|Robert "Lucky" Leckie|
Robert Leckie in Guadalcanal
Private First Class
Battle of Cape Gloucester
Battle of Peleliu
Deceased as of December 24, 2001
Private First Class Robert "Lucky" Leckie is one of the three main characters of The Pacific. He served in the 1st Marine Division, seeing action in all its major campaigns until halfway through Peleliu as a scout and a machine gunner serving in How company, 2nd Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, before being transferred to 2nd Battalion intelligence, and later back to How Company.
Leckie was born on December 18, 1920 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The day after the attack on Pearl Harbor, Leckie enlisted in the United States Marine Corps. After boot camp at Parris Island (during which he failed miserably at the rifle test) he was assigned to his company at New River. There he got promoted to the rank of Private First Class, which Leckie holds in high regard. At New River, he eventually finds friendship. He first meets Pfc. Bill "Hoosier" Smith, who was a runner for Captain "High-Hips", who Leckie did not like at first because of his surly nature which hid some apprehension and fear for what lay in store for him at Guadalcanal. He next meets Pfc. Lew "Chuckler" Juergens, who Leckie gets along with a lot better due to his friendly and easygoing nature. It wasn't until much later that Leckie met Pfc. Wilbur "Bud" "Runner" Conley, who was a runner in prep school before the war. They all became good friends throughout the war, with Chuckler becoming the unofficial leader of the group.
On a navy ship with his friends talking about what is in store for them, Chuckler suggests that it is going to be a turkey shoot, while Leckie quotes the Greek poet Homer just before the regiment goes topside.
He and the 1st Marine Regiment are then seen landing on the shores of Guadalcanal with the rest of the 1st Marine Division, strangely, with no resistance. He later participates in the Battle of the Tenaru with his unit, in what his friend Chuckler later describes as a turkey shoot, which he suspected from the beginning.
At the end of the battle, while Leckie and his comrades look over the hundreds of dead Japanese lying on the beach and floating in the surf, two Japanese soldiers burst out of the jungle. One is shot dead immediately, the other thrashes around in the outlet of the creek, distraught and yelling. Leckie's comrades laugh as they take pot shots at the man, hitting him a few times. Disgusted by the torture, Leckie draws his own pistol and puts the man out of his misery.
Leckie later watches his friend get promoted to Corporal by Lt. Hugh "Ivy League" Corrigan; however, Leckie was virtually ignored, despite having done similar deeds, leading to Leckie developing a dislike of Corrigan. Leckie is later seen greeting the 1st Battlion, 7th Marine Regiment along with the rest of his unit.
Leckie is later seen reading one of his letters to Vera aloud to his friends. He is then seen eating peaches that he stole from an Army division that always had more food, water, and any other essentials than the 1st Marine Division. After drinking the syrup from the can too quickly, Leckie vomits. Leckie is given the nickname "Peaches" by Runner who was suffering from the runs at that time. Later that night, Leckie and the others endure a Japanese bombing. They make it, but they are severely shaken the next morning, including Leckie. They fight for another month, before they get on a navy ship destined for Melbourne where a crewman tells them that the Division is regarded as being heroes for their part in Guadalcanal.
Leckie and his friends are later seen in Melbourne, where many of the marines have gone UA (unauthorized absence), including Leckie and all of his friends save for Hoosier, who wanted to catch some extra sleep. Leckie later bumps into an Australian girl named Stella, whom he dates and stays with her family during his time in Melbourne. They bond and fall in love during this time. Leckie later talks with Stella's religious and caring mother, watched by Stella. Stella's mother then promises Leckie that she will pray that he will return after the war. While visiting with Stella, she tells him that he must leave and never return. She states that her mother has also become very fond of him and she would hate to see how harshly this would effect her mother should he be killed and never return. Leckie becomes incredulous because Stella is basically telling him that he is going to die. After being dumped Leckie proceeds to become very intoxicated and upon returning to camp meets Chuckler who begs him to stand guard for a few moments while he steps out to relieve himself. Reluctantly he agrees and while Chuckler is gone Lt Corrigan approaches an obviously drunken Leckie, an argument ensues, Chuckler returns and they both end up in the brig. Forced to wear uniforms with large "eight balls" painted on, to identify an escapee, they both return to camp to discover that Leckie has been transferred out of Corrigans unit to an intelligence unit to the dismay of both Leckie and Chuckler.
Stella's mother had become very fond of him and Stella would hate to see how harshly this would effect her mother should he be killed and never return. Leckie becomes incredulous because Stella is basically telling him that he is going to be killed.
Leckie is later part of the Battle of Cape Gloucester, where he experiences a harsh environment, as well as harsh new officer, Lt. Larkin. During one patrol, Leckie is put in the rear postion. However, he later hears a twig snapping and thought that the four men approaching were his until the helmet silhouettes were made more clear, revealing them to be Japanese soldiers. He hides behind a log for a while before he opens fire, killing all four of the soldiers before they could even shoot, earning praise from 2nd Lt. Stone, if only a small amount.
He continues to write letters to Vera. One night, a battle ensues, and Leckie is forced to stay in a tent and burn some intelligence papers if the camp is overrun. He watches as his friends defeat the Japanese. During a patrol through their camp, he finds a box that once belonged to a Japanese officer that contained a Japanese pistol among other things. This box and pistol are later confiscated by Larkin, whom he later steals his pistol back from, causing a confrontation between the two, ultimately ending with Larkin sending Leckie to mess hall duty. Larkin also points out that Leckie has accidentally urinated in his pants, and he goes to a medic to find out that he has nocturnal enuresis. There was nothing he could do about it in Cape Gloucester, however, and he kept urinating in his sleep. At some point, he finds Canadian transfer, Lt. Lebec shooting himself in the head in an act of suicide; the man strips himself naked and kills himself while Leckie watches completely stunned.
Leckie and his unit are given relief on Pavuvu, much to the Marines' chagrin, as the island is still infested with rats and rotting coconuts. Leckie and his friends participate in a "Stateside Lottery" which determined who among the Marines will go home. However, Leckie and his friends could not participate because of all the trouble they have caused throughout their time in the war prior, much to their anger and frustration.
Leckie is later admitted to a Naval hospital in the neighboring island of Banika for treatment of his enuresis. Prior to his admittance to the overflow ward, Leckie scares a corpsman with the pistol briefly before asking what to do with it. While there, he finds Pfc. Ronnie Gibson, a fellow marine who was admitted to the psych ward for attempting suicide after being caught trying to steal a plane and flying home while on Pavuvu.
After some time of comfort and boredom, even though he was still afflicted with nocturnal enuresis at the time, he later gets out of the hospital with the help of the head doctor, handing over his pistol as a bribe. While he is leaving, he talks with Gibson, who has clearly been traumatized and disturbed by his experiences. As Leckie walks out, Gibson tells him that he hopes that his death will be swift and painless, for to him, it is better than participating in the Pacific war. Leckie then leaves to find his friends playing a game outside. Leckie later meets a replacement, who is none other than Eugene Sledge who had just met teammate Sidney Phillips, who just happened to be Sledge's best friend. Leckie then gives his opinion on religion, basically that if God cared about them, why is he letting the war happen? Sledge replies that God does not need to. Leckie then tries to sell Sledge a bible, the latter whom already has a pocket-sized one.
Leckie later participates in the Battle of Peleliu, where he witnesses many horrible incidents: Hoosier is hit in the upper thigh & lies bleeding severely - Leckie holds his hand on the wound until the corpsman arrives. Hoosier ultimately survives. Leckie could not find Chuckler during the assault. Fortunately, Runner catches up to Leckie unscathed and is told that Hoosier got hit. They are later seen in a foxhole alone, with Runner sleeping but Leckie lying awake.
Leckie later participates in the Airfield assault, where he sees many marines get killed in the process. Runner gets shot, but not too seriously, and Leckie goes to get a corpsman and a radio operator to replace the one who just died of his wounds. During his fruitless search, he is knocked back by an explosion, collides with a tree and the impact wounds him badly. He survives and later finds Runner with his arm in a sling, who forgives him for not finding a corpsman during the battle. Leckie is then seen taking a last look at Peleliu before his boat leaves to take him home.
Offscreen, Leckie soon reunites with his friends once more, with Chuckler and Hoosier having survived their respective wounds. Leckie and his friends soon split up again afterwards, which explains why we don't see any of his friends in his final episode. The next time we encounter Leckie is in a hospital, where he learns that the war is over and that the Japanese surrendered, much to his surprise.
After returning from the hospital, he returns home and moves back into his house, all the while finding out to his dismay that Vera Keller was dating an army officer, Lt. Charles Dunworthy. He gets his old job back at the local newspaper and was typing on his typewriter, until he saw Vera come back home. His mother encourages him to go after Vera and wear his dress blues, which he has never worn. Leckie finally wears the unused uniform, and he goes to Vera's house, winning her over with a furious Dunworthy driving off in his car. Leckie and Vera talk, and it is here that it is revealed that Leckie's letters to Vera were abandoned by him when he thought that he wasn't going to live. They continue to date and he and Vera eventually marry and have three children: David, Geoff, and Joan.
Leckie moved on to become a reporter for the Associated Press, the Buffalo Courier-Express, the New York Journal American, the New York Daily News and The Star-Ledger. According to Vera, in 1951 he was inspired to write a memoir after seeing South Pacific, a musical on Broadway and walking out halfway through. He said "I have to tell the story of how it really was. I have to let people know the war wasn’t a musical." His first and best-selling book, Helmet for My Pillow, a personal war memoir which later formed part of the basis for The Pacific, was published in 1957. Leckie subsequently wrote more than 40 books on American war history, spanning from the French and Indian War (1754–1763) to Desert Storm (1991).
Robert Leckie died in 2001, the same year that The Pacific's predecessor, Band of Brothers was released, after fighting a long battle with Alzheimer's Disease.
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Personality and Traits
In terms of personality, Leckie is one of the most complicated characters of the series. He was a charming and intelligent person, and he can be a ladies man when he needs to be.
However, he, like other marines, has suffered from psychological trauma courtesy of the war, but it doesn't affect him as badly as others like Eugene Sledge. While he was not one of the best marines in the corps, he was one of the most complicated.
At the end of the war, he still keeps some of his basic traits and he becomes an accomplished author for the rest of his life. Leckie never rises above the rank of Private First Class; as a matter of fact he has it taken away from him four times after a handful of alcohol-fused incidents, which leads him to the proudly self-proclaimed honor of a hard-fighting, hard-drinking and a Marine Brig-rat.
Leckie also held a dislike towards Lt. Hugh Corrigan, his Commanding Officer in Guadalcanal, as he was a Dartmouth College graduate (hence the nickname, "Ivy League") and given a commision thus, in Leckie's point of view, Corrigan was not a real Marine. In both his memoirs and the series, Leckie was brigged in Melbourne after a case of Gross Insubordination and Assaulting an Officer. Corrigan had him transferred out of the company and into intelligence.
- Leckie seemed to be the main focus of the series until he was wounded in Peleliu, Eugene Sledge seems to take up his mantle for the rest of the series's run.
- Most of the personalities of Leckie's friends is fleshed out in Leckie's memoirs.
- After he is wounded in Episode 6, he is absent until 4 episodes later.
- Leckie died in 2001, the same year that The Pacific's predecessor, Band of Brothers was released.
- His best friends are Chuckler, Runner, and Hoosier, all of whom survived the war along with him with various wounds. All of them are also deceased.
- In his memoirs, Leckie did not aquire his Japanese pistol until Pavuvu where he was given it by a marine that he called Rutherford, who stole it under similar pretenses that Leckie took in the series. Also, unlike in the series, Leckie gives the pistol back to Rutherford after his time in Banika.
- In Melbourne, Leckie actually dated several women. While Stella is a fictional character, she is most likely based off of "Sheila" from Leckie's memoirs, who also let Leckie spend the night at her house (although Chuckler was also among them).
- Robert Leckie is the lowest ranking main character in the series.