Robert Hebard served in the United States Navy aboard the USS Panay. He would be awarded the Navy Cross for his actions during the Panay incident. His award citation reads: The President of the United States of America takes pleasure in presenting the Navy Cross to Fireman First Class Robert Raymond Hebard, United States Navy, for extraordinary heroism and devotion to duty during the bombing and loss of the U.S.S. PANAY (PR-5), when that vessel was attacked by Japanese airplanes during patrol in the Yangtze River, China, on 12 December 1937. Fireman First Class Hebard was a member of the crew which courageously operated the machine gun battery against the attacking planes, even though these guns could not bear forward from which direction most of the attacks were made. Though seriously wounded, he remained at his post of duty until ammunition was expended and he was carried from the ship. The conduct of Fireman First Class Hebard throughout this action reflects great credit upon himself, and was in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service. Hebard's official residence was listed as Sparta, Wisconsin.