Before becoming a colonel in the United States Air Force and a member of the Church, Robert Detweiler grew up in Zeigler, Illinois.
After graduating from high school in the 1940s, Detweiler attended the U.S. Naval Academy where he became a member of the school’s rowing team. Known as the “Great Eight,” his team is considered the finest in the history of the sport. They never lost a single race, including when they took gold at the 1952 Helsinki Olympics.
Robert Detweiler, center, presents a banner from the Soviet Union to Captain Ian C. Eddy, surrounded by the rest of his eight-man rowing crew.
A year after his Olympic victory, Detweiler graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy and became a pilot in the Air Force, serving 26 years and earning five Distinguished Flying Crosses, the Legion of Merit, and the Distinguished Service Medal. Detweiler also became a nuclear physicist and was named "The Most Outstanding Military Scientist" in 1965.
During this time, Detweiler began investigating the Church and was later baptized. In 1978 he married Donnell Brown in the Idaho Falls Temple. During his years as a member, he served faithfully in a number of callings, including a bishopric counselor, temple ordinance worker, and Scout leader.
Among his many jobs, Detweiler served as the Director of Research for energy and communications at Eyring Research Institute in Provo.
A man of many talents, Detweiler also served as the Director of Research for energy and communications at Eyring Research Institute in Provo, became a founding member of the Utah Piano Quartet, sang with the Salt Lake Opera Company, and served as chairman of the Utah County Arts Council.