Rockey, Keller Emrick

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Rockey, Keller Emrick, born 22-09-1888, in Columbia City, Indiana, was a graduate of Gettysburg College with a Bachelor of Science degree, and was a student at Yale University. He was commissioned a second lieutenant in the Marine Corps , 18-11-1913. His first duty assignment as a Marine Corps junior officer was a student under instruction at the Officers Basic School, Norfolk, Virginia. Following graduation there in May, 1915, he went to sea; first as a member of the Marine Detachment aboard USS Nebraska , then a member of the Marine Detachment aboard USS Nevada. Following sea service, Rockey sailed for France in June 1917, and one year later, as a member of the Fifth Marine Regiment, participated in the Aisne-Marne Defensive, Château-Thierry. He was awarded the Navy Cross for his actions at Château-Thierry where, on 06-07-1918, he performed distinguished service by bringing up supports and placing them in the front lines at great personal exposure, showing exceptional ability and extraordinary heroism. Rockey also received the Distinguished Service Cross Army_distinguished_service_cross_medal and was cited in the General Orders of the Second Division, American Expeditionary Forces. He was entitled to wear the French Fourragère. Shortly after returning to the United States in 1919, Rockey went to foreign shore duty in Haiti as a member of the Haitian Constabulary, where he remained until 1921, then returned to this country to join Marine Barracks, Washington, D.C. Following duty at Headquarters Marine Corps, Washington, D.C., he became a student in the Field Officers’ Course, Marine Corps Schools, MCB Quantico, Virginia. After graduation in July 1925, he was again assigned to school, this time as a student at the Command and General Staff School, Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. Upon graduation in June 1926, he became an instructor in the Department of Tactics, Marine Corps Schools. From January to November 1928, he was Commanding Officer, First Battalion, Eleventh Artillery Regiment, Second Marine Brigade, stationed in Nicaragua, where he was awarded a Gold Star in lieu of a second Navy Cross for outstanding services. Rockey next became Base Intelligence, Operations and Training Officer of the MCB San Diego, California, and later Chief of Staff of the Base. In June 1934, he was assigned to duty as Chief of the War Plans Division, Marine Corps Headquarters, following which he became Force Marine Officer, U.S. Battle Force aboard the USS California. He returned to Washington in July 1939, to assume duties with Operations, Navy Department (War Plans) and in August 1941, became Chief of Staff of the Second Marine Division in which position he was found upon the country’s entry into World War II. Shortly after returning to the United States in 1919, Rockey went to foreign shore duty in Haiti as a member of the Haitian Constabulary,Gendarmerie d’Haïti, where he remained until 1921, then returned to this country to join Marine Barracks, Washington, D.C. From January to November 1928, he was Commanding Officer, First Battalion, Eleventh Artillery Regiment, Second Marine Brigade, stationed in Nicaragua, where he was awarded a Gold Star in lieu of a second Navy Cross for outstanding services. Rockey next became Base Intelligence, Operations and Training Officer of the MCB San Diego, California, and later Chief of Staff of the Base.  He returned to Washington in July 1939, to assume duties with Operations, Navy Department (War Plans) and in August 1941, became Chief of Staff of the Second Marine Division, nicknamed  “The Silent Second” File:2nd MarDiv.png in which position he was found upon the country’s entry into World War II. Casualties of the 2nd Marine Division are: Guadalcanal, killed 240, died of wounds 32, wounded 915, total 1.187. Tarawa, killed 894, died of wounds 84, wounded 2.188, total 3166. Saipan, killed 1.102, died of wounds 211, wounded 5.202, total 6.515. Tinian, Killed, 138, died of wounds 36, wounded 903, total 1.077. Okinawa, killed 46, died of wounds 12 and wounded 382, total 450, total casualties 12.395. On 01-01-1947, he was advanced to Lieutenant General, temporary, and the following day assumed command of the Fleet Marine Force, Atlantic with headquarters in Norfolk, Virginia. On 01-07-1949, when he was detached to again become Commanding General, Department of the Pacific, San Francisco, California, he returned to his permanent rank of Major General.

Death and burial ground of Rockey, Keller Emrick.

  He retired as a Lieutenant General on 01-09-1950. General Rockey died of a heart attack, aged 81, 06-06-1970, in Harwich Port, Massachusetts. Funeral services with full military honors were held 11-06-1970 at Arlington National Cemetery.

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