Purvis, Rob

Rob Purvis was born May 16, 1947 in Winnipeg, Manitoba.  He grew up in a working class neighbourhood, against the backdrop of Canada’s postwar boom and the emerging Cold War.  He and 3 of his friends, the sons of World War Two veterans, made the decision to head south to join the American army – and to fight in Vietnam.  After basic training, Rob applied to go to jump school; he was accepted and was sent as well for jungle combat training in Panama.  At this time Rod took a 30-day leave in Canada before his deployment overseas.  He arrived in Cam Ranh Bay and was sent to the Central Highlands, where he joined the 75th Rangers.  Many LRRP missions followed in that region, along with leaves to Hong Kong and Bangkok.  His DEROS came in 1970, and Rob was able to make it back to Winnipeg without experiencing the difficult homecoming that awaited many American Vietnam veterans.  Rob was able to reconnect with friends and other Vietnam vets in Canada, all the while resuming normal life.  With time the vets would visit the Legion, and they began to experience difficulties as they were not welcomed.  Rob became active in the CVVA, as he and other vets built bridges across Canada, and reconnected with Vietnam veterans in the US.  Over time, they were accepted, and in recent years they have begun observing Remembrance Day alongside other members of the Legion and the larger community.  Rob Purvis was interviewed over zoom at his home in Winnipeg by Scott Masters in the summer of 2021.