240,476 Pages

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

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, autobiography 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 careerEdit

Leckie was born on December 18, 1920, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, to an Irish American Catholic (both parents) family of eight children. He grew up in Rutherford, New Jersey. 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 Company, 2nd Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division. Leckie saw combat in the Battle of Guadalcanal, the Battle of Cape Gloucester, and had been wounded by blast concussion in the Battle of Peleliu. Due to his wounds, he was evacuated to an Army field hospital on the Pavuvu Islands. He returned to the United States in March 1945 and was honorably discharged shortly thereafter.[2]

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] He married Vera Keller, a childhood neighbor, and they had three children: David, Geoff and Joan.[3] According to Vera, in 1951 he 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."[4] His first and best-selling book, Helmet for My Pillow, a war memoir, was published in 1957.[5] Leckie subsequently wrote more than 40 books on American war history, spanning from the French and Indian War (1754–1763) to Desert Storm (1991).[6][7] Robert 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.[8][9]

Leckie's war memoirs, Helmet for My Pillow, along with Eugene B. Sledge's book With the Old Breed, formed the basis for the 2010 HBO series The Pacific, the successor to Band of Brothers. He was portrayed in the miniseries by James Badge Dale and Vera was portrayed by Caroline Dhavernas.


Military historyEdit

  • March to Glory. World Publishing Co.. 1960. LCCN 60011454. OCLC 2851705. 
  • Conflict: The History of the Korean War, 1950-53. Da Capo Press. 1996 [1962]. ISBN 0-306-80716-5. 
  • Strong Men Armed: The United States Marines Against Japan. Perseus Publishing. 1997 [1962 Random House]. ISBN 978-0-306-80785-5. 
  • Challenge for the Pacific; Guadalcanal, the turning point of the war. Doubleday. 1965. OCLC 1295146. 
  • Challenge for the Pacific: The Bloody Six-Month Battle of Guadalcanal. Doubleday & Company. 1968. ISBN 0-306-80911-7. 
  • Delivered From Evil: The Saga of World War II. Harper & Row. 1987. ISBN 0-06-015812-3. 
  • None Died in Vain: The Saga of the Civil War. HarperPerrenial. 1990. ISBN 0-06-016280-5. 
  • The General. I Books. April 2, 2002 [1991]. ISBN 0-7434-4461-2. 
  • George Washington's War: The Saga of the American Revolution. Harper Collins. 1992. ISBN 0-06-016289-9. 
  • From Sea to Shining Sea: From the War of 1812 to the Mexican-American War, the Saga of America's Expansion. HarperPerrenial. 1994. ISBN 0-06-016802-1. 
  • Okinawa: The Last Battle of World War II. Viking Press. 1995. ISBN 0-670-84716-X. 
  • The Wars of America: From 1600 to 1900. Harper Collins. 1998. ISBN 0-06-012571-3. 
  • A Few Acres of Snow: The Saga of the French and Indian Wars. Wiley & Son. 2000. ISBN 0-471-24690-5. 


Belles LettresEdit

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


  • Ordained
  • Marines!. Bantam Books. 1960. LCCN 60012809. 
  • The Bloodborn
  • Forged in Blood
  • Blood of the Seventeen Fires

Younger readersEdit

  • 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."[10]
  • The World Turned Upside-Down
  • 1812: The War Nobody Won
  • The Big Game
  • Keeper Play
  • Stormy Voyage

Awards and decorationsEdit

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 ribbonsEdit

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


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Leckie Biography, All Media Guide.
  5. Booknotes, Okinawa: The Last Battle of World War II, Transcript of Interview with Robert Leckie, 3 September 1995
  6. Interview with Brian Lamb, 1995.
  7. Library of Congress author search.
  9. The New York Times, paid death notice, 27 December 2001.
  10. "Full Record of Great American battles (1968; Leckie, Robert)". Library of Congress Online Catalog. Retrieved 2007-12-22. 



External linksEdit

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