Robert Leckie (author)

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Robert Leckie
Robert Leckie.jpg
Nickname(s) "Peaches"
Born (1920-12-18)December 18, 1920
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.
Died December 24, 2001(2001-12-24) (aged 81)
Allegiance  United States of America
Service/branch United States Marine Corps
Years of service 1942–1945
Rank USMC-E2.svg Private First Class
Unit How Company, 2nd Battalion, 1st Marines, 1st Marine Division
Battles/wars

World War II

Awards Purple Heart
Navy Commendation Medal with Combat Distinguishing Device
Other work Writer

Robert Leckie (December 18, 1920 – December 24, 2001) was an American author of books on United States military history, fiction, autobiographies, and children's books. As a young man, he served in the Marine Corps with the 1st Marine Division during World War II; his service as a machine gunner and a scout in the war greatly influenced his work.

Early life and education[edit]

Leckie was born on December 18, 1920, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, to an Irish Catholic family of eight children. He grew up in Rutherford, New Jersey.

Early career and military service[edit]

He began his career as a writer in high school, as a sports writer for The Bergen Evening Record in Hackensack, New Jersey.[1] On January 18, 1942, Leckie enlisted in the United States Marine Corps.[1] He served in combat in the Pacific theater, as a scout and a machine gunner in H (How) Company, 2nd Battalion, 1st Marines, 1st Marine Division (H/2/1).

Leckie saw combat in the Guadalcanal Campaign and the Battle of Cape Gloucester, and was wounded by blast concussion in the Battle of Peleliu. Due to his wounds, he was evacuated to an Army field hospital in the Pavuvu Islands. He returned to the United States in March 1945 and was honorably discharged shortly thereafter.[2]

Later career[edit]

Following World War II, Leckie worked as a reporter for the Associated Press, the Buffalo Courier-Express, the New York Journal American, the New York Daily News, and The Star-Ledger.[1]

According to his wife Vera, in 1951 Leckie was inspired to write a memoir after seeing South Pacific on Broadway and walking out halfway through. He said, "I have to tell the story of how it really was. I have to let people know the war wasn't a musical."[3]

His first and best-selling book, Helmet for My Pillow, a war memoir, was published in 1957.[4] Leckie subsequently wrote more than 40 books on American war history, spanning from the French and Indian War (1754–1763) to Desert Storm (1991).[5]

External video
Booknotes interview with Leckie on Okinawa: The Last Battle of World War II, September 3, 1995, C-SPAN

Personal life[edit]

He married Vera Keller, a childhood neighbor, and they had three children: David, Geoff and Joan.[6]

Death[edit]

Leckie died on December 24, 2001, after fighting a long battle with Alzheimer's Disease. He was survived by his wife of 55 years, his three children, two sisters, and six grandchildren. His remains were entombed at St. Joseph's Mausoleum in Newton, New Jersey.[7][8]

Legacy[edit]

Leckie's war memoirs, Helmet for My Pillow, along with Eugene B. Sledge's book With the Old Breed, formed the basis for the HBO series The Pacific (2010), the follow-on series to Band of Brothers. Leckie is portrayed in the miniseries by James Badge Dale; Vera is portrayed by Caroline Dhavernas.

Books[edit]

Military history[edit]

Autobiography[edit]

Belles Lettres[edit]

  • These Are My Heroes: A Study of the Saints
  • Warfare: A Study of War
  • A Soldier-Priest Talks to Youth

Fiction[edit]

Younger readers[edit]

  • The Battle for Iwo Jima. New York: Random House. 1967. ISBN 1-59019-241-9. 
  • The Story of Football. Random House. 1965. 
  • The Story of World War Two
  • The Story of World War One
  • The War in Korea
  • Great American Battles. Random House. 1968. LCCN 68023671.  "Summary: A review of America’s major wars, from the French and Indian War to the War in Korea, with emphasis on eleven important battles: Quebec, Trenton, New Orleans, Mexico City, Chancellorsville, Appomattox, Santiago, Belleau Wood, Guadalcanal, Normandy, and Pusan-Inchon."[9]
  • The World Turned Upside-Down
  • 1812: The War Nobody Won
  • The Big Game
  • Keeper Play
  • Stormy Voyage

According to World Catalogue,[10] Robert Leckie, writing as 'Roger Barlow', also wrote six juvenile boy adventure books called "The Sandy Steele" series, three available at Gutenberg.org.[11]

Awards and decorations[edit]

Leckie was entitled to campaign participation credit ("battle stars") for Guadalcanal-Tulagi Landings, Capture and Defense of Guadalcanal, Eastern New Guinea Operations, Cape Gloucester New Britain, and Capture and Occupation of the Southern Palau Islands (Peleliu).

Medals and ribbons[edit]

V
Bronze star
Silver star
Purple Heart Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Ribbon w/ Combat V Presidential Unit Citation / 1 star
American Campaign Medal Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal with w/ 5 campaign stars World War II Victory Medal

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Leckie Biography, All Media Guide.
  2. ^ "Helmet for My Pillow: From Parris Island to the Pacific: Robert Leckie: 9780553593310: Amazon.com: Books". Amazon.com. Retrieved 2015-02-27. 
  3. ^ Rice, Sarah (2010-02-21). "HBO series illuminates N.J. Marine's book on World War II experience | NJ.com". Blog.nj.com. Retrieved 2015-02-27. 
  4. ^ Booknotes, Okinawa: The Last Battle of World War II, Transcript of Interview with Robert Leckie, 3 September 1995
  5. ^ Interview with Brian Lamb, 1995.
  6. ^ "Robert Leckie - The Pacific". Awesome Stories. 2010-02-21. Retrieved 2015-02-27. 
  7. ^ "HBO The Pacific Premiere In Raritan". Black Tie Magazine. Retrieved 2015-02-27. 
  8. ^ "Obituary". The New York Times. December 27, 2001. Retrieved 2015-02-27. 
  9. ^ "Full Record of Great American battles (1968; Leckie, Robert)". Library of Congress Online Catalog. Retrieved 2007-12-22. 
  10. ^ http://www.worldcat.org/title/secret-mission-to-alaska/oclc/7712193&referer=brief_results
  11. ^ http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/author/45761

References[edit]

External links[edit]