Robert Lavaun Ackley was born September 10, 1925 in Walsh, Baca, Colorado. His father Roy Elsie Ackley, who was born in Nebraska, served in the US Army in WWI. His mother Clara Inez Thornburgh was born in Oklahoma.
Robert had five siblings: Ronald Lee Ackley, Roy Duane Ackley, Rita Jeanne Ackley, Rae Verdine Ackley and Myrna Faye Ackley, all born in Colorado.
He registered for the draft on 11 Nov 1943 in Walsh, Colorado at the age of 18. He was 5’ 10’, 138 pounds, had blonde hair, gray eyes and a light complexion. In January 1944 Robert was in the First Recruit Battalion, Training Regiment, Recruit Depot in San Diego, California. A footnote on his records indicates he was being sent to Parachute Training at Camp Elliott in San Diego. He served in Company A, 1st Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division.
“The regiment landed on 15 September 1944 as part of the 1st Marine Division's assault on the island. The division's commanding general, Major General William H. Rupertus had predicted the fighting would be, "...tough but short. It'll be over in three for four days - a fight like Tarawa. Rough but fast. Then we can go back to a rest area."
The 1st Marines fought on Peleliu for 10 days before being pulled off the lines after suffering 56% casualties and no longer being combat effective. The regiment was decimated by heavy artillery and accurate small arms fire in the vicinity of Bloody Nose Ridge. Repeated frontal assaults with fixed bayonets failed to unseat the Japanese defenders from the 14th Division (Imperial Japanese Army). Ten days of fighting on Peleliu cost the 1st Marine Regiment 1,749 casualties. The Battle of Peleliu had been their bloodiest battle yet. ”
Robert was killed in action at Peleliu, Palau September 19, 1944 at the age of 19. He was survived by his parents, five siblings and laid to rest in the Walsh Cemetery, Walsh, Baca, Colorado.
Thank you for your sacrifice and service PFC Ackley.
Ancestry.com. U.S., World War II Draft Cards Young Men, 1940-1947 [database on-line]. Lehi, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2011.
Ancestry.com. U.S., Headstone Applications for Military Veterans, 1925-1970 [database on-line]. Lehi, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2012.
Ancestry.com. 1930 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2002.
Ancestry.com. 1940 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2012.
United States Marine Corps History Division. United States Marine Corps Casualty Databases. United States Marine Corps History Division
The National Archives at Washington, DC. USA; Series: Navy Muster Rolls, 1939-1949; National Archives Publication: Ship Muster Rolls; Record Group Title: Records of the Bureau of Naval Personnel; Record Group Number: 24
This story is part of the Stories Behind the Stars project (see www.storiesbehindthestars.org). This is a national effort of volunteers to write the stories of all 400,000+ of the US WWII fallen here on Fold3. Can you help write these stories? Related to this, there will be a smart phone app that will allow people to visit any war memorial or cemetery, scan the fallen's name and read his/her story.