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Featured: LTG Eichelberger's Victory Gift

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Dave Tennent View Drop Down
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    Posted: Aug 20 2021 at 1:04pm



Featured Carbine: Lieutenant General Robert L. Eichelberger’s “Victory Gift”

By Dave Tennent


Robert Lawrence Eichelberger was born in Urbana, Ohio, on March 9, 1886, and graduated from the United States Military Academy at West Point Class of 1909. From there, Second Lieutenant Eichelberger steadily advanced through the officer ranks.

Eichelberger served in the 25th Infantry before transferring to the 10th Infantry at Fort Benjamin Harrison, Indiana, in July 1909.  With the 10th he was part of an offensive during the Border War with Mexico and then on to Panama Canal Zone.

In 1915 he returned to the United States and served with the 22nd Infantry, which was moved to Douglas AZ on the Mexican border, and where he was promoted to first lieutenant.

In August 1916, he was a Professor of Military Science and Tactics at the Kemper Military School in Booneville, Missouri.

By June 1917, he was the captain commanding the 20th Infantry battalion at Ft. Douglas, Utah until he was transferred to the newly formed 43rd Infantry at Camp Pike, Arkansas.

As major in 1918, he was at Camp Fremont, California, and was to go to France as assistant Chief of Staff, G-3 of the 8th Division. Instead, he sailed for Siberia as part of the American Expeditionary Force Serbia, to support the Allied intervention in the Russian Civil War, serving as the G-2 Assistant Chief of Staff for 14 months. He was promoted to lieutenant colonel in March 1919.

From his actions with the American Expeditionary Force Serbia Eichelberger received the Distinguished Service Cross for repeated acts of bravery. His citation read:

For extraordinary heroism in action June 28 – July 3, 1919, while serving as assistant chief of staff, G-2, American Expeditionary Forces, Siberia. On July 2, 1919, after the capture, by American troops of Novitskaya, an American platoon detailed to clear hostile patrols from a commanding ridge was halted by enemy enfilading fire, seriously wounding the members of the patrol. Colonel Eichelberger, without regard to his own safety and armed with a rifle, voluntarily covered the withdrawal of the platoon. On June 28, at the imminent danger of his own life, he entered the partisan lines and effected the release of one American officer and three enlisted men in exchange for a Russian prisoner. On July 3 an American column being fired upon when debouching from a mountain pass, Colonel Eichelberger voluntarily assisted in establishing the firing line, prevented confusion, and, by his total disregard for his own safety, raised the morale of the American forces to a high pitch.

Eichelberger was also awarded the Army Distinguished Service Medal for his services in Serbia and was promoted to lieutenant colonel in March 1919.

Following World War I, Eichelberger served in several posts in the Pacific before returning home to the United States. In 1940 he was promoted to brigadier general and became Superintendent of the United States Military Academy at West Point where he attempted to “bring West Point into the twentieth century”. He reduced activities like horseback riding and close order drills (parade) and replaced them with modern combat training as well as basic flight training.

Following the United States declaration of war upon Japan, Eichelberger was transferred to active command of the newly formed 77th Infantry Division at Fort Jackson, South Carolina.


Lieutenant General Robert L. Eichelberger entered the war as the commander of I Corps, moving on to the Pacific in August 1942, serving under the command of General Douglas MacArthur in Australia.  In October of that year, Eichelberger assumed command of US troops in the Buna area where his forces succeeded in gaining the Allies’ first ground force victory against the Japanese at Buna, Papua New Guinea.

For his efforts in the Battle of Buna-Guna Eichelberger received an oak leaf cluster to his Distinguished Service Cross as I Corps commander.

 Over the next three years, Eichelberger and his men learned to survive and fight in the jungles of the Pacific islands. They took part in vicious campaigns and bringing amphibious warfare to the Japanese at such places as Biak, where General MacArthur awarded him a Silver Star.

Then on to Leyte in the Philippines where in General MacArthur selected Eichelberger to command the newly formed 8th Army. When Eichelberger and the 8th and 6th Armies took bold advances on Manila and made significant progress MacArthur awarded Eichelberger an oak leaf to his Silver Star.

The surrender of Japanese forces was announced on August 15, 1945. Lieutenant General Eichelberger was present aboard the USS Missouri in Tokyo Harbor for the signing of the surrender documents on September 2, 1945.  He remained in Tokyo for three years commanding the 8th army as occupying forces.

The surrender of Japanese forces was announced on August 15, 1945. Lieutenant General Eichelberger was present aboard the USS Missouri in Tokyo Harbor for the signing of the surrender documents on September 2, 1945.  He remained in Tokyo for three years commanding the 8th army as occupying forces.

After almost 40 years of service, he retired in December 1948 as a lieutenant general. In 1950, he published his memoir, Our Jungle Road to Tokyo. During the Korean War, he advised General MacArthur on Far Eastern affairs. In 1954, Eichelberger was promoted to general (four-star) on the Army’s retired officer list. He lived out his years with his wife Em in Asheville, NC, until his death on September 26, 1961.

During his service, Eichelberger, wrote every day to his wife Emmaline. In those letters, he described not only the military climate in the Pacific but his candid reactions to the play of personalities and manipulation of public relations that were the price of being a subordinate of General Douglas MacArthur. This was amassed and published into a book, Dear Miss Em, in 1972.

Even though Eichelberger has notable achievements as a battlefield leader during WWII, He is relatively unrecognized for his important tactical and operational victories in key Pacific War operations. Unfortunately, MacArthur's best general is one of the forgotten victors of World War II.

Inland 6680156


On display in the West Point Museum at the U.S. Army Center of Military History is an M1 carbine that was gifted, presumably by MacArthur, to Lieutenant General Robert L. Eichelberger, celebrating the end of the war in the Pacific.

In Carbine Club newsletter #275-2 dated September 1999, a report by Monte Ferrari titled “West Point Museum Carbines’’ describes General Eichelberger’s carbine. The article notes that it was donated to the West Point Museum by the General’s nephew. The late Inland carbine with a barrel date of 12-44 and type 3 barrel band was described as having been decorated with General Eichelberger’s paratrooper wings, glider wings, and three stars denoting a Lieutenant General as well as his initials and name.

Having the opportunity to examine this carbine, it was clear there were stock features similar to two other reported Victory Gift carbines. The WRA carbine presented as a Victory Gift to Brigadier General William Earl Chambers (Carbine Club Newsletter 380-3) and General Douglas MacArthur’s Inland Victory Gift carbine located at the MacArthur Memorial Museum in Norfolk, VA (Carbine Club Newsletter 380-12).


The receiver construction includes the ¼ inch left rear detail, integral operating spring housing, type-4 trigger housing lug, both front and rear slide rail notches, round mill cut at the rear of the slide rail, narrow rear tang, short handguard lip, 45-degree firing pin mating cut as well as missing extra cut inside, and an oval slide stop detent.  These characteristics comprise Receiver Configuration #12, as discussed in Carbine Club Newsletter 372-2.

Looking at the front receiver ring, we see the model number (1) was hand stamped. When Inland started M2 production, they were also still producing M1 carbines. Prior, the front ring was roll stamped U.S. CARBINE/ CAL. 30 Ml. When work began on both the M1 and the M2 carbines, the roll mark was absent the model number (I or 2). The appropriate number would be stamped by hand depending on how the finished carbine was configured.


Club records estimate the hand stamping started in the 6,667,xxx range. Some receivers were reported with no number stamping. Looking closely at this carbine, you can see a lightly stamped sans serif number one close to the M and slightly lower.

The barrel is Inland 12-44 with a single “P” proof.

The Type-3 barrel band is double struck K.I. made by Knape and Vogt under subcontract to Inland.

Take notice of the weld mark shape on either side of the band screw.

The barrel has the typical Inland “hieroglyphics” on the barrel flat.

The L-379 slide is marked PI on the inside and 7160091 on the bottom. This number indicates that the operating slide has late dwell features.

The trigger housing is a Type-5, which is defined as milled, no bevels, wide mag wall width, and has the lubricating hole on the left side opposite the mag catch plunger.

What is interesting is that the Type-5 trigger housings commonly have the Inland logo in a vertical orientation. The horizontal orientation of the Inland logo has been reported for Type-5 trigger housings. However, it is usually seen on earlier types of trigger housings.

This newly rediscovered “Victory Gift” carbine is the third gift type carbine known to exist where both the stock and handguard were handcrafted from Narra wood. Narra being the national tree of the Philippines.  The other two are the Victory Gift carbines presented to Brigadier General Chambers and General MacArthur.


General Eichelberger’s carbine also matches the details of the inlaid silver ornamentation that is also found on both General MacArthur and Brigadier General Chambers’ “Victory Gift.” All three of these carbines have the General’s names carefully cut out of sheet silver and inlaid into the right side buttstock along with their rank stars. Identical glider and paratrooper pins are on both the MacArthur and Eichelberger carbines.

One would think that if several of these inlaid carbine stocks were to be made, the craftsman would use one stock for all copies. It appears that the three stocks were copied from different walnut stocks. Possibly these stocks were not made at the same time.

Chambers’ carbine is a first block Winchester. The Narra wood stock is a high wood, Winchester type flat bottom stock; the handguard is a 2-rivet and deep groove.

MacArthur’s carbine is a 6.7 Inland hand stamp and has a high wood stock. The handguard is a 2-rivet with a shallow groove.  This furniture combination is unexpected on this carbine.

Eichelberger’s carbine is a 6.6 Inland hand stamp but sports a low wood stock. The handguard is a 4-rivet and shallow groove.

The inside of Eichelberger’s stock has several fabrication consistencies as those reported on the Chambers’ carbine. Notice the pencil markings at the front of the slide channel and the holes from a drill bit to remove material.

The handguard also shows pencil markings where there are transitions in the profile. Chambers on top, and Eichelberger on the bottom.

CCNL 275 indicates General Eichelberger’s carbine has a small card noting that the badges and stars were applied to the carbine by a man named Maximo Vicente in the Philippines in the summer of 1945.

It was interesting to find that the name was also inscribed on the bottom of the grip. In reexamining the MacArthur photographs, some inscribing can be seen. Reaching out to the MacArthur Museum, they provided a good photograph of the markings. The Chambers carbine is absent the inscription, but a close examination shows a center marking to layout the inscription lines on all 3 carbines.

We may never know how many of these Narra wood “gift” carbines were produced celebrating the end of the war in the Pacific. However, an important question was answered when examining the Eichelberger carbine on who made these stocks.


A master sculptor and woodcarver of religious imagery beginning in 1908, Maximo Vicente, Sr, was the most successful commercial santero or saint-maker of the Philippines.

The religious works created and commissioned in his workshop are one-of-a-kind and rival those of the best artisans of Europe.

 Unfortunately, no records exist for any of Maximo’s commissioned pieces including these carbine stocks. Maximo Vicente survived the war and fathered 11 children. He died in 1964.


 Maximo Vicente Sr. and family. Date unknown.


One of Maximo’s life-size statues was carved in 1908, the year he opened his shop, valued at more than 3.9 million dollars.




West Point Museum

I would like to thank the West Point Museum Curator of Arms and Armor, Les Jensen, for his assistance and the opportunity to examine this wonderful carbine.

I would also like to thank Corey Thornton, Curator of the MacArthur Memorial Museum, for taking the time to provide pictures and information for MacArthur‘s carbine.

Without their cooperation and generosity, this article would not have been possible.

Eichelberger’s and Chambers’ Carbines together

Links of interest:

West Point Museum

The MacArthur Memorial


The Generals: MacArthur, Eichelberger, Chambers


Books and Reports by Robert L. Eichelberger:

History of the Buna Campaign Part1, Part 2

Our Jungle Road To Tokyo

Dear Miss Em: General Eichelberger’s war in the Pacific, 1942-1945 (requires login)


Reports of MacArthur: MacArthur in Japan: The Occupation Phase details operations 1941-1945from the Japanese attack on Luzon to the invasion of Japan

Access to the carbine artifact: Courtesy West Point Museum Collection, United States Military Academy

The Carbine Collectors Club Copyright© 2021

This article and/or its carbine photographs are the property of the authors and/or the Carbine Collectors Club. They're not to be distributed or for commercial use without prior written permission (Title 17, Chapter 5, Section 501(a) U.S. Code)

Edited by New2brass - Sep 03 2021 at 10:33am
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Charles View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Charles Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Aug 20 2021 at 2:01pm
Thanks again Dave for your excellent work putting together this very informative presentation.
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carbinekid View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote carbinekid Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Aug 20 2021 at 2:53pm
Thanks for sharing. Outstanding details and information as usual!
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HammerGrunt View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote HammerGrunt Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Aug 20 2021 at 4:14pm
Awesome article, Amazing History, an stunning photos - THANK YOU SIR
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote ranzuly Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Aug 20 2021 at 4:23pm
Thank You for the great article, excellent research !
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Dave Tennent View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Dave Tennent Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Aug 20 2021 at 6:11pm
Thanks guys for the positive feedback. I would also like to say that this article would not have been possible without the work done by the man behind the curtain, New2brass. His additions, subtractions, and photo editing skills polished this article beyond my wildest dreams. It’s been more than a year since I was thumbing through the CC Newsletters and stumbled upon the blurb in NL 275 mentioning the West Point carbines. The covid shutdown prevented us from making the trip up to NY any earlier.
Thanks again and I highly recommend getting the full set of NL’s.
Dave T
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