Eichelberger, Robert Lawrence, born on 09-06-1886 in Urban, Ohio, entered the Army as an infantry lieutenant from the U.S. Military Academy. He graduated 68th among his classmates from the United States Military Academy in 1909, who included Georg Smith Patton. Jacob Loucks Devers and William Hood Simpson. Eichelberger became Superintendent of the Military Academy in 1940 but left West Point for active duty in 1942. After the Japanese attack at Pearl Harbor , many military men returned their Japanese decorations and medals by sending them to the U.S. Air Force so they could be attached to bombs marked “return to sender.” Thrice-decorated Eichelberger held on to his Imperial Order of Meiji, Order of the Sacred Treasure and Order of the Rising Sun . When asked about letting the Air Force return the honors, he is famously reported to have said, “Hell, no. I’m going to take them back myself.” Eichelberger was appointed Commanding General of US I Corps and left for Australia in 1942. General Douglas MacArthur told Eichelberger to assume direct control of the 32nd U.S. Infantry Division, . The men of the 32nd, ” Les Terribles” or “Red Arrow Division” called their division cemetery “Eichelberger Square”. Despite the risk, he purposefully wore his three silver stars while at the front, even though he knew enemy snipers targeted officers. His Chief of Staff Brigadier General Clovis Byers
asked him to remove them and he refused. As Commanding General of the newly formed Eighth Army , he led the invasion of the Philippines clearing the islands of Mindoro, Marinduque, Panay, Negros, Cebu and Bohol. On 9 October, the 32nd Division left Luzon for Japan and occupation duty in a convoy of 31 ships. They arrived on 14 October at Sasebo, Japan on the island of Kyushu. The 32nd stayed in Kyushu until the Division was inactivated on 28-02-1946. Among the very first to enter combat, and the very last to cease fighting, the 32nd was in combat for 654 days, more than any other United States Army unit during World War II, and eleven of its men were awarded the Medal of Honor, and casualties 7.268. It was estimated the Division had killed over 32.000 Japanese soldiers during the war. By July 1945, Eichelberger’s forces had defeated the Japanese on Mindanao.
Death and burial ground of Eichelberger, Robert Lawrence.
Eichelberger retired in September 1948 and died at Asheville, North Carolina, on 26-09-1961, at the age of 75. Eichelberger is buried with his wife Emmaline, born Gudger, who died age 83 on 11-01-1972, on the Arlington National Cemetery, in Section 2. Close by in Section 2, the graves of the General, Commander 92nd “ Negro Division”, Edward Almond, Major General, Commander 8th Bomber Command Europe, Frederick Anderson, Rear Admiral, Commander Destroyer Greyson, Frederic Bell, Navy Admiral, “Operation Crossroads”, William Blandy, General, Commander 32nd Infantry Division, Clovis Byers, Navy Admiral. Battle of the Leyte Gulf, Robert Carney, Air Force General Lieutenant, Claire Chennault, Lieutenant General, Commander 4th Corps, Italy Campaign, Willis Crittenberger, Major General and commander of the 5th Infantry Division, Joseph Michael Cummins, Brigadier General, First African-American General, Benjamin Davis, Quartermaster Lieutenant General, John Lesene De Witt, Major General and Head OSS, William “Wild Bill” Donovan, Brigadier General, Speck Easley, Marine Corps Major General, Commander 1st Raider Battalion, Merrit “Red Mike” Edson, Navy Admiral, Commander Nord Pacific Fleet, Frank Fletscher and Navy Admiral, Commander VII Forces, William Fechteler, Admiral, U.S. Chief of Naval Material, John Gingrich and U.S. Brigadier General, “ Merrills Marauders “ in Burma, Frank Down Merrill, U.S. 4* Navy Vice Admiral. Commander U.S.S. Hornet, Doolittle Raid Marc Mitscher..