Memorial Day speaker always a Marine
Wilton Police Lt. Robert S. Kluk, the speaker for this year’s Memorial Day parade, grew up wanting to be a U.S. Marine and a police officer, and made both dreams come true.
“It was something I wanted to do,” said Kluk, 43, of Shelton.
He joined the Marine Corps when he was 17 because he alway admired the fancy uniforms and figured the Marines were the best branch of the services.
“I wanted to serve my country and thought, ‘They have the best uniforms. They look good,’” Kluk said.
He has been with the police department more than 18 years. But his preparation came from being in the Marine Corps from 1991 to 1995, when he left with a rank of sergeant D5.
“I was the first in my family to serve in the Marines,” Kluk said, pointing out that his grandfather had served in the U.S. Army.
“I started at Parris Island, and was at Camp Lejeune with the 2nd Marine Division, surveillance intelligence and reconnaissance group, Bravo Company. My MOS was communications intelligence, and I also served in Operation Uphold Democracy, the Invasion of Haiti, in September of 1994. I was attached to the air ground task force and at one time was a commander for the light armored vehicle mobile electronic warfare system support vehicle, collecting intelligence for the onsite commander.”
He also served in Norway.
For Memorial Day, Kluk will speak about fallen veterans and their significance, and what that means to him.
“I would say that being a veteran and serving our country makes me very proud,” Kluk said. “It’s my first time being the invited speaker. I usually march in the parade and am in the honor guard.”
Memorial Day represents who the veterans are, for him.
“I’ve always thought the U.S. is definitely a leader in the world, and serving with the United States gives us a huge sense of pride. Veterans love the U.S. and they do it because they love it. I would do it all over again.”
Kluk is currently working on his bachelor’s degree at the online University of Phoenix. He is married to Emily and has three children, two boys and a girl.
“After the parade and ceremony, I’ll probably go down to Merwin Meadows where the Parks and Recreation Department has the annual barbecue down there, and then I’ll go home and spend the day with family,” Kluk said.
The Waterbury native is also glad he joined the Marines for the lifelong friendships it brought.
“I still keep in contact with a couple of people I worked with,” he said.
Robert S. Kluk is sworn in as a lieutenant in Wilton’s police department last month. He will be the keynote speaker at this year’s Memorial Day remembrance at Hillside Cemetery.
Robert S. Kluk