Arthur Roland Keller was in Chicago, Illinois, when he met a Marine recruiter whose uniform he admired. Upon learning about the high standards of the Marine Corps, Keller enlisted May 28 and went to boot camp at Parris Island, S.C. After three weeks of training, Keller went to Quantico, Virginia, to be outfitted for overseas service.
He deployed to France in early July 1918, assigned to the 1st Battalion of the 5th Marine Regiment. His regiment saw action at the Battle of Chateau-Thierry May 31 and the Battle of Soissons July 18. On Sept. 12, Keller’s regiment fought in the Battle of Saint-Mihiel, which resulted in the U.S. capture of the French city of Metz. He also fought in the Battle of Blanc Mont Ridge, which ended with the German retreat from Champagne in northwest France. After these battles, Keller’s regiment followed the German retreat to the village of Beaumont on the Meuse River.
After the armistice was signed Nov. 11, Keller’s battalion traveled through Belgium and Luxembourg to Koblenz, Germany. Later, the battalion served in Reisbach, where Keller became the battalion clerk, making reports on ration distribution. He and a comrade quartered with a local German family, who welcomed them and treated them like family. Keller returned to the United States in the summer of 1919 and discharged as a corporal Aug. 13.
For his service during the war, Keller received a Good Conduct Medal, a World War I Victory Medal, a Meuse-Argonne Medal, and a Sharpshooter Badge. He also appeared in the New York City World War I Victory parade Sept. 10, 1919, and the Marines parade in Washington D.C. Sept. 17.
Keller died at the age of 81 in December 1980.
We honor his service.
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This #VeteranOfTheDay profile was created with interviews submitted to the Veterans History Project. The project collects, preserves, and makes accessible the personal accounts of American war Veterans so that future generations may hear directly from Veterans and better understand the realities of war. Find out more at http://www.loc.gov/vets/.
Editor: Kailey Miller
Fact checker: Ilyanna Yates