LIEUTENANT GENERAL GENERAL ROBERT L. EICHELBERGER
COMMANDER 8TH US ARMY
IN AUSTRALIA DURING WW2 

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Lieutenant General Robert L. Eichelberger was the Commanding Officer of the 8th Army, US.  

 

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General Sir Thomas Blamey with Lieutenant General Robert L. Eichelberger,
leader of the U.S. ground troops in New Guinea, standing in front of a
captured Japanese pillbox during the fight for Papua.

 


Photo: via Steve Schaffer

Rockhampton, Queensland, Australia, April 1943.  General Douglas MacArthur and Lt. General Eichelberger
inspect the 542nd Regimental Area.  Colonel Fowlkes and Lt. Colonel Simpson escort our distinguished visitors.

 

In approximately September 1944, General Eichelberger acquired his own private B-17 Flying Fortress, #41-24353, and called it "Miss Em' ", after his wife Emaline. "Miss Em' " was previously known as "Cap'n & the Kids" and had served with the 433rd Troop Carrier Group. All of the proud and deserved badges of war were removed from the nose of the B-17. Major Charles Downer was assigned to her as the new pilot. He signed for her at Townsville on 11 September 1944 and three days later flew her to Hollandia. Downer would fly 63 combat missions and 97 flights in 141 days. On 6 August 1945, Downer’s last flight in 'Miss Em' was to Manila’s Nichols Field. It was eventually salvaged at Tacloban, Letye, Philippines.

A 1st Lt Ralph O. Deardorff was assigned as pilot of a B-17 Flying Fortress for HQ Sp. Trs., 8th Army from 18 September 44 to March 1945. Records indicate he was also a pilot to the 8th Army Commander - Lt Gen Robert L. Enchelberger. (Did the General have two B-17's or two pilots perhaps?)

Patricia Dorothy West was a member of the Women's National Emergency Legion in Brisbane during WWII. Dorothy was a driver for General Robert L. Eichelberger. Patricia's family has always enjoyed telling the story of the time that Patricia was scurrying around the car to open the door and salute General Eichelberger when she fell. General Eichelberger reached down to help her up, took off one of his stars, handed it to her and said, “Remember the time you fell for the General”! The family still have the General's Star in their possession.

 

REFERENCE BOOKS

"Our Jungle Road to Tokyo"
by General Robert Eichelberger

"Dear Miss Em' " (a collection of his letters he wrote to his wife in the war years)
by General Robert Eichelberger

 

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

I'd like to thank Chris Melton, Steve Schaffer, Ernie Cox and John Daly for their assistance with this home page.

 

Can anyone help me with more information?

 

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This page first produced 5 March 2005

This page last updated 03 February 2017