Eichelberger served in the Philippines and in China and then on the War Department General Staff (1921–1924). He graduated from the Command and General Staff School (1926) and the Army War College (1930). Eichelberger then served at West Point (1931–1935), where he was promoted to lieutenant colonel (1934). He became secretary to the General Staff (1935–1938), and after being made colonel (1938), he commanded the 30th Infantry Regiment. Promoted to brigadier general, he was appointed superintendent of West Point (1940).
In March 1942, Eichelberger became a temporary major general and took command of the 77th Infantry Division. He commanded XI Corps and then I Corps, in Australia. He led I Corps in New Guinea in September 1942. Promoted to temporary lieutenant general the next month, he directed the successful assault of Buna-Gona (November 1942–January 1943) and then operations in New Guinea and New Britain (January 1943–July 1944).
Eichelberger took command of Eighth Army in September 1944 and led it to Leyte Island in the Philippines that December. He directed operations on Luzon (January–April 1945), including the liberation of Manila, and his forces also liberated the southern Philippine Islands, including Mindanao. He was entrusted with command of all Philippine operations in July. His Eighth Army carried out 14 major and 24 smaller landings.
Between 1945 and 1948, Eichelberger commanded Eighth Army in Japan. He returned to the United States in September 1948 and retired from the army. Two years later, he published a book entitled Our Jungle Road to Tokyo. During the Korean War, he was briefly a special adviser in the Far East. He was promoted to full general in July 1954 and died in Asheville, North Carolina, on 26 September 1961.
Alexander D. Samms
Eichelberger, Emma G., and Robert L. Eichelberger. Dear Miss Em: General Eichelberger's War in the Pacific, 1942–45. Ed. Jay Luvaas. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1972.; Eichelberger, Robert L. Our Jungle Road to Tokyo. New York: Viking, 1950.; Shortal, John F. Forged by Fire: General Robert L. Eichelberger and the Pacific War. Columbia: University of South Carolina Press, 1987.