PFC Robert Anthony Kline

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NAME:
Robert Anthony Kline
NICKNAME:

SERVICE NUMBER:
300676
HOME OF RECORD:
Bronx, NY
NEXT OF KIN:
Mother, Mrs. Mary Kline
DATE OF BIRTH:
May 16, 1918
ENLISTED:
October 7, 1940
DATE OF DEATH:
September 27, 1942
CAMPAIGN UNIT MOS RATE FATE
Guadalcanal A/1/7 PFC KIA
CAUSE OF DEATH:
Unknown
INDIVIDUAL DECORATIONS:
Purple Heart
LAST KNOWN RANK:
Private First Class
STATUS OF REMAINS:
Unknown
MEMORIAL:
Manila American Cemetery and Memorial, Philippines.


Birth and Early Life:
Robert was born in Manhattan in 1918. He was the fourth and youngest child of Charles and Mary Kline, and grew up in the Bronx.

Enlistment and Boot Camp:
Kline joined the Marine Corps Reserve on October 7, 1940. Instead of going to Parris Island, he was sent to Quantico, Virginia, on a specialized training regimen for reserves. After completing this training, he was posted to the First Reserve Battalion in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

Service Prior to World War II:
In January 1941, Private Kline was assigned to Company D, First Battalion, 7th Marines. He finally saw Parris Island as a temporary member of D/1/1, and then was posted to Company A, 7th Marines that summer. Kline was on duty with Company A when Pearl Harbor was attacked and the United States entered World War Two.

Wartime Service:
Kline was promoted to Private First Class in January, 1942, and spent the following eight months training in the States and standing guard in American Samoa.

His company arrived on Guadalcanal on September 18, 1942. They were shelled by Japanese warships their first night ashore, and their nervousness on the line led to firing at shadows – much to the chagrin of their veteran battalion commander, Lt. Colonel Lewis “Chesty” Puller.

The battalion’s first expedition against the Japanese ended with a sharp fight along the Matanikau River on September 24 that cost Company A three dead and a handful of wounded. Companies A and B withdrew to the main Marine position, while planners attempted to determine a way to cross the river.

Date Of Loss:
The answer, arrived at in the early morning hours of September 27, 1942, was to send the bulk of 1/7 behind the Japanese lines by boat, while other Marine forces attempted another crossing. PFC Kline found himself hurrying to gather his gear and ammunition before boarding a small Higgins boat for a short, choppy ride around Point Cruz and up onto a beach on Guadalcanal’s north coast.

The Marines were to advance to a predetermined point – known as Hill 84 – before regrouping  and searching out the Japanese. Company B reached their objective, and were immediately hit by heavy mortar and machine gun fire. Kline’s Company A, landing behind them, were quickly deployed to fight off a strong Japanese infantry force that repeatedly tried to cut them off from the beach. For the entire afternoon, the stranded Marines fought desperately to keep from being overrun; they finally managed a fighting withdrawal to the beach, where they scrambled back aboard the boats and returned to camp.

Robert Kline was among the 24 Marines who lost their lives in the abortive operation. His remains, if found, were never identified.

For more on this action, see Little Dunkirk.

Next Of Kin:
Mother, Mrs. Mary E. Kline

Status Of Remains:
Unknown

Memorial:
Manila American Cemetery and Memorial, Philippines.

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