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Robert Lawrence Eichelberger
Birth: Mar. 9, 1886
Urbana
Champaign County
Ohio, USA
Death: Sep. 26, 1961
Asheville
Buncombe County
North Carolina, USA

US Army General. A highly decorated World War II veteran, he rose in rank to become commander of the 8th US Army that operated in the Southwest Pacific Area during that time. The youngest of five children, his father was a farmer and lawyer. After graduating from Urbana High School in his hometown in 1903, he attended Ohio State University at Columbus, Ohio for a year before securing an appointment to the US Military Academy at West Point, New York. He entered West Point in June 1905 and graduated in June 1909 with a commission as a 2nd lieutenant in the 25th Infantry, transferring to the 10th Infantry at Fort Benjamin Harrison, Indiana the following month. In March 1911, his unit was sent to San Antonio, Texas, where it became part of the Maneuver Division, established to undertake offensive operations during the Border War with Mexico, followed six months later by service in the Panama Canal Zone. In March 1915 he returned to the US and was assigned to the 22nd Infantry at Fort Porter, New York, which was later sent to the Mexican border and based at Douglas, Arizona. In July 1916 he was promoted to the rank of 1st lieutenant and two months later he became Professor of Military Science and Tactics at Kemper Military School in Boonville, Missouri. In April 1917 he was promoted to the rank of captain and assigned to the 20th Infantry at Fort Douglas, Utah, and commanded a battalion until September, when he was transferred to the newly formed 43rd Infantry at Camp Pike, Arkansas. In February 1918 he was assigned to the War Department General Staff in Washington DC where he became an assistant to Brigadier General William S. Graves, and was promoted to the rank of major the following June. In August 1918 while newly assigned to the 8th Infantry Division's, he was sent to Siberia as part of the American Expeditionary Force in support the Allied intervention in the Russian Civil War and served on the ten-nation Inter-Allied Military Council. In April 1920 he left Siberia for the Philippines where he became Assistant Chief of Staff, G-2 (Intelligence) of the Philippine Department. After serving in China where he established intelligence offices in Peking (now Beijing) and Tientsin (now Tianjin) he returned to the US in May 1921, where he was assigned to the Far Eastern Section of the G-2 (Intelligence) Division of the War Department General Staff in Washington. In July 1924 he attended the Army Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas and after graduation, he remained there as it's Adjutant General. In April 1925 he was assigned to Fort Hayes, Ohio and the following July he transferred to the Adjutant General's Corps in Washington. In 1929 he attended the Army War College at Carlisle Barracks, Pennsylvania and returned to the Adjutant General's Office in Washington following graduation. In 1931 he was assigned to West Point as its adjutant and promoted to the rank of lieutenant colonel in August 1934. In April 1935 he became Secretary of the War Department General Staff, working for the Chief of Staff of the US Army, General Douglas MacArthur. In July 1937 he transferred back to the Infantry but remained Secretary of the War Department General Staff until October 1938, and was promoted to the rank of colonel the previous August. He then became commander of the 30th Infantry at the Presidio of San Francisco, California after taking a refresher course at the Infantry School at Fort Benning, Georgia. In October 1940 he was promoted to the rank of brigadier general and appointed Superintendent of West Point. In July 1941 he was promoted to the rank of major general and after the US declared war on Japan the following December, he became commander of the 77th Infantry Division at Fort Jackson, South Carolina in March 1942. The following June he was promoted to the rank of lieutenant general and became commander of the 1st Corps and two months later, at the request of General MacArthur, he and his staff were sent to Australia to command military operations in the Southwest Pacific Theater of Operations and over the next two years was actively involved in the Battle of Buna-Gona (November 1942 until January 1943), Operations Reckless and Persecution (the Allied amphibious landings at Hollandia and Aitape, respectively, which commenced the Western New Guinea campaign in April 1944), the Battle of Biak, New Guinea (May 1944 until August 1944), and the Battle of Leyte, Philippines (October 1944). In August 1944 he became commander of the newly formed 8th US Army and they arrived on Luzon, Philippines in January 1945 and following the Battle of Luzon, the Battle of the Visayas, the Invasion of Palawan, and the Battle of Mindanao, the US brought an end to the Japanese occupation. The following September, after the Japanese surrender, his 8th Army became part of the Occupation of Japan and he was featured on the cover of the September 10, 1945 edition of Time magazine. He retired in December 1948 as the overall commander of Allied ground forces in Japan with 39 years of continuous military service. His military and foreign decorations and awards include Distinguished Service Cross (with one oak leaf cluster), the Army Distinguished Service Medal (with three oak leaf clusters), the Navy Distinguished Service Medal, the Silver Star (with two oak leaf clusters), the Bronze Star, the Air Medal, the Legion of Merit, the World War II Victory Medal, the Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal, the American Campaign Medal, the Imperial Order of Meiji (Japan), the Order of the Sacred Treasure (Japan), the Order of the Rising Sun (Japan), the Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire (Australia), the Grand Officer of the Legion of Honor (France), the Grand Officer Order of Crown (Belgium), the Croix de Guerre (Belgium), the Grand Officer Order Orange-Nassau (Netherlands), the Order of Abdon Calderón (Ecuador), the Distinguished Service Star (Philippines), the Liberation Medal (Philippines), the Legion of Honor (Philippines), and the Military Order of Italy. After his military retirement, he was a frequent contributor on the military war campaigns to the Saturday Evening Post that were eventually expanded into the book "Our Jungle Road to Tokyo." In 1950 he moved to Asheville, North Carolina and remained there for the rest of his life. In 1951 he traveled to Hollywood, California where he served as technical consultant on "Francis Goes to West Point" (1952) and "The Day the Band Played" (1952). In July 1954 he was promoted to the rank of general on the retired list authorized under an Act of Congress of February 1942 that specially commended flag officers for performance of duty in actual combat, colloquially known as "tombstone promotions" because they conferred all the perks and prestige of the higher rank including the loftier title on their tombstones but no additional retirement pay. He then wrote articles for Newsweek magazine until 1954 and lectured on his experiences until 1955. He donated his personal papers to Duke University at Durham, North Carolina. He died of pneumonia following prostate surgery at the age of 75. He was the subject of the book "Dear Miss Em: General Eichelberger's War in the Pacific, 1942-1945" published in 1972 by Duke University historian Jay Luvaas. (bio by: William Bjornstad) 
 
Family links: 
 Spouse:
  Emmaline Adelaide Gudger Eichelberger (1888 - 1972)*
 
*Calculated relationship
 
Burial:
Arlington National Cemetery
Arlington
Arlington County
Virginia, USA
Plot: Section 2, Lot 4737-C-L
 
Maintained by: Find A Grave
Originally Created by: Bill Heneage
Record added: Jul 15, 2002
Find A Grave Memorial# 6607082
Robert Lawrence Eichelberger
Added by: William Bjornstad
 
Robert Lawrence Eichelberger
Added by: Alton Brown
 
Robert Lawrence Eichelberger
Added by: Bill Heneage
 
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- Bunny
 Added: Mar. 9, 2016

- sjm
 Added: Mar. 9, 2016

- Lazer
 Added: Mar. 9, 2016
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