The US Navy was not that active in WWI; after War was declared in 1917, however, many privately owned vessels were recruited to transport troops, escort larger vessels, and hunt submarines. Also, our Merchant Marine vessels were sometimes recruited. Your man could have served on any of these.
There is a Robert Campbell Carlton, of St. Clair Michigan, who registered for the WWI draft in Sept 1918. (keep in mind the War ended Nov 11, 1918). Also, you said your Father was born in 1919 meaning he could have been conceived in 1918. So this Robert Campbell Carlton could have been a service memeber on an American vessel when the troops were being brought back from Europe.
The reason I picked this particular Robert Carlton is that on the WWI Draft Registration, he stated that he was in the Military at Port Huron Michigan, which is a Port on one of our Great Lakes. It's possible that the boat/ship he was assigned to was used by our Military. He also stated on the registration that he was a Bank Clerk.
Other info is : his Mother was Maggie Carlton, he was tall, of medium build, had blue eyes and brown hair. Port Huron is in Saint Claire County, MI.
This is really like searching for a needle in a haystack, as we say.
There is also another Robert C. Carlton from Canada; a lot of the Americans joined up with the Canadian Forces when War was declared as Canada already had an Air Force, etc.
There are a couple of births for a Robert Carlton in the UK in 1919...do you know his Mother's maiden name???
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