Robert L. Foster (1968/01/22)
Visions of the movie Bridge Over the River Kwai may have entered Robert's mind as he stepped into that river to go bathing.
Robert L. Foster was born in Colorado on January 6, 1941, to Mr. and Mrs. Clyde Foster. He was raised and lived in that state until about 1962 or 1963 when he arrived in Santa Cruz County, California. He and his wife, Betty, moved into the Live Oak district of the county and settled into a residence on 34th Avenue near Pleasure Point by the ocean.
It is not known when Robert Foster entered the US Army; however, by 1967 he had completed his initial training and risen in rank to specialist fifth class. Foster was assigned to the 44th Engineering Group (Construction) at Kanchanaburi, Thailand.
“In the jungles of Thailand, the US Army supported major activities for both the Vietnam War and the secret war in Laos. The 44th Engineer Group was assigned the task to build roads and a support (logistics) network based in the plateau region of central Thailand known as Korat.”
On January 22, 1968, Robert Foster's wife received news from the Sixth US Army Headquarters in San Francisco that her husband had drowned while bathing in a river near Kanchanaburi, Thailand. That river is likely the River Kwai that runs through Kanchanaburi.
Foster's body was recovered and returned to Santa Cruz where a funeral with full military honors was conducted followed by interment in Oakwood Memorial Park.
(SCSn January 25, 1968 1:7, Oakwood Memorial Park records; http://www.geocities.com/koratmahknut/44thengrgp/historical.htm [29 May 2009], 44th Eng History,)