Both Robert and his father Isaac, then living in Fairfield county, Ohio, enlisted to fight for the United States in the War of 1812. According to the History of Ohio, Isaac enlisted in Capt. George Sanderson's Company of Ohio Militia and was captured in Detroit. As a militiaman (not a regular US Army soldier), Isaac was paroled to return home and permitted to keep his sword, which became a treasured heirloom in the Larimer family for generations.
According to a June, 1921 letter to the newspaper written by Robert's nephew, Aaron Work (1837-1924), both Robert and Isaac Larimer were with General Hull's division of the US Army at Detroit. The letter explains that when "the old Tory" (meaning Hull) surrendered to the British, Robert was also paroled but instead of going home, he fought for the US side until the war ended in 1815.
Military service in the War of 1812 entitled Robert to land bounty--which he used to acquire land in Ohio in September, 1834, for his growing family.
By the way, Robert's brother, John Larimer (1794-1843), served in the War of 1812 as a "90-day man," according to his nephew Aaron Work. Both John and his brother Robert are buried in Eldridge Cemetery, Middlebury, Elkhart county, Indiana.