Monday, May 8, 2017

Memorial Monday in May - Iwo Jima February 14, 1945

Robert Keith Pieplow was born in 1926 on a farm in Kansas. His father owned a rather large farm. He grew up helping on the farm and from the picture, he enjoyed playing baseball.

He joined the Navy on June 19, 1944, at the age of 18. His birthdate June 29. Earlier in the month, the Normandy Invasion took place, and by the end of August 1944, the Allies had reached the Seine River, Paris was liberated and the Germans had been removed from northwestern France. All eyes were on Europe.

Battle of Saipan 15 June 1944
Battle of the Philippine Sea 19–21 June 1944
Battle of Guam 21 July 1944
Battle of Tinian 24 July 1944
Battle of Peleliu 15 September 1944
Battle of Angaur 17 September 1944
Battle of Leyte 20 October 1944
Battle of Leyte Gulf 23 October 1944
Battle of Iwo Jima 19 February 1945
Battle of Okinawa 1 April 1945

The Landing craft he was later assigned to was the USS LCI(L)-466  (1943 - 1944) The month after he joined the Navy, the USS LCI-466 had completed the Marianas operation with the capture and occupation of Guam, 21 July to 15 August 1944. Young Robert, probably arrived at the ship, a month or two after.

The President of the United States takes pleasure in presenting the PRESIDENTIAL UNIT CITATION to the LCI(G) GROUP EIGHT INCLUDING THE FLAGSHIP OF LCI FLOTILLA THREE for service as set forth in the following CITATION:

"For extraordinary heroism during action in support of beach reconnaissance by Underwater Demolition Teams at enemy Japanese-held Iwo Jima, Volcano Islands, on February 17, 1945. Opening heavy strafing fire as they moved in from two thousand yards off shore, the lightly armored ships of LCI(G) Group EIGHT advanced steadily under sporadic fire of the enemy until they reached the one thousand yard line to blast the heavy coastal defenses with barrage rockets. Almost immediately the shattering counterfire from well concealed and strongly fortified Japanese positions began to exact a terrific toll. One by one their guns were silenced; fires started and spread in ready ammunition; under the sustained deadly blast of hostile fire, their engine rooms flooded and those of the gallant ships still operable towed their powerless companionships clear of the overpowering fire of the enemy. Suffering desperate casualties, the units of this valiant group evacuated the wounded, extinguished their fires and resolutely returned to the firing line. Only when the beach reconnaissance had been accomplished did LCI(G) Group EIGHT retire after absorbing an hour and a quarter of devastating punishment in support of the stout-hearted swimmers of the Demolition Team. Manned by fighting and skilled seamen, these gunboats daringly pitted their fire-power against the overwhelming might of Japanese guns zeroed on them from the shores of Iwo Jima and bravely led the way for the invasion two days later."

LCI - 466 taking enemy fire on Feb 14, 1945

Seaman Second Class, Robert Keith Pieplow, age 19 was among the casualties. He was buried at sea.

I can't image the horrific pain his parents must have gone through when they received notification. Just doing the research, upset me.

In 1959, his parents requested a marker - to be laid at a cemetery in Kansas.

Robert K Pieplow received the Purple Heart for his heroism.

BORN: 29 JUNE 1926 • Kansas, USA
DIED: 17 FEB 1944 • South Pacific aboard ship in WWII Iwo Jima

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  1. This is just so very sad but War is sad. What he must have felt going into this battle....actually I really don't want to know but I hope it was swift and he suffered no pain. Even though my uncle was German, he, too was 19 when he died...too young. How are you related? I'm glad he has a war marker

    1. He is a cousin of my husband's family.

  2. So sad to think he died so young.

    One of my great, great uncles was killed at the Battle of the Somme and was only 18 or 19. It's so sad looking at the family tree and seeing all the lines continue down from his brothers and sisters whereas there's nothing beneath his name.

    Cait @ Click's Clan


About Me

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Stay at home Mom to 1 dog and 2 cats. I am the "big sister" in the photo. My baby sister, passed away unexpectedly, Sept. 2015 at the young age of 56. I miss her terribly. Everyone in my childhood family has now passed. I have 3 sons. My oldest son died in 2003 at the age of 25. I am not LDS. I do enjoy History and GENEALOGY has become my hobby and my passion.