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Robert Prescott Keller

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Lieutenant General Robert Prescott Keller, USMC (ret.) was born, raised and educated in the San Francisco Bay Area. With World War II underway in Europe in 1940, he quit his studies at the University of California, Berkeley, and entered flight training as a Marine. He was appointed 2nd Lieutenant and designated a Naval Aviator early in July 1941. Promotions came rapidly. He attained the rank of Major at age 23 and became commanding officer of a fighter squadron in the South Pacific. Even though wounded by Japanese fire half-way through his scheduled combat tour, he remained deployed, recovered physically over a six week period, and completed the entire combat tour during which he shot down one Japanese fighter aircraft, damaged two others, and led numerous missions against Japanese installations and forces.


On August 3rd, 1950 in his second war and while flying from the deck of the small aircraft carrier USS Sicily, he led the initial offensive effort of the Marine Corps. Various North Korean targets were taken under attack. Ground Marines had not yet closed with the enemy. They did very shortly, with characteristic magnificence and courage. Their air Marines helped them in every possible way.


Vietnam was the third war. As a Brigadier General in 1967, he again worked in every conceivable manner to support our Ground Marines and allies. This included the critical periods of the North Vietnamese besieging Khe San, as well as their all-out Tet offensive. He over-lapped eight months in-country with his elder son, Bob, Jr. They crewed together twice to fly, once in a fixed-wing aircraft, and then a helicopter. His second son, Ron flew McDonnell Phantom jets in Vietnam later, also in support of our valiant Ground Marines.


Thereafter, Bob Keller Sr. was promoted to Major General in 1969, Lieutenant General on July first, 1972, and retired from active duty September first, 1974.  Lieutenant General Robert Prescott Keller is the author of Three Wars…One Marine.

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