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Robert P Kassin


Before he was killed down this week in a bombed-out region of Afghanistan, Army Sergeant Robert P. Kassin helped build a school where none had ever stood as part of an effort “to make things right,” his father said Wednesday.

Kassin was on his second tour of duty in Afghanistan, and “he requested this assignment to go back because the primary mission was to rebuild,” his father, Robert Joseph Kassin, said in a telephone interview from Clovis, N.M. That’s where his son had spent most of his life before moving to Las Vegas after his junior year of high school.

The Department of Defense said the 29-year-old soldier was killed Sunday at Larzab Base, Afghanistan when enemy forces attacked his platoon with small arms fire during combat operations. Kassin was assigned to Charlie Company of the 2nd “Warrior” Battalion, 4th Infantry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team of the 10th Mountain Division out of Fort Polk, La.

“They created a school for an area that never had a school before. He was actually very proud to be over there doing that. … He was very proud of his military service. He tried to make things right,” the elder Kassin said.

He said his son had listed Las Vegas as his home of record because that’s where he joined the Army in 1996, the year after he came to Las Vegas to help his uncle, the late Paul Knowlden, with a television repair business. In the fall of 1995, Kassin had waited too long to finish his senior year at a public high school. Instead, he attended a special private school to graduate, his father said.

“I was still in the Air Force at the time,” said Robert Joseph Kassin, a retired avionics technician. “He decided in his senior year to enlist in the military and went into the Army. I told him I would stand by any decisions he made.”

By the time he was killed, his son was on his third enlistment and second tour of Afghanistan, having served there at the onset of the invasion in the aftermath of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

“We sent a Red Cross message to him and two days later he was able to contact us but was unable to make the funeral. When we talked to him at that time, he expressed wishes that he be buried in Louisiana close to his grandfather,” the elder Kassin said.

He said his son “liked video games and music. We worked on cars together. … He liked taking care of people. He liked being a leader and being the center of attention. He liked to keep people happy and take care of them,” he said.

Robert Paul Kassin was born Jan. 22, 1977, in Flint, Mich. After moves dictated by his father’s Air Force career, the family eventually settled in Clovis, N.M., where Cannon Air Force Base is located.

At 19, Kassin left Las Vegas in 1996 for the Army and was later stationed in Germany where he met his first wife, Carey Kassin, who also was a soldier. They were married in 1998 and a year later, their son, Joseph Dakota Kassin, was born.

“I see him every day, every time I look at our son. He (Joseph) told me every day, ‘I’m so proud of my dad,'” she said.


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