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Shawnee County Casualties in WWI
Stories of Valor and Tragedy on the Battlefield

Lt. Robert Stauffer HEIZER, 5th (43rd F Co.) Marine Regiment attached to the 2nd Division
Robert Heizer headstone
Lt. Robert Heizer

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Killed in action 11 June 1918 by machine gun fire in the early morning attack on enemy positions which led to the capture of Belleau Wood at the battle of Chateau-Thierry.

Lt. Heizer participated in one of the bloodiest confontrations of the last German offensives of 1918. The action at Belleau Woods lasted 26 days from June 1 - 26, 1918 during the larger German Spring Offensive fom March 21 - July 18, 1918.

The following is taken from an account of the action from a wounded survivor of the Belleau Woods action, Robert McGiffert of Topeka who had his leg amutated following the battle:

"The best description of the battle of Belleau Wood is one I read a few days ago. It is absolutely true and is as follows - Time after time officers seeing their lines cut to pieces, seeing their men so tired that they fell asleep under shell fire, hearing their wounded calling for the water that they were unable to supply, seeing men fighting on after they had been wounded and until they dropped unconcious; time after time officers seeing these things believing that the very limit of human endurance had been reached, would send back messages to their post command that their men were exhausted. But in answer to this would come the word that the lines must hold, and if possible thos elines must attack. And the lines obeyed" (TDC Dec 13, 1918).

Lt. Heizer's death on June 11 is included in a description of the battle given by Colonel Frederick May Wise, the commander of the 2nd Battalion of the 5th Marines at Belleau Wood. The report is very graphic and in essence recounts that Lt. Heizer was leading his company in a charge and ran into a machine gun nest. He was struck several times, dying instantly and later was buried near Chateau-Thierry.

Marine Memorial at Belleau Woods, France
Marine Memorial at Belleau Woods

Originally buried in French soil, Robert Heizer's remains were returned to the US and re-interred in Arlington National Cemetery, VA (Section 3 S.W.H Site Lot 4416) on 3 Feb 1922. His name was included in the Honor Roll Casualty List of Sept 10, 1918.

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