Side A: Robert L. Eichelberger was born in Urbana on March 9, 1886, the youngest of the five children of George Maley Eichelberger, an Urbana lawyer, and Emma (Ring) Eichelberger. After graduating from Urbana High School in 1903, he attended Ohio State University and then was appointed to the United States Military Academy at West Point. Graduating in 1909, he was appointed a second lieutenant of infantry. Four years later he married Emma Gudger, daughter of Judge H. A. Gudger of Asheville, North Carolina. For several years, he saw service in Panama and the Mexican border before joining the American Expeditionary Forces in Siberia. From 1918 to 1920 Major Eichelberger observed the Japanese incursion into Siberia and became aware of Japanese methods. In 1940 he was appointed Superintendent of the Military Academy at West Point where he established regular courses to include flight training for Flying Army Officers. [continued on other side]
Side B: (continued from other side) With the beginning of World War II, Major General Eichelberger became Commanding General of I Corps and left for Australia. While there General MacArthur gave him orders, saying “Bob, I want you to take Buna, or not come back alive.” Eichelberger defeated the Japanese on Buna as well as Hollandis and Biak with his joint Australian American Corps. As commanding General of the Eighth Army, he led the invasion of the Philippines. In August 1945 Eichelberger’s Eighth Army occupied Japan to rebuild the nation. During his career he was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross with Oak Leaf Cluster, Distinguished Service Medal with three Oak Leaf Clusters, and the Navy Distinguished Service Medal. Retiring in 1948, Congress, in recognition of his service, promoted Eichelberger to General in 1954. General Eichelberger died on September 26, 1961 and is buried in Arlington National Cemetery.
Sponsors: Descendants of Melvin F. Selma M. Miller, Champaign County Bicentennial Historical Marker Committee, and The Ohio Historical Society