Robert Leckie was born on December 18, 1920 in Philadelphia. After enlisting in the United States Marine Corps shortly after the attack on Pearl Harbor, he worked in the 1st Marine Division as a machine gunner and as an intelligence scout during the Battle of Guadalcanal. He was later awarded the Purple Heart. Helmet for My Pillow received the Marine Corps Combat Correspondents' Annual Award in 1957. He died in December 2001.