Military Marksmanship Association
Formerly AMUA - Army Marksmanship Unit Association

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Photo of COL Robert M. Piper

 

Robert M. Piper

Colonel (Retired) Robert M. Piper, 88, died December 16, 2007, in Daytona Beach, Florida. He was buried with full military honors at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Virginia.

Colonel Piper was the sixth Commander of the U.S. Army Marksmanship Training Unit from March 1970 to January 1972.

COL Piper was born in Winthrop, Massachusetts. After graduating from Hebron Academy, he attended the University of New Hampshire, where he was a member of the Reserve Officers Training Corps (ROTC). Upon graduation on June 16, 1941, he was commissioned as a Lieutenant of Infantry and was ordered to extended active duty. He attended parachute school and he was assigned to the 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment, which joined the 82nd Airborne Division at Fort Bragg, North Carolina in 1943. He went on to serve more than 30.years active duty in the Army and served on during World War II, as well as the Korean and Vietnam Wars.

During World War II, he made combat jumps into Sicily and Salerno, Italy, and on D-Day he jumped into St. Mere-Eglise, a French village in Normandy behind enemy lines, which played an important role in establishing communication for the American liberation forces on that day. His fourth combat jump was into Holland in September 1944, where he helped seize the critical bridge at Nijmegen. COL Piper fought in the Battle of the Bulge in Belgium and in Germany during the winter of 1944-45, finally crossing the Elbe River in April, linking up with Russian forces at Ludwigslust and the surrender of the German 21st Army Group.

He also served in a variety of positions, including commanding the 1st Battalion, 160th Infantry in 1953-54 against Chinese and North Korean forces in South Korea and serving as Deputy Senior Advisor, II Corps, Pleiku, Viet Nam in 1967-68. He was the Commanding Officer of the School Brigade at Fort Benning, Georgia, prior to assuming the position as Commander of the USAMTU.

COL Piper's awards and decorations include the Legion of Merit with Oak Leaf Cluster, Bronze Star Medal with two Oak Leaf Clusters, Air Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster, Army Commendation Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster, Purple Heart, Combat Infantryman Badge, and Master Parachutist Badge.

COL Piper retired in 1972 and crisscrossed the country in his beloved Piper Cherokee airplane to visit friend and family. He was a lifetime member of the 82nd Airborne Association, Greater Daytona All Airborne Chapter; Halifax Area Chapter of the Military Officers Association of America; Quiet Birdman, Daytona Beach Hangar; United Flying Octogenarians; life member of Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States, Florida at Large; and the Military Marksmanship Association at Fort Benning, Georgia. He will be remembered as a man who loved his country, loved to travel, and loved life.

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