Keller E. Rockey
|Keller Emrick Rockey|
Lieutenant General Keller E. Rockey
September 22, 1888|
Columbia City, Indiana
|Died||June 6, 1970
Harwich Port, Massachusetts
|Place of burial||Arlington National Cemetery|
|Allegiance||United States of America|
|Service/branch||United States Marine Corps|
|Years of service||1913 - 1950|
|Commands held||Assistant Commandant of the Marine Corps
5th Marine Division
III Amphibious Corps
Fleet Marine Force, Atlantic
Distinguished Service Cross
Lieutenant General Keller Emrick Rockey (September 22, 1888 – June 6, 1970) commanded the Fifth Marine Division in the battle of Iwo Jima in World War II and the Third Amphibious Corps during the occupation of North China following the war.
For outstanding services with the Third Amphibious Corps, he was awarded the Distinguished Service Medal (U.S. Army), and for exceptionally meritorious service with the Fifth Marine Division, he was awarded the Distinguished Service Medal (Navy). The citation for the latter reads in part:
|“||...in a position of great responsibility as Commanding General of the Fifth Marine Division prior to and during the seizure of enemy-held Iwo Jima from February 19 to March 26, 1945... Major General Rockey skillfully welded the new and untried Division into a formidable fighting command.
...a bold tactician, he landed his forces at the base of Mount Suribachi. Deploying his units according to plan, he quickly cut the island in two. Directing the assault with superb generalship he moved his forces inexorably forward and captured the mountain. Continuing his attack to the north, he waged furious battle until he had succeeded in annihilating the last pocket of Japanese resistance.
Early life and career
Keller Rockey was born September 22, 1888, in Columbia City, Indiana. He 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, November 18, 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.
World War I
He was awarded the Navy Cross for his actions at Château-Thierry where, on July 6, 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.
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.
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 the position he was serving in when the United States entered World War II.
World War II
Rockey was assigned duties as Director, Division of Plans and Policies at Headquarters Marine Corps, in August 1942, and one year later assumed duties as Assistant Commandant of the Marine Corps. In February 1944, he went to the Pacific where he was successively Commanding General of the Fifth Marine Division and the Third Amphibious Corps.
Following deactivation of the Third Amphibious Corps, he assumed command of the First Marine Division (Reinforced), with headquarters at Tientsin, China. He returned to the United States and became Commanding General of the Department of the Pacific, San Francisco, California, in September 1946.
On January 1, 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 July 1, 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. He retired as a lieutenant general on September 1, 1950.
Decorations and medals
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