Robinson focuses on friends from Naval Academy now in Gulf

January 17, 1991

San Antonio Spurs center David Robinson, a Navy Reservist, said it was difficult to concentrate on last night's game against Dallas after watching television news reports of the war breaking out in the Persian Gulf.

His thoughts were on the U.S. troops, some of whom he met at the Naval Academy in Annapolis, some when he served active duty for two years in Kings Bay, Ga. One of those men is Cliff Rees, a Mount Hebron graduate and a former teammate at Navy.

"I think about those guys a lot and I think about the fact that I could be out there," Robinson said. "That's a very sobering thought."

Last night was a very somber evening. Tom and Barbara Rees of Ellicott City, Cliff's parents, were in Halsey Fieldhouse for Navy's game with Richmond when an announcement was made that the United States was at war. One of the Navy players went into the stands to give Barbara a hug.

In San Antonio, Robinson went out and scored 30 points in the Spurs' 100-94 victory over the Mavericks, but he was struggling.

"Everybody was a little anxious . . ." Robinson said. "I just felt like sitting around and watching TV and seeing what's going on."

Robinson said he has believed for some time that the United States would attack Iraq.

"Everyone who has gone and talked to Hussein hasn't gotten any reaction. It's like they're talking at themselves," he said.

Robinson, a 7-foot-1 center who set 33 school records at Navy, served two years' active duty and still has three years' reserve commitment.

"If I have to serve, I'll serve and I'll go eagerly," he said on Tuesday. "I don't consider myself any different than anybody else, so if I go, I'll go eagerly."

Cmdr. Dottie Schmidt of the Naval Reserve Force in New Orleans said he probably will not be called up. Robinson is an Individual Mobilization Augmentee and does not participate in monthly reserve drills. His active duty is restricted to two weeks of annual training.

"He's currently not assigned to a unit, so his chances of being called up are slim," said Schmidt, adding that if he were called, Robinson would be assigned to the Naval Facilities Engineering Command in Washington.

Robinson has an architecture specialty in building runways and is a lieutenant junior grade in the Officer Sea and Air Mariner Program.

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