Military Police Officer Robert Bruce Lambert

Military Police Officer Robert Bruce Lambert

United States Army Military Police Corps, U.S. Government

End of Watch Saturday, October 16, 1976

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Robert Bruce Lambert

Staff Sergeant Robert Lambert was stabbed to death inside of the Cumberland County Law Enforcement Center while attempting to restrain a combative prisoner.

The man produced a concealed knife and stabbed him in the thigh, severing a major artery.

The subject who stabbed him was convicted of murder in state court and subsequently sentenced to life in prison. He was released in 2004.

Staff Sergeant Lambert was assigned to the booking area at the county jail to process military prisoners; he had previously served with the United States Army in the Vietnam War assigned to 21st Military Police Company, 503rd Military Police Battalion, Fort Bragg, North Carolina. He was a recipient of the Bronze Star Medal, Purple Heart Medal, and Combat Infantryman's Badge.

He is survived by his wife, child, and mother.


  • Age 33
  • Tour Not available
  • Badge Not available
  • Military Veteran

Incident Details

  • Cause Stabbed
  • Location North Carolina
  • Weapon Edged weapon
  • Offender Released in 2004

disturbance, fight call, prisoner custody

Most Recent Reflection

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On the night of October 16th, 1976 members of my platoon were working patrol on night shift at Ft. Bragg. I was not the MP Duty Officer that night, but I was out working the street with my MPs to evaluate training needs, get their input on various topics, and just spend some time working patrol with my own platoon members. In those days when your turn to be the M.P. Duty Officer came up more than likely you were working with M.P.s from a platoon other than yours.

When we received the notification of Sgt. Lambert’s passing, I assumed the role of M.P. Duty Officer on Post allowing the other LT on duty to focus on Sgt. Lambert’s murder and deal with the chain of command.

My first thought was I needed to make sure all of our M.P.s stayed focused on our mission and not let their emotions get out of control. I included myself in that concern as I was all of 23 years old at the time. We had a good desk crew on, good NCOs in the field, and Spec 4s and below that wanted to do their best so we functioned very well as a unit under very trying circumstances. I am still extremely proud of those MPs.

Early on in this nightmare situation I went to Womack Army Hospital to interview the other M.P. who had been stabbed with Sgt. Lambert. We were still trying to piece everything together and C.I.D. was not on scene yet.

That M.P. had been part of the MP/FPD apprehension team when the suspect was initially picked up downtown. I don’t remember the name of the M.P. who was with me (my passenger as I always did my own driving) but I do recall us discussing at length what we had just heard because it was pretty disturbing.

After clearing the hospital and passing on the results of the interview I remember making a traffic stop where our emotions were put to the test. The driver, a soldier, started giving us a bunch of lip. I told him in no uncertain terms that it was the worst night possible to give an M.P. a hard time. He quickly got the message and I think we sent him on his way with a warning.

If I could tell Sgt. Lambert anything, I would want to convey how his heroic passing saved many law enforcement lives, in an out of the military. I would also tell him that he died because other law enforcement officers failed to do their job properly. That really is the truth of it.

I spent 44 years in law enforcement (military and civilian) working in patrol, detectives, deep cover, training, and command positions. I would know other officers who were killed in the line but none of those tragedies affected me more than the loss of Sgt. Lambert. I am sure other MPs from the 503rd feel the same way.

There were many lessons to be learned from that night and learning those lessons saved law enforcement lives. I passed on those lessons many times when working with or leading other law officers.

To be a soldier or a law enforcement officer is a special calling. When the two are combined a very special and dedicated person is needed to make it work. The memory of Sgt. Lambert made us all better at performing our chosen duty.

God bless America and those who protect her!

Michael F. Fitzpatrick, Maj. MP, USAR
Plt Ldr, 65th MP Co

February 16, 2023

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