Gen. Keller E. Rockey, 81, College graduate in the Class of 1909 who commanded the Fifth Marine Division in Battle for Iwo Jima, died Saturday at Harwich Port, Mass. leaves his wife, Susan McGee Rockey, and a son, Lt. Col. K. Rockey of the U.S. Marine Corps. Burial will be In Arlington National Cemetery. Gen. Rockey was a holder of distinguished service certificate awarded by the alumni of College. HEADED CHINA LANDING General Rockey commanded the Fifth Marine Division when it landed on Iwo Jima with the and Third Divisions in February, 1945. The Japanese island was secured one month later, after one of the mos fierce and costly battles in United States history. It was General Rockey's men planted the American flag on Mount Suribachi in the southern part of Iwo Jima, on 23. As the five Marines and a Navy medical corpsman raised the banner, Joe Ros of The Associated Press photographed the event, and the became emblematic o: the American forces' advance through the Pacific. After taking Mount Suribachi, the Fifth Division moved along the west coast toward the northernmost tip of the island, where largest concentration of Jap- forces was concentrated. The Third Division proceeded northeast and the Fourth drove to the island's eastern shore The marines thus split the foe three and, by March 10, the capture of Iwo was apparent. "We opened it and we closed it," said the general of the Fifth Division's efforts. General Rockey, a large, strongly built man with rugged features, had taken command of the division a year before the shortly after it had been activated. SUCCEEDED GEIGER In July, 1945, General Rockey, who had become a major general, succeeded Lieut. Gen. Roy S. Geiger as commanding officer of the Third Marine Amphibious Forces. On October 4, marines under his command made their first landing hi a Communist-held area, at Chin- wangtao, China, 120 miles north of Tientsin. On arming at Tientsin, General Rockey formally accepted the surrender of 50,000 Japanese. It ;vas the first surrender of Japanese troops in China to an American commander. RETffiED Ds 1950 General Rockey was promoted to the rank of lieutenant general an January, 1947, and placed in command of rhe newly activated Fleet Marine Forces in the Atlantic. Before retiring in 1950, he was general of the Marine Department in the Pacific. General Rockey was induction officer in 1950 of the 110th graduating class of the United States Naval Academy. Among the 48 midshipmen who were commissioned second lieutenants in the Marine Corps by General Rock- jey was his son, William The general, a native of Columbia City, Ind., married twice. His first wife. Frances, died in 1947.
Lt Gen. Keller Rockey, Gettysburg Grad, Hero Of Iwo Jima Dies At 81
Lieutenant General Keller E. Rockey
Keller Emrick Rockey was born in Columbus City, Indiana on 22 September 1888. Appointed from Pennsylvania in the U.S. Marine Corps, he was commissioned a Second Lieutenant in November 1913 Completing The Basic School, he reported for sea duty, serving in succession on board USS Nebraska then USS Nevada. In August 1916, he was promoted to First Lieutenant. During World War I, he served with the Fifth Marine Regiment in France and was temporarily promoted to Captain in May 1917, which was followed by a promotion to Major in July 1918. After the war, he was reverted to the rank of Captain and served with First Provisional Brigade Marines in Haiti. Returning to the U.S. in August 1922, he was assigned to the Marine Barracks at Washington, D.C., which was followed with a tour at Headquarters, Marine Corps. During World War II, Rockey was assigned as Director, Division of Plans and Policies at Headquarters, Marine Corps. In March 1942, he was temporarily promoted to Brigadier General and that August became the Assistant Commandant of the Marine Corps. In September 1942, he received another temporary promotion to Major General. In February 1944, he became Commanding General, 5th Marine Division and also led the Third Amphibious Corps. During February-March 1945, he participated in the Battle for Iwo Jima. In September 1946, he was assigned as the Commanding General, Department of the Pacific, San Francisco, California. After being temporarily promoted to Lieutenant General, he became Fleet Marine Force, Atlantic located at Norfolk, Virginia. In July 1949, he was reverted to the rank of Major General and served as Commanding General, Department of the Pacific located at San Francisco, California. In September 1950, he retired and was promoted to Lieutenant General on the retired list. Keller E. Rockey died on 6 June 1970 is buried at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Virginia.