arbster got a call that he was eligible to receive his diploma.
Gateway High School Principal William Short presented the diploma to him during a school board meeting.
“Back in the '60s, it was every parent's dream to have their children receive a high school education and diploma,” Arbster said.
“Today, everyone assumes that you'll go to high school and go to college.”
That isn't to say Arbster doesn't have a history of which to be proud.
He was awarded the Navy Achievement Medal for supporting the unit for driving a large number of miles over hazardous roads in June of 1971, while he was in Vietnam for 10 months.
“What I remember most is the camaraderie in Vietnam,” Arbster said.
“I've never been able to achieve that again.”
He received a General Educational Development diploma and an associate's degree from the Community College of Allegheny County in administration of criminal justice and worked at Forbes Regional Hospital in Monroeville for 29 years as a security supervisor.
Arbster now works at the University of Pittsburgh as a security guard.
Jacquie Harris is a freelance writer for Trib Total Media.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Voters to decide on library tax in Monroeville
- Pitcairn considers options for Fire Company No. 1
- With low salt, Monroeville conserves usage